Today’s walk passed through the thermal spa town of Bagno Vignoni, one of the most interesting places in the Orcia Valley. As we walked down towards the river after breakfast we had some fantastic views of Rocca d’Orcia behind us up on top of the hill. Continue reading Rocca d’Orcia to San Quirico
The 27 inhabitants of this medieval borgo (hamlet) reckon it is the oldest in Italy. It is definitely one of the best preserved in Tuscany. Towering above it is the rocca, which is a fortified tower. For over a thousand years it repelled numerous military assaults, but by the middle of the 20th century it was threatening to collapse onto the town. Continue reading Castelnuovo dell’Abate to Rocca d’Orcia
Today our walk took us to Abbazia di Sant’Antimo, about 10 km from Montalcino. Much of the walk was through forest so the heat was not too unpleasant. Continue reading Abbey of Sant’ Antimo
Because our accommodation had been on the outskirts of town, we made a detour past fields of sunflowers to explore Buonconvento before starting our walk this morning. It is only a small town, but its location on the main road between Sienna and Rome which the Romans named Via Cassia, means that it has been around for a while. Continue reading Buonconvento to Montalcino
We had a leisurely start to the day today since our train didn’t depart until just after 11.00 am and the station was only a few minutes walk from the hotel. We ate breakfast looking out over the magnificent cathedral dome, which turned out to be just a couple of rooftops away. Continue reading Monte Oliveto to Buonconvento
Our train left Neuchâtel just after 7.00am, and we changed to an international service at Lausanne an hour or so later. Sometime late in the morning we reached the town of Brig, then almost immediately entered the almost 20 km long Simplon Tunnel. For most of the 20th century this was the world’s longest, until one in Japan beat it in 1982. Now the record is held by the nearby Gotthard Base Tunnel which is over 57 km. Continue reading Florence
Saturday is a big market day here in Neuchâtel, so we decided to walk into town for breakfast, then do some shopping. On the way we called in to look at the castle, which was completed in 1276 and gave the town its name (“New Castle”). The collegiate church attached to the castle was open, so we looked inside and were impressed by the deep blue ceiling painted with stars. Continue reading Last day in Neuchâtel
We spent today doing a tiki-tour of one of the more touristed areas of Switzerland. Interlaken is a town between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland, and is surrounded by high mountains. The Aare River river connects the two lakes and flows through the center of town, making it an important crossing point. Continue reading Interlaken and Berne
Felicity needed to do some work with our host at the Université de Lausanne this afternoon, so we caught a train after breakfast. The sky was completely clear in the morning, so we had a great view of the mountains across the lake. Continue reading Lausanne
We have been on a real mountain hike today, climbing 750 meters up out of a valley to the top of an amazing cliff, then descending back to the start and a further 100 meters down a gorge. Altogether we have covered over 20 km so we are both feeling rather tired. Continue reading Le Creux du Van and Gorges de l’Areuse
This afternoon we hiked down the hill from Chaumont to Neuchâtel, after riding up on a funicular railway. Neuchâtel is a bit under two hours by train south of Zurich in Switzerland. Continue reading Chaumont Funicular – Neuchâtel
After spending the last couple of days sitting in a conference, Felicity was keen on some exercise, so we have spent the day walking, mostly in a couple of Prague’s many parks. Continue reading Petřín Hill and Divoká Šárka Nature Reserve
I had planned to meet up with a friend and hire bikes for the day, but just as I was about to leave I looked out the window and noticed it was raining steadily. The forecast suggested it would get worse, so we decided to wait for an hour or so and reassess. Continue reading Rainy Day in Prague
By the time we arrived at the Vysehrad hotel in Prague last night, Felicity’s colleague had got tired of waiting for us in the lobby and had decamped to a pub across the road. We dumped our bags and met her there, where we enjoyed a delicious and cheap glass of Czech beer. Continue reading Vysehrad Fort to Prague Castle
We spent most of a day packing our gear, departing Norwich and travelling to Oxford, but we had a couple of hours to wander around the town with our hosts Ros and Peter before heading home to their house. All of this university town is fascinating, but I thought the most interesting stop was the Weston Library, which is part of the Bodleian Library. Continue reading Blenheim Palace Oxford
Today we left Norfolk and visited a beach resort in Essex, mainly because it is somewhere Felicity’s mother used to go for holidays when she was a child. Frinton was just a tiny village until the 1800s when it was developed as an upper-class resort for people who didn’t want to mix with the hoi polloi. Continue reading Frinton-on-Sea
Up in the north-west corner of Norfolk is the town of King’s Lynn, which in the 14th century was Britain’s most important port. Until about 1100 it was known just as Lynn, which some locals still call it today. For the next few hundred years it was called Bishop’s Lynn, then after Henry VIII the official name became King’s Lynn.
Continue reading King’s Lynn
It’s been a stinking hot day here in Norfolk today, so we’ve been to the beach. It was hot enough to swim, but finding somewhere to get changed and keep our bags safe seemed a bit complicated, so we gave it a miss and concentrated on sightseeing.
Continue reading Sheringham to Cromer
Just under a hundred kilometers to the west of Norwich is the city of Ely, which we have already passed through on the train a few times on our way elsewhere. As it had been recommended to us as one of the best preserved medieval towns in the area we made a visit today.
Continue reading Ely
Out on the coast just south of Great Yarmouth is the town of Lowestoft, which is where trains travelling over the swing bridge at Reedham end up. I managed to pry Felicity loose from her keyboard late morning and we hurried to the station just in time to catch the midday train.
Continue reading Lowestoft