LUCCA – LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

For me, Lucca was a love at first sight that grew and grew into total adoration.  Rarely has a town captured my heart so and filled it with joy.     Part of its appeal is that Lucca is small, compact and self-contained within its city walls, full of history and beauty at every turn with … Continue reading

THE CHARM OF AUTHENTIC ITALY

As I left the heel of Italy to meander slowly home to Geneva I had a rich choice:  south-west to Sicily and a boat to Genoa; travel up the west coast of Italy through Naples, Pompeii and Rome; or follow the lesser known east coast for a while.  What do you think I chose? Yes, … Continue reading

Journey Two – here I come!

Journey Two starts tomorrow morning – as a dear friend said in her beautiful card that arrived yesterday : “The Migrant Kingfisher is taking flight again!”  This time I am turning right. Don’t laugh. When friends asked me where I was going on my first Journey I told them I was turning left. You know, from … Continue reading

COIMBRA – CONCLUSION AND CONTEMPLATION

A few years ago I stood on the path of a labyrinth marked out in a friend’s garden and, looking up at a benevolent full moon, asked the universe what was to become of me. Did I have the courage, resources and wherewithal to give up work, follow a dream and charge out of the … Continue reading

Porto – my penultimate pause

In my mind’s eye Porto is an oil painting melting in the rain, all of its colours running down the canvas, and its tall, thin buildings reflected in pavement puddles, for the unseasonal sunshine I had enjoyed for months broke as I arrived and I saw much of Porto in the rain. I remember the … Continue reading

TRAVELLING LIGHT

On the coast just to the East of Santiago de Compostela I crossed some dunes on a long wooden boardwalk and found Carnota Beach stretching out lazily in the sun. It was unlike any other beach I had visited and a day there felt like a day spent in Heaven. The curved beach was wide … Continue reading

OPENING MY HEART TO PEOPLE ANCIENT AND MODERN

Santillana del Mar Despite this being one of the prettiest and most visited towns in the Spanish Province of Cantabria, it was really the Altamira Cave that drew me to Santillana del Mar. It was the first cave to be discovered in the world which houses ancient cave paintings made by the first humans, our … Continue reading

THE IN-BETWEEN LAND OF HENDAYE

The landscape changes strikingly as I descend the French west coast from Bordeaux. The sudden hills remind me that I am entering the Pyrenean foothills and that I am in the Pays Basque. When I started my Journey I was told to be sure to see the Spanish town of San Sebastian just over the … Continue reading

ONE DAY, TWO TEACHERS

I  head south-west through Poitou-Charentes, the Cognac, region and decide to make a convenient stop-over at Saint-Hilaire-de-Villefranche.   On the way I call in at Saint-Jean-d’Angély because the name sounds so pretty. I park near some splendid civic buildings then enter the old town and stop by the ‘office de tourisme’ for some information. The lady … Continue reading

The Chateau de Bazoches and its hero on the hill

Before leaving Bazoches I visit the chateau overlooking the farm, thinking that this will be a cultural visit seeing fine old furniture and armoury, little knowing it will be rather different. In fact I am to make the acquaintance of another inspirational historical character, and see again how some lives are led to the absolute … Continue reading