Within minutes, two vehicles appear in front of our hotel. Brushing the last crumbs of our croissants from our laps, we pack up quickly — F&C have arranged a free ride for us. Jonica, Will, Irina and I catch a lift with the village doctor's husband in his Jeep Cherokee. Ed takes the lead in another car, a battered old Russian 4x4, as our drivers negotiate about 96 hairpin bends at high speed.
At Bocca di Palmarella, we thank our drivers and strike off into the fragrant maquis. Thankfully, the morning's walk is downhill. And ends at a beach. Following yesterday's marathon, this is a plan that suits everyone.
Once again, it's a marvelously clear, sunny day. On the way down the mountain, we snap photos of the postcard-perfect fishing village of Girolata in view beneath us.
At 1pm we sit down to a wonderful picnic lunch of ham, pâté, camembert, tomatoes and baguettes on the pebbly beach at Plage de Tuara. It's practically deserted. We spend a blissful couple of hours swimming and napping on the beach under a blazing sun.
Then it's time to hit the trail again. A short climb up a shaded path brings us back to the road, and from here a level three-mile stroll takes us into Curzu just before sunset. In the distance, Les Calanches, a series of 3000-foot-high pinnacles and sea cliffs, form a dramatic backdrop.
No hotels in the one-horse town of Curzu, just a lone gîte, or walkers' hostel, which seems to double as the village bar. From the welcome we receive, it's clear we're the first overnight guests our host Dominic has seen in some time. He sits us down in front of a delicious, piping hot meal and starts pouring out red wine.
Two hours and several shots of homemade myrtle moonshine later, everyone is quite merry. Dominic digs out his karaoke machine and starts serenading us with Corsican songs. Any remaining vestiges of decorum quickly disappear and soon Irina is up on the table doing Russian dancing while Ed catches the action with his camcorder.
I don't know about the others, but I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. All that booze was probably not the best preparation for tomorrow's long hike.