France and Italy, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Alpes Maritimes and Ligure, Imperia

Monaco to Ventimiglia - 23.9 km - Sunday 24th April 2011

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Mostly roads with pavemennts. Nice views. Interesting crossing into Italy. Easter Sunday traffic not too bad.

Garmin Altitude Plot Garmin Mapsource Google Earth Monaco Station Hidden Entrance Gorge Near Station Hidden Entrance Monaco Station Hidden Entrance Expensive Yachts Very Expensive Yachts Insane Fencing Everywhere Unexpected Route Through Monaco Tunnel Under the Hotels Yacht Moncao Fountain Monaco Number Plates Monaco First Signpost to Italy Nearly There Nearly There The Ridge is the Border Waiting for the train to pass Waiting for the train to pass Nearly Disused Border Post The Crossing No Passport Needed Does this river mark the actual boundayy Does this river mark the actual boundayy Does this river mark the actual boundayy More Disused Boarder Buildings First Italian Signs The Low Road Crossingg New Unknown Plant New Unknown Plant Parco Regionale Alpi Liguri New Unknown Plant New Unknown Plant Grimaldi Inferiore The View Back Towards France More Rivers Here More Rivers Here Ventimiglia in the Distance Steep Terrain Beautiful Specimen Sign to Genova Sign to Genova More Signs Used the Old Road Entering Ventimiglia Poor Weather Ventimiglia Ventimiglia Ventimiglia Ventimiglia Ventimiglia Stazione with Media Presence Ventimiglia Stazione Trenitalia

Diary - Top

All has gone more or less to plan. Lost items include one camera and a face cloth. The camera was a pity because although not very expensive, it was ideal, claiming to be water and dust proof. Walking in driving rain or blowing sand from dunes has all been part of this expedition. It was coming up for four years old. That is how long the previous camera lasted before becoming clogged up with dust.

Today the 06:23 train for Monaco left on time. As predicted, you could get out of Monaco station without all the climbing of steps. In fact the exit was right where I had been the previous day. The only clue that it was the station was the TV screen showing the departures. This was behind glass doors and not easy to see.

The walk was routine with a few minor mistakes that added slightly to the distance. There was pavement almost all the way because the entire coast has residential housing. Of course there were cars parked on the pavement so, often you had to walk in the road! The Easter Sunday traffic was not too bad. Crossing the border was not too interesting. I got a millisecond glance from a French policeman who was chatting on his mobile phone and that was it. He might not even have been on duty. It was not like olden times when you got a stamp in your passport and the traffic would be tailed back for miles.

At Ventimiglia, the station had hundreds of Tunisians (I think) waiting outside. They were refugees from the unrest in their country. There was a TV camera filming the action. Several days ago, the train services were suspended because of the numbers of people. Today the train left on time. At Menton just inside France, police were removing people from the train. I was not one of them even though I had forgotten to compost my ticket. Luckily no one checked it. Clearly I don't look Tunisian although one of my students made me look uncannily like Osama Bin Laden by spending a few minutes in Photoshop.

So a fat, unfit bloke, nearer 60 than 50 can walk across the Mediterranean coast of France in five weeks. That is five weeks of not watching TV and getting even fatter and then having a coronary. Perhaps that's the main reason for doing the walk. There are highlights and a few moments each day when it's neither too hot nor too cold but most of the time it's hard work. There will be a few days next week before the fitness has worn off and after the feet have recovered when I'll really feel quite well. Then it'll be back to normal.

This is the first trip when I have logged the daily travel costs. When we started in 2003, each day of walking cost EUR 1 in public transport. If we were four days walking from our base, it would cost about EUR 4 to return to base. This was cheap and we didn't worry about it. With the escalating energy prices, that is no longer the case. It has reached the point where the travel costs might exceed the accommodation costs. When that happens, you plan differently. That is why I had three bases for this trip, one in Marseille, one in Toulon and finally here in Nice.

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