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Old March 11th, 2013, 11:55 PM   #21
Hardcore Terrorist
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After a few days in the Auvergne, we continued south, past Puy-de-Dôme:

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126.


km from Givet: 1224

My friends dropped me off in Grenoble:

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Where another friend of mine was working on a nearby campsite (Au Pré du Lac) for the summer, and I spent a few days there, just sitting by this lake:

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After a few days, I hitchiked further south to a city I had long wanted to visit.

km from Givet: 1328

A lift to Gap...

135.


km from Givet: 1378

and then one to Sisteron...

136.
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Old March 12th, 2013, 12:18 AM   #22
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km from Givet: 1511

... brought me to Marseille, which as I had expected beforehand, was the kind of town that I like. There have been a few other nice threads about this city recently, including one by Sky-Eye, and our paths will probably cross each other a few times.

My final ride, a truckdriver from Lille, dropped me off shortly before this spot, so this square on Boulevard du Prado was my first impression of Marseille:

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In reality, I walked down this Boulevard in the other direction to my hostel in Mazargues, but now we'll go on a short tour of the city first.

The old part of the centre:

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This stairway, which leads to the Notre Dame de la Garde, sort-of reminds me of a Mediteranian version of Liège:

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View from the hill of the basilica:

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The first time we see the sea in this thread!

149.
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Old March 12th, 2013, 12:28 AM   #23
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The area around Plage des Catelans:

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Around the Vieux-Port (I think):

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Near Saint-Charles:

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Around Saint-Charles station itself:

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Old March 12th, 2013, 12:38 AM   #24
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Lastly, some photos of Mazargues, a former village at the western end of Boulevard du Prado, which is now surrounded by the suburbs of Marseille.

163.


View from the roof of the hostel:

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I took these photos in the early morning of the day that I left, and I can say that I allready felt some connection with the city, and was a bit sorry to leave. But the architecture in these photos is allready reminiscent of the next country we will visit:

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Boulevard du Prado in Mazargues:

168.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 01:34 AM   #25
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Now it's time to continue our trip to the second country in this thread, Italy.
Skipping the rest of the south of France, the nice Italian region of Liguria and its capital city of Geno(v)a (an aunt of mine lives there, but sadly no pix), brings us to the region of Tuscany.

km from Givet: 2067

A train at Pisa station, again, to give the impression that we are travelling.

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Pisa from the train:

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km from Givet: 2086

My parents were on holiday in the area, and they picked me up in Livorno (pop: 161.000), where I arrived on the evening of the day that I left Marseille.

Livorno is quite a strange town, and I would like to explore more of it than I did. Here are the only snapshots of the half hour that I was there:

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Old March 17th, 2013, 01:58 AM   #26
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The next few posts will be about the region called Maremma, in the southermost (and most overlooked) Tuscan province of Grosseto. I spent many of my childhood summers holidays there, and for this reason, the area still holds something magical for me. My parents still go on holiday there, and I have visited them there twice in the last 10 years (after Marseille in 2008, and before my next destinations in 2007).

Maremma, which continues north into the provinces of Livorno and Pisa and south into the region of Lazio, used to be marshland, but was 'polderised' by Mussolini in the 1920's. It is also one of Italy's least densely populated areas.

I find it an extremily interesting and atmospheric region, with its utilitarian Dutch-style polders set on a backdrop of Italian hilltop villages and towns.

km since Givet: 2176

Our first stop is Follonica (pop: +/- 22.000), a former steel town in the north of the province.

Being a former metalurgic centre, Follonica has a number of interesting cast-iron structures. Gate to the library:

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church:

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Follonica's cityscape mainly consists of modern appartment buildings...

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But there are also a number of nice older houses:

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Old March 17th, 2013, 02:05 AM   #27
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Clock tower:

186.


Old factories:

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Typical Maremman view:

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Average Follonica cityscape:

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Old-fashioned workers housing:

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House on the outskirts of Follonica:

195.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 02:57 AM   #28
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km 202 from Givet

One more post for today, I give you the picturesque hill-top town of Massa Marittima (pop: 8820), which reminds us of one of the nice things about Italy: most towns either have impressive renaissance architecture, medieval battlements, a magnificant view, or all of the things together.

View from the battlements:

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Follonica and the island of Elba are visible in the distance:

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Fellow tourists on the tower:

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Inside the clock-tower (the clock's mirored in the windows):

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Old March 17th, 2013, 03:06 AM   #29
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207.


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This is almost a cliché, but looks nice nonetheless:

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Lago Dell 'Accesa, which is very nice for swimming

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The hamlet of La Pesta, which is near to the lake. I don't know if this building that now houses a bar/resteaurant used to be a station:

217.


I hope you liked the pics, as there will be more from the Maremma soon.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 09:03 PM   #30
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Very nice pictures with a lot of variety. Sedan has quite a large skyline for a village of 20.000 inhabitants. I also likes Marseille very much. Very nice pictures of it. Also intersting to see the suburbs of the city.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 10:59 PM   #31
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You're going to fast with your beautiful thread HCT! We can hardley follow up..

Anyway, I was in Marseille exactly 11 years ago! I remember that cause my heavily pregnant girlfriend stayed at our apartment in Avignon that day, she felt some dizziness.
I loved Marseille at first sight. I only had some troubles with nort african kids who didn't want me to take pictures in their neighbourhood.
I remember the steep climb to the Notre Dame de la Garde, but the views were great over there!
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Old March 18th, 2013, 10:15 PM   #32
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Thanks for the replies, Sky-eye and Benonie, and also thanks for the likes Paul, Wapper and Primeval!

It seems that in Sedan 18.000 people of 25.000 must live in those tower-blocks, as it's true that I haven't seen another town of that size with so many of them in Western Europe.

Yes Marseilles is a really nice city, but its reputation for crime is at least partly true: I was there shortly after july 14, and 80 cars had been set on fire in the neighbourhood around Mazargues alone. I didn't experience anything threatening myself though.

And don't worry, this thread won't go too fast, as I'm pretty busy at the moment.

But I'll post a few more pics of the Maremma region anyway today

----

Continuing through some countryside...

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km 2020 from Givet

...brings us to another hilltop-town, called Gavorrano (pop: 8.000), where we will make a brief stop:

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View onto the plain:

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The village in the distance is Gavorrano-Scalo. Many towns/villages in the region where built on hills for obvious strategic reason, but also to be further from the Malaria ridden marshes. The construction of polders eradicated malaria, and new settlements where built at the foot of the hills, around the hilltop towns' new stations. These towns were named ...-Scalo, after the ladders which people used to get on the trains. There are many examples of this in the region, such as Gavorrano-Scalo, Sticiano-Scalo and Montepescali-Scalo.

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Old mine (now a museum, I can't remember what they mined, but there used to quite a lot of mining in the area):

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Down in the plain now, a house along Via Aurelia, the historic route from the north to the south of Italy:

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Main railway line Genoa-Rome:

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My fascination for abandoned buildings again, some kind of former agricultural factory:

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There are a number of brick viaducts crossing the plain:

229.
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Old March 18th, 2013, 10:47 PM   #33
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I just want to say that I enjoy your series very much. I'm constantly curious to which place the next picture will take me.
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Old March 18th, 2013, 10:51 PM   #34
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some more countryside:

230.


km 2040 from Givet

This is the village of Montepescali, where I spent a number of summer-vacations when I was small. I have never revisited it since I was small, so I don't have any pictures taken inside the village. Maybe it's better not to revisit it though: when I was small it was surprisingly bustling for a place with only 300 inhabitants. It had its own shop, butcher, bank, post-office, bar, carpenter etc, and we were warmly received by the (mostly old) inhabitants. Most of those people are dead now, and most of the life will have disappeared (I think of the shops only the bar remains). It remains a beautiful sight though!

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I have some pictures of Montepescali-Scalo though...

(Montepescali from the station)

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...which is also known as Braccagni:

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Italian level-crossings used to have a little windmill on them. The crossings haven't changed appart from the fact that they removed the windmills

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The two villages in the distance are Buriano and Vetulonia:

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I wonder if anyone ever sits in this little park:

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My next post will be about the nice, no-nonsense provincial capital Grosseto, but it might take a few days still, as I still have to sort/improve my photos.
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Old March 18th, 2013, 10:51 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basnix View Post
I just want to say that I enjoy your series very much. I'm constantly curious to which place the next picture will take me.
Thanx
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Old March 19th, 2013, 12:17 AM   #36
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Great pictures.

I especially enjoyed those of Marseilles: a city for which I have much interest, and long-standing desire to visit.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 02:41 AM   #37
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Thanks Jane! Yes, judging from your threads, I don't think Marseilles will dissapoint you.

---

km 2053 from Givet

Now for the first post with pictures of the capital of the southernmost Tuscan province,Grosseto (pop: +/- 80.000). Grosseto is definately not one of Italy's touristic jewels, but rather an avarage central-Italian provincial town (I think), and it is exactly for this reason that I like it!

In this post we will explore the area around the station.

Station:

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Little street that leads on to the platform:

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One thing I like about Italian railways is that they still have old things, such as this waterpump for steam-trains, standing around:

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The first building we will look at, is this appartment complex, which I really like (are there any Italians reading this who know which era this is?):

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(it has a courtyard in the middle)

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Old March 24th, 2013, 02:48 AM   #38
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Now a look at the small industrial area on the other side of the railway, which reminds that agriculture (& tourism) is the biggest source if income in the region. Consorzio Agrario (which looks a bit Art-Deco):

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Old March 24th, 2013, 02:57 AM   #39
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Back on the square in-front of the station, a block of flats that is so ugly that I like it:

264.


Some streets in the neighbourhood between the station and the centre:

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A house with a tower :

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I hope you enjoyed it, and expect to see more from Grosseto soon!
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Old March 24th, 2013, 01:47 PM   #40
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Great, very nice new photos
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