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All Roads Lead to Greece

semi-overcast 24 °C

We are on our way to the fabled Greek island of Crete but we are not in a hurry so we are meandering our way south from London by train - a special train - the Eurostar - which will take us through the Chunnel under the English Channel to our first stop, Paris. This is us atop the city's most recognisable structure - the Eiffel Tower...

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From Paris we continue south by TGV to the ancient port of Antibes on the Mediterranean. The castle of Antibes is backed by the snow covered French Alps in this picturesque scene...

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But everywhere is picturesque here in Provence - land of lavender, wine, olives and sunflowers. Its cities of Aix-en-Provence, Nice and Avignon are a delight. The bridge of Avignon immortalised in the song "Sur le Pont d'Avignon" spans only half way across the River Rhone because, before France was unified, the Provencal knocked down the other half to prevent an invasion from the north. This is the bridge today...

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The city of Avignon was the Papal seat for a hundred years in the 12th century and the Pope's Palace rises like a citadel above the city walls. This is the view from the bridge...

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Next stop on the train to Greece is Tuscany, Italy. This is clock tower in the Piazza del Campo in Sienna...

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On July 2 and August 16 every year the Palio takes place in the Piazza del Campo and thousands of locals and tourists cram into the forum to witness the event when the various "contrade", or areas into which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horse race. Originally, there were fifty-nine "Contrade" now only seventeen remain, ten of which take part in the frenetic and often dangerous historical pageant. The piazza, surrounded by great buildings and the cathedral, is quiet today but it will be packed for the Palio and onlookers will cheer from every available window...

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Sienna is a beautiful city full of attractive buildings...

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This is Siena Cathedral

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The nearby city of San Gimignano, known as the "city of beautiful towers," had 72 towers in its heyday. Now 14 remain, and, rising above Tuscany's Elsa Valley, they make the town look like a medieval dreamscape...

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San Gimignano has lost some of its glamour but the surrounding Tuscan hillsides are a picture...

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Next stop - Ancona on the Adriatic from where we will catch the overnight ferry to Patras in Greece.

Posted by Hawkson 13:11 Archived in Greece

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