i've just returned from the most wonderful week in tuscany. i did my best to cram quite a lot into a short amount of time. after an extremely busy april i felt a couple of days somewhere remote by the sea would refresh me before heading to florence. so i ventured down the coast from pisa with my big rucksack, tent and walking boots and caught the boat from piombino to portoferraio.
i walked west along the coast past sparkling golden sands and brilliant turquoise bays. i didn't really have much idea where i was heading. there were three little tent symbols on the map on the way to enfola so i thought i'd just see what i liked along the way.
once out of portoferraio it became very quiet with only the odd car vastly out numbered by colonies of road-side cats. sadly they were very thin with mange and eye infections. i continued walking as the sun began to sink and the heat began to fade. the scent of pines, flowers and herbs increased their intensity. my bag was getting heavy and it was tempting to stop at the first of the campsites. but curiosity got the better of me and i headed on to enfola jutting out on its little peninsular. i was so pleased that i'd made this decision when later i found myself sitting in my tent gazing out to sea. i watched the last of the sun set over the mountains of corsica in the far distance. the strange thing was that the next day corsica had completely disappeared even though there was barely a cloud in the sky. i really recommend this lovely campsite at enfola.
the following day i set out on a longer coastal walk to procchio passing through vitticio, scaglieri and stopping off for a long swim at biodola. this was the most touristy place that i went to yet at this time of the year this huge stretch of white sand had less than a dozen people relaxing in the sun. but obviously just enough to entice the brightly coloured towel monster out from hiding......
|the towel monster on the prowl for his next wet victim.....|
my walk wasn't quite the tame coast paths of cornwall and if the lady at the campsite hadn't given me some pointers no doubt i would still be there now. it involved balancing on some narrow ledges with sheer drops down into the sea, scrambling and climbing rocks, squeezing under over hanging bushes, navigating through a network of scary, dark underground tunnels carved out of the rock, getting lost and ending up in someone's vast garden still lost. the easier bits were when the path came out onto desserted sandy beaches or wove its way inland under shady trees. needless to say there were no signs anywhere apart from this one indicating that you had to crawl through a gap between two bushes!
|the one and only sign to procchio pointing to a gap between bushes that you would never have dreamt was the path|
the sun was intense and with every step masses of camera-shy, brilliant green lizards darted for cover in the rustling leaves. as i walked through these woods a large snake slithered scarily close and two hares the size of small deer skittered across my path.
|the wooded snake path|
and once i finally reached procchio and ate my much anticipated ice cream i began to retrace my steps and reached my tent just in time to see the last traces of the sunset over corsica (which seemed to have reappeared).
i awoke the following morning a bit pink with a few scratches and scrapes from the thorny undergrowth and itchy mosquito bites around my ankles. I made my way back to portoferraio to buy some of the tasteful postcards before catching the boat....
......and watching elba disappear behind me in the distance.