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Journeys : Feb March 2010
mid-Wester n accents, like the family trio I sit near in an internet cafe that evening: "How many spare computers ya got in this joint?" "Three, signor." "We'll take 'em all, save time." They Google as I goggle: "Aw jeez, Britney's done another strip." "Whaddayaknow, they found Madeleine's DNA in the car." "Oh puh-leese Bush, give me a break!" Next morning I rise early and wander through the deserted squares and laneways of the town. There's not a tour bus, ice cream stall or cafe umbrella to be seen, not an accent to be heard -- just the clatter of pigeons and the first sun glowing on the mellow brickwork of the towers. There's a long day's walking ahead, branching off sideroads to find tracks that run between fields of sunflowers, alongside olive groves and through vineyards. Searching for the beginning of the trail that climbs into the woods below Montecchio on the way to Col di Val d'Elsa, my route guide goes w rong for the first and only time. Obediently I ‘follow the white road along the level flood plain to a field with a solitary cypress'. So far, sogood–butwhereis‘thegapinarow of pines on the left'? Casting about along the road I finally locate a line of recently- cut stumps -- and yes, there's the gap where the track up the hill and into the forest begins. RACT Travelworld can help you plan all aspects of an Italian holiday, including guided or self-guided walking tours. Call us on 1300 368 111 or visit your local branch. If escorted coach travel is your preference, check the Albatross Through Provence and Tuscany to Umbria tour on page 57 of this magazine. Destinations These pages, clockwise from far left: Morning light on San Gimignano tower; Tuscan landscape; the walled village of Monteriggione; view from Hotel Cisterna room in San Gimignano; Tuscan villa with cypresses and olive trees Photos: Chris Viney 19 February / March 10
Dec Jan 2010
April May 2010