Last friday we went off into the mountains on the 'Train des merveilles' [train of the marvels] which links Nice with Tende in the French Alps.
Its a beautiful trip through with magnificent scenery and very long tunnels [including some that sweep through 360 degrees] through the mountains. Some of the small towns and villages on the way were very pretty and we will probably visit them another time.
The station at Tende is quite odd- one of the platforms is just a grass verge - and full of wildlife- bugs, grasshoppers , butterflies and moths. Clouds of blue winged grasshoppers took flight as we walked along - they were not easy to photograph.
I could have spent a long time taking photos of interesting insects but I retrained myself so that we could go into the town and look around.
This is the view from the grassy platform.
The other platform and a railway building with mountain crags in the background. If you peer closely at the top left of the photo,part of the via ferrata is visible.
The via ferrata is not for vertigo sufferers [like me] as its a kind of fixed mountain route- half walking half climbing with spindly bridges that look more suitable for monkeys or squirrels than humans.
This is the town hall [Mairie ] of Tende- it must be one of the prettiest in France.This is the war monument-which is unusual in that it commemorates local people who fought on the Italian side and French side in WW2. Tende only became a full part of France in 1947 - it was the last commune to join the French Republic.
Tende has changed hands many times over the centuries due to its strategic position high in the Roya valley and close to the pass to Piedmont in Italy [Col de Tende]
This route used to be used by salt traders who took mules and donkeys laden with salt over the mountain passes. It must have been a very hard journey.
This is one of the arches in the mediaeval village, with the view through to the mountains.
A view through the arch from the other side.There are quite a few houses which look very Austrian or Swiss, in style and this is particularly emphasised by the cascading flowers and windowboxes.
This is the viaduct that the Train des Merveilles uses as it pulls into Tende Station. It passes over the river valley
This is a view of the mediaeval village of Tende taken from the small road bridge that runs under the viaduct. The sun wasn't in an ideal position but I suppose it still gives an idea of the village surrounded by mountains, with the river at its feet.
train des merveilles