The Daily Telegraph - Travel

Secret delights in Provence

- Mais non

This week: ice-cream dreams on a hillside, aNice train ride, springtime in Zurich and a rail journey to Titicaca

train de Provence which runs from Nice to Digne several times each day. CHRISTINA FINCH

Zurich in spring

Having just returned from Zurich, I was interested to read your article on the city (“Weekend in Zurich”, April 30). Travelling from the airport by train is very quick and good value (6.60 Swiss francs/£4.60). We were fortunate to see The Sechseläut­en spring festival. This begins with the Kinderumzu­g. Children and adult Guild members in traditiona­l Swiss outfits, together with horses and carts and brass bands, parade through the streets, before the huge snowman effigy, Böögg, is burnt to symbolise the end of winter. The faster his head catches fire and explodes, the more beautiful the summer will be.

We also visited the Fraumünste­r church with its beautiful stained-glass windows and cloisters, and had a relaxing walk along the lovely lakeside. PAULINE DRING

Lake Titicaca by train

Your features on adventures by rail (“Make tracks for the world’s greatest train journeys”, April 30) and the highlights of Peru (“Condors and conquistad­ors”, April 30) reminded me of combining both experience­s by taking an unforgetta­ble trip on the Andean Explorer train from Cusco to Puno on

Sailing to St-Tropez

Anthony Peregrine’s feature (“Perfect Provence”, May 14) reminded me of times spent visiting many of the towns and villages highlighte­d in the article.

During a holiday at Taradeau, near Thoronet Abbey, we decided to revisit St-Tropez and, in particular, the Poterie Augier, which sells beautiful, brightly coloured ceramics. However, we weren’t

the edge of Lake Titicaca. The journey, high over the plains and lakes in the Altiplano, takes 10 hours and covers some 218 miles at heights of over 14,000ft. The open observatio­n coach at the rear gives tremendous views over the small settlement­s with their grazing alpaca, while you sip your pisco sour.

Stopping at La Raya, the relishing the slow crawl on the packed road into town, or the scarcity and expense of the parking.

Our hostess had the answer: “– you must take the ferry from Ste-Maxime!”

We set off early, via the beautiful hilltop village of La Garde-Freinet, arriving in the charming seaside resort of Ste-Maxime where we caught the boat across the glistening Mediterran­ean. It was a short trip, with a refreshing salty sea

highest point, awaiting the train from Puno so that we can pass, there is a chance to leave the train and buy alpaca sweaters, hats and scarfs from the little market by the tracks. As the journey progresses at a steady 19mph, the train eventually arrives at Juliaca, winding its way through the streets and marketplac­e, hooting loudly to clear the way breeze and a stunning approach to St-Tropez.

Relaxed and cool, we wandered through the streets, “people watched” in the Café Senequier, lunched on sardines and chilled rosé and selected one or two mementos from the Poterie – then strolled back to the port.

It was a perfect day and a quiet drive back to our villa through the rolling hills and olive trees – with not a traffic jam in sight! SUSAN DEWFAL WINS A £250 RAILBOOKER­S VOUCHER

ahead. Traders, carts, animals and bicycles are avoided before continuing to calmer territory. Then you get your first glimpse of Lake Titicaca on the run in to Puno. It’s a truly memorable journey – and the delights of Puno and Lake Titicaca, with its fascinatin­g reed boats and islands, are still to come. ANDREW BLYTH

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