The new headquarters for BBC Wales nears completion of the construction phase. It’s another block of big solid architecture, its blast-proof windows and mainly square lines looking more like a reactor block for a nuclear power station than an environment for creative experiment.
Cardiff Central Square below is awash with workers in muddy site boots and hiviz green PPE kit mingling with the railways workers in orange from the station opposite, established by the Great Western railway in the nineteenth century.
Views from both sides of the Col de la Croix Haute, 1176 m. It usually feels like the boundary between Dauphiné and Provence, the weather and topography change dramatically even if it is no longer the administrative line. On the north side, the valley of the river Drac and glimpses through the clouds of the peaks of the Écrins topped with new snow from yesterday’s storms.
Over the pass in frost, grey mist and a strong wind but very soon down the valley of the river Buëch the sun shines out from a clear blue sky, lighting up the yellow and orange of the birch and ash tree leaves.
The two sides of Italy, the picturesque, historic but then the traffic. Ventimiglia roundabout is notorious as the first encounter with Italian traffic after the frontier with France. Scooters, white vans and just people in cars all mingle in a chaotic urban jumble. The camera hides the lack of paint and crumbling masonry, revealing only the wildlife in the river Roya and the picturesque Ligurian town just across the border from French Menton.
Cold snap here in the Écrins rather than the Indian summer which we had hoped for. We’re staying again ay Boustigue, just off the Route Napoléon at Corps. Fine dawns on the Grande Tête de l’Obiou (2790 m.) over the mist in the valley of the river Drac. We followed the Drac upstream to its sources, the glaciers of the Écrins. The name Drac means “dragon”, so-called because of its devastating flash floods. The valleys of the two principal tributaries are quite different in character, the White Drac runs down a valley of crystalline rock whereas the Black Drac has a deep valley eroded in to sedimentary rock.