The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

‘MY first sight of Italy came through the win­dows of a train. It was dawn on a sum­mer morn­ing in 1974. I had been doz­ing through France and woke near Ven­timiglia to see the light grey­ing on the Cote d’Azur as we flew over viaducts and through tun­nels . . . I was 19 and trav­el­ling alone . . . Hav­ing met two likely Lancashire girls who had it in their heads to see the Byzan­tine mo­saics in Ravenna, I tagged along with them, not ap­pre­ci­at­ing that such a cross-coun­try trip ran ab­so­lutely against the grain of Italy’s to­pog­ra­phy and traf­fic flow; only a masochist would at­tempt to get from Ven­timiglia to Ravenna by rail.’

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