Touring in Tuscany revisiting some of the places I first saw with the GLME Summercamp of 2004 based in Pomerance. This time we’re staying in Volterra, the town is not at the top of the tourist lists but it’s a walled hilltop town with an Etruscan archaeological site, a Roman theatre plus fantastic views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside.
Perennially popular with bikers, one approach to Volterra is a series of zigzags, another is a ridge road with views either side, the third is like an ideal Sussex or Shropshire road winding through farmland and small woods with the occasional blind bend to keep you really sharp.
A Casey Jones moment in the cab of a Groupo 940 steam locomotive at Piazza al Serchio in the Garfagnana of northern Tuscany. Fifty engines of this type were constructed in 1922-3, they hauled heavy mainline freight on the Apeninne lines up and down Italy. 940.002 arrived in Piazza al Serchio in 2015 and is presented as a monument. Italians describe the wheel configuration as 1-4-1, which would be Class 2-8-2 in England’s Whyte classification.
Garavan district of Menton is renowned for its gentle climate without frosts, which allows gardens to flourish in sub-tropical splendour. Garavan also enjoys a fine view over to Menton Vielle Ville (Menton Old Town) and further to Cap Martin, around which is an enjoyable stroll on the coastal footpath.
Terminus of the line: one single train all the way through from London St. Pancras to Marseille St. Charles. An early start in London but TGV travel at speeds of up to 300km/hr to arrive in early afternoon sunshine for a view of the Mediterranean from the station forecourt. They serve breakfast and lunch with airline style catering if you want it. But it’s another strike day for the SNCF (French state railways) so the platforms are rather quieter than usual.