Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday 30 October - The Tate

We took advantage of the change of time to get a good  night's sleep.  The 436 bus took us to the Tate Gallery which was a disappointment.  The map that they sell you shows galleries with names such as "The Black Lines" or "Restless Times" without giving any indication of what they contain.  The pictures were placed on the walls in groups but the labels were artfully placed some way away so you had to walk across several paintings, read the labels and then walk back to see the picture.  The labels weren't very helpful.  We eventually found the Turners but I was disappointed to find that those I had wanted to see ("The Fighting Temeraire", "Rain, Steam, Speed") were in the National Gallery.
Millais - The Boyhood of Raleigh
We found a pub just around the corner and had a pint of Fullers London Pride and a packet of chili crisps, then back to the hotel to check in to Air Canada.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday 29 October - Travel Market Rasen to London

Standing on the balcony to our room this morning I heard a couple of horses approaching.  Two horses with riders came by underneath, both wearing fluorescent yellow jackets to make them visible to vehicle drivers.  They had a small dog with them who also had an identically coloured high visibility jacket.
With a little time to spare before leaving for London, Brian took us to a chocolate factory in an old prisoner of war camp.  The selection of chocolate was very wide and there were free tastings, as much as you wanted.  We then came back into town and had a final drink at the Aston Arms before going to the station.
Aston Arms, Market Rasen
The silhouette was produced by a local arts group.
There is now an indicator which shows whether the trains are on time.  There was time to admire the silhouettes that a local arts group has prepared.  Brian has made up a very detailed history of the station together with some pictures that are very popular.

Right on time the crossing warning system changed from green to red indicating that the train was coming and we had a good ride to Newark North Gate although the one car train was full and standing.

Our train to London was only 6 minutes late but the car we should have been in, with seat reservations, was locked shut because the doors wouldn't work and the crew told us to get in where we could - in other words bugger off.  We did manage to get seats no thanks to the crew.  What a contrast to the trip down two days ago.

We met a pleasant couple on the train.  They lived in Harrogate and had expected a seat reservation from Leeds.  They won't travel again by train for a long time.  On arrival at Kings Cross we had to negotiate our way through the ticket barriers so it was completely chaotic.  My case was trapped by the barrier and had to be released by a barrier person.
This display at the Tate is called "I Love Kings Cross and Kings Cross Loves Me"   I certainly don't love Kings Cross and I am sure it doesn't love me if the way it bit my case and wouldn't let go is anything to go by.

Because most of the Underground shut down over the weekend we took a 205 bus from Kings Cross to Paddington.  This worked very well and we checked in to the Indigo hotel in good time.

Our train to Kings Cross was the last one that weekend that would be going directly to London.  After the passage of this one the line was to be closed for maintenance.  Later trains were to be diverted via Lincoln which puts about two hours onto the journey and enrages the people of Lincoln when the level crossing over the High Street has to be closed frequently for the passage of trains.  I have come to the conclusion that one should only travel in Britain during the week, on Saturdays and Sundays large parts of the transport network are closed down for maintenance.

We took a bus to and from Selfridges to get some teas.  This particular bus was so crowded that there were seven standing upstairs.   The store was packed and I shudder to think what it will be like at Christmas. However, Mary found what she was looking for and there were lots of free chocolates being handed out.

Mary wanted fish and chips so we found a local shop.  The fish and cod roe was good but the chips were very soggy - the Advocate Arms would have done a better job.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday 28 October - A visit to Woodhall Spa

The mini-English breakfast at the Advocate Arms hotel contained black pudding along with wonderful back bacon, egg, sausage, hash browns, tomato and toast.

The weather was very good today.  We had clear skies all day although there was a very heavy dew first thing.  We were out early and went to Woodhall Spa which is a small village planned as a Spa rather than as a country village supporting the surrounding farming communities. The sun took some time to clear the dew but the air smelt of the country - earthy and damp.  Many fields have been sown with winter wheat and here were many fields of sheep and also some cattle.  The views to the horizon in the clear air were very impressive.
Old railway right of way converted into a footpath.

There used to be a railway line through the village and we walked out along this and then through a large area of golf courses.  The grey squirrels were busy and we saw several robins and blackbirds.  There are a lot of ladybirds around this year.

The walk was very pleasant this late fall day and we stopped in at a cafe in the woods for a drink before continuing back to the village past a Kinema in the woods. There is a monument to the Dam Busters squadron in the centre of the village.
Kinema in the Woods
Floral arrangement at the Dam Busters' Monument
We had a drink and a snack (Directors Bitter, sauvignon blanc/jacket potatoes) in a pub in the village then walked along to a small museum which had a small display of 617 Squadron (Dam Busters) and some interesting exhibits illustrating the history of the village.  There are some interesting shops along Broadway, the delicatessen being an interesting visit - it had genuine old style pork pies.

A short ride brought us to the vast Petworth Hotel which was the Officers' Mess for the Dam Busters squadron.  It was a convalescent home during the first world war.  This is a very elite hotel which contained some excellent items relating to the Squadron.

A short ride brought us back to the Advocate Arms.  This is the same room we had on our last visit.  It is very well appointed and very comfortable.  Everything works and is well thought out.  The balcony is a pleasant little extra.
Gill and Brian came to dinner with us at the Advocate Arms hotel.  The food was excellent and the service was superb.  The place was very busy on a Friday evening but there were seven girls serving and the pace was pretty good.
Smoked duck breast/sardines/scallops
Terrine/shank of lamb/salmon
the desert and cheeses were also very good.
The Chianti Classico was passable

Thursday 27 October - London to Market Rasen

The journey from London, Kings Cross to Market Rasen went very well.  East Coast Connect took us to Newark Northgate on time and there was but a short wait on the dreary Newark station for the single car to Lincoln and Market Rasen.  the only bad part was getting through the ticket barriers with all the world's cases, parcels, kids etc. before boarding the train at Kings Cross.  Complete chaos.

While waiting for the train at Kings Cross there was a pre-recorded announcement in stentorian tones:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be a test of the alarm system.  You do not have to take any further action".
This was repeated four times after which a bell could be heard very faintly. I doubt if very many actually heard it, and in any case it was completely ignored.  After this there was another announcement.
"Ladies and Gentlemen.  Thank you for your cooperation."
We presume this was to thank us for ignoring the alarm and not running round like chickent=s with our heads cut off.

Brian met us at the station with his usual cheery smile and we had a delightful afternoon over lunch which Gill had prepared - gammon marinaded and cooked in cider.  Gill made two deserts, a trifle and a lemon tart, everything was exceptional.

We checked in to the Advocate Arms hotel and were given the same room as last time No. 6.  It is delightful.  The hotel is celebrating its third birthday next week, it is a great asset to the village.

This evening Brian took me to see the model railway he and some friends are building - a good reproduction of the Market Rasen station and goods facilities.  After that we put the world to right over a pint at the Aston Arms.

I have made a reservation for dinner tomorrow evening.  Duck is on the starter menu.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday 26 October - In St. Pancras

We had a light breakfast in the room and then went across to pick up our prepaid tickets for the trip to Market Rasen tomorrow.  We were able to do this at a ticket machine.  It worked very well.

We then had a quick visit to the very impressive British Library where the Magna Carta was on view and I then went to the nearby Skinners' Arms to meet some school friends none of whom had I seen since leaving school in 1960.

Colin Bishop, Dai Bamford, Peter Gregory

Peter Gregory. Tony Butwick, Mike Fulford

Mike Fulford, Charles Smith, Clive Grenyer
Rob Carter
It was a great time and there was a lot of very friendly banter.  Each one seems to have done pretty well and it was a pleasure to meet up with them.  We ran a beer kitty and the fish and chips was pretty good.
Mary and I decided on an Indian meal this evening.  Skewers of chicken with tamarind sauce, lamb Madras and chicken Ceylon.  It was all very good, the sauces being thick and with a good depth of flavour.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday 25 October - Dulwich Picture Gallery and Jersey Boys

Pictures will be posted later.

We got up late and went down the Euston Road to have a full English breakfast at a pub, along with a pint of Fuller's London Pride.  A ride on the top deck of a bus to Victoria provided plenty of interest but it was pretty slow.  At Victoria we took an Orpington train to West Dulwich to visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery which is celebrating its 200th anniversary.  It is a small gallery and some of the pictures are a little difficult to see as they are high up and catch the reflections.  There is an exhibit of the Group of Seven which was pretty good.  Tom Thompspn's "The Jack Pine" was there but most of the pictures and sketches were new to us.

Coming back to town we just missed a train and the next one was cancelled.  It started to rain and the rain came into the shelter.

The Underground was a nightmare.

We went to the evening performance of "Jersey Boys" about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  The sang a lot of well known songs and the whole was well performed and good fun.  Getting back, the Underground was almost as full as during rush hour.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday 24 October - Torino to Paris then London

We had an early breakfast and took a taxi to Torino Porta Susa station which is being rebuilt.  The new overall roof will be beautiful but at the moment it is a real mess and seems to house a lot of homeless people.  The toilet was the closest to a Chinese toilet I have ever seen in Europe.  There are only four platforms available and our train followed an Italian high speed train and a commuter train into the one platform.  A Spanish Talgo train, presumably from Barcelona, hauled by an Italian locomotive came in just before we left.  We left a couple of minutes late boarding passengers but in spite of slow running managed to arrive at Gare de Lyon two minutes late.  The journey through the Alps was interesting and there was a lot of slow running through very long tunnels.  Once into France the country was dotted with small towns and settlements.  We avoided Lyon and then ran through the uninteresting open country between there and Paris. Mistletoe can be seen easily this time of year when the leaves have fallen.  Bach Organ music entertained me until Modane and them I switched to Mozart Don Giovanni until Paris.
Paris Gare du Nord.  The Thalys set has been decorated for the Tintin movie by Spielberg, the autographed this set the next day in Brussels.
The trip across Paris was very easy on the RER line D and we had a lot of time to get a snack and check in to Eurostar.  The journey to London was quite comfortable with just one stop at Ebbsfleet International.  Western Kent is Man of Kent country but I was really at home when we crossed the Medway because I am a Kentish Man.  The Medway was shining silver grey in the late afternoon sun.  We had a good view of the Medway road suspension bridge.  We arrived in St. Pancras just two minutes late.  It was a long walk down the platform as we were in the last car.  The Hotel Megaro is just across Euston Road from St. Pancras and we have a great view of it from our room.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday 23 October Ferry to Livorno then train to Torino.

Pictures added 24 October.

The cabin had two beds as well as two bunks. We both slept well but had to get up early for disembarkation at 0700. Luciano was one of the first off the boat and had found a taxi by the time we arrived.

Livorno at 0730 on a Sunday morning in October is not a pretty sight and the station seemed a long way from the port. A cappuccino helped and the 0843 to Genova left just a couple of minutes down. Graffitti is endemic in Italy.
Newly painted side rod switcher moving passenger cars at Livorno.
The journey was uneventful.  There was a break for a slice of pizza at Genova Brignole and the train to Torino got us there on time.  The car was overheated.  Luciano tells me that the areas where the ballast, rails and ties have been whitewashed are to counter terrorism - one can easily see where the ballast has been disturbed.
Our train ready to depart for Torino at Genova Brignole
We were both pretty tired and spent a couple of hours in the room.  The walk around the central area was very pleasant - streets with wide colonnades and large squares.  In one location people were crowded around a group of musicians singing traditional songs.  A lady was passing out song sheets, very similar to the Rue de Mouffetarde in Paris on a Saturday morning.  There were several men roasting chestnuts.

We had an early dinner at the Infernot - gnocci were very light indeed and the veal and beef were all good.  Half a bottle of Chianti Classico helped it all go down.

Saturday 22 October Sassari to Golfo Aranci

Pictures posted on October 29.

This was a satisfying day in that we completed our travel over all the rail networks of Sardinia. Some of the group wanted to visit the loco depot first thing but I bought a ticket to ride to Sorso and back. This is a short narrow gauge line worked by diesel railcars at present but there is much work going on to convert it to a tramway. I saw new ties and ballast as well as some new platforms. The overhead wires would complete the job although they would also need some additional trams. The area is a little greener than other parts of the island and there were groves of olive and walnut trees. The line is a short one (13 minutes) and we were quickly back at Sassari. There were good views towards the sea.
Sorso train at Sassari.
There are two ticket offices at the station, one for TrenItalia and one for the SFS narrow gauge. Tickets for the buses and tramway (Metro) have to be bought at the tobacchi, and different tickets are required for these. I rode the tramway to both ends of the line. It is single track with just two passing loops. They have four multi-section tramcars but because of the limited number of passing places and because there is no traffic priority for the trams the service is slow and infrequent. On the way back to the statione I got into a conversation with a middle aged lady sitting opposite. I gave her a Canada pin and she introduced herself and asked my name and the names of the two who were with me. Her friend also introduced herself. We parted with handshakes all round.

Click below to see Sassari trams in slideshow format

Sassari has some interesting doorways

After a one course lunch with the group (pork, fries and salad with grapes and red wine) we wandered down to the station to catch the train to Golfo Aranci with changes at Ozieri Chilivani and Olbia. We left on time at 1430 just as a narrow gauge train from Alghero arrived. This is the sort of operating stupidity that the Italians are good at – the Swiss would have made a connection.  But what can you expect from an outfit that has three ticket offices and two types of urban transport tickets.  On the second part of the trip we sat opposite an old lady who appeared at first glance doddery. However, she got out her cell phone at Monti and called a grand daughter. I carried her bag but she hung on to her case and walked smartly down the steps where her grand daughter was waiting and thanked me from behind a hug. The area around Monti is renown for white wine and there were a large number of cork oaks as well. We all got down on to the platform at Olbia only to find out that it was the same train that continued on to Golfo Aranci.
Golfo Aranci was the end of the trip
Group Photo at Golfo Aranci - taken by John Bennett
 Golfo Aranci was the end of the run and the end of our trip. We stood together for a group photo and then the bus came to return us to Olbia. We walked around the town and had a glass of wine at a wine bar (Proseco and an excellent red). It was pretty busy on a Saturday evening with lots of girls and boys walking around separately in groups. The meal at the hotel started off with lasagna and there were roast vegetables and veal and more wine. There was some singing (a Gricer's (Policeman's) Lot and Jerusalem) and speeches.

We said our good byes and went with Luciano and two other couples (Diane/Chris and Deb/Dan) to the ferry for the trip to Livorno.

Friday 21 October Cagliari to Porto Torres in spite of the strike

Pictures posted October 25

It was going to be a good weekend for weather and the Italian Railways (FS) decided go go on strike today. However, the strike was due to end at 1700 today and it was not certain that it would be a complete strike. We all went down to the station to find out that some trains were running but nobody could tell us whether the 1500 to Porto Torres would be running. The only way to find out would be to look at the departure board around 1400. It would not necessarily be a disaster as the coach could take us all as a last resort,
The entry ticket gave a different impression of the area.  Green countryside as opposed to bare and brown.
Mary and I decided to visit the 3000 year old stone fortress and village at Barumini. The nuraghe proved to be pretty interesting although access to the interior part was difficult and many decided not to go. The walls were ten meters thick and there is still speculation as to how the large stones, some weighing three or four tons were put in place.

Back at Cagliari station the 1500 was showing on the board. The inbound working arrived at 1428 and so, armed with a sandwich, we all got in and hoped. Angelina went into sheepdog mode and tried to get us all to move up to where she and John were sitting so last minute changes could be instantly relayed. We refused on the grounds that the train was rapidly filling up and we would not be able to get a seat – our reserved coach was a casualty of the strike (more likely standard Italian railway operating procedure). We agreed to stick our heads out of the window at each station and get out quickly if John appeared on the platform.

The 1500 left on time and after the marshland that surrounds Cagliari we were travelling quickly through a flat plain with stark hills on either side. The plain was very dry and what grass there was was brown. The sheep must have had a hard time finding something to eat. A few trees dotted the landscape. It was the same monotonous scenery practically all of the way.
At Oristano we were all stuffed into a three car, modern articulated unit. The lady conductor, with her stylish black boots, minced around looking as if she felt she should have been on a runway but she didn't have the face for it. All she did was to walk, stylishly, from the driving cab to the first vestibule to open the doors at each stop.
The train with a revolving toilet
The train was air conditioned and made reasonable time. It had an enormous WC which was equipped with a revolving toilet seat that sprayed water as it revolved. There was no indication as to how the seat was to be dried and anyone who used it would get a wet bum.

At Macomer the lady conductor pranced off to be replaced by a large rotund man who could only just get in through the doors. Having watched the connection for Olbia leave at Ozieri – Chilivani we waited for the connection from Olbia and then proceeded to Sassari and Porto Torres. A few of the group bailed at Sassari but the bus could not park close to the hotel so arrangements had to be made to get their cases to the hotel.

We arrived at Porto Torres about 40 minutes late – not bad during a strike. The bus was there to meet us and whipped us back to Sassari. The hotel is quite good and dinner was excellent. The staff were very good and the wine flowed freely. Pasta/beef with excellent crispy baked potatoes/frozen flavored cream.

Thursday 20 October Visit to a mine - Cagliari

We had a later start this morning and left on the bus for the San Giovanni Mine and the Grotta de Santa Barbara. Kitted out with hair covering and hard hats, we rode a mine train into the mine and then took a lift up to a higher level, up a spiral staircase and into the Grotta which was discovered during the mining process. The mine is not open any more but they have a number of tourists to visit the caves which are spectacular. There are some large formations which are well lighted without adding colours so we were seeing the natural formations. The elephant ear or sail formations were very impressive. The number of visitors is controlled to ensure that the temperature and humidity is correctly maintained so as to keep the formations in good condition and allowing them to continue to grow.

The bus then took us into Monteponi Mine where there was a very good self-service restaurant which was not ready for such a large party so we had to wait while some more pasta was prepared. For 10 euros we had pasta, a meat course, dessert/fruit and a drink (beer/wine/soft drink or water.) It was a good job that we ate where we did because the station at Carbonia is set in the middle of wasteland with very little around. The original station is a short way up the line and is little used

It was then a race against time to get to the station at Carbonia. We arrived with two minutes to spare and then the train left 5 minutes late while they played with a difficult door.
1510 Carbonia to Villamassergia (loco and coaches)
1530 Villamassergia to Inglesias (diesel unit)
1554 Inglesias to Cagliari (loco and coaches)
The ride was nothing special and there were some delays because of the single track but we arrived back in Cagliari and I walked back to the hotel searching for restaurants. I walked through a small park just off Via Roma and was surprised to see that it was filled with middle aged women sitting around and talking animatedly. For some reason only these women congregated here and there was no sign of the men or the families with small children.

Mary took the cultural option after lunch which consisted of a guided tour of the city. The guide recommended a restaurant serving local food and we went to it for dinner. It was amazing. There was a choice of six menus, each one progressively larger and we chose Menu No. 2 which had just antipasti, pasta, dessert and coffee. The chef decided what would be in our courses.

They put a litre jug of red wine and a litre of water on the table along with a basket of bread.
The Antipasti consisted of:
  • a large tray containing boiled onion, olives, roasted red pepper, roasted zucchini and lightly boiled carrots.
  • A plate of tripe
  • A plate of snails in sauce
  • A plate of meat balls in sauce
  • A tray covered with crisp bread on top of which was salami, prosciutto, soft and hard cheese.
The pasta consisted of ravioli stuffed with potato and/or cheese and small pasta in a tomato sauce.
The dessert course consisted of:
  • a plate of melon, pineapple, grapes and pomegranate
  • a plate of six pastries
  • a glass each of semi-sweet moscato wine
This, with the coffee, wine etc. came to 20 euros each. The cash tried to charge us 22 euros as is common in Spain and Italy but they quickly adjusted it when the mistake was pointed out.

The restaurant was nicely decorated and beside several from our group the place began to fill up with locals around 2000 and was pretty full when we left. There were several tables of six and more, all enjoying the food. One lady called the waiter over and holding out a plate of tripe, asked him what it was. He told her and she then tucked in to it. This was an excellent way to end the day. It was a good job that we had not decided on a more extensive menu!

Wednesday 19 October Aritzo to Cagliari

Pictures added October 28

We woke up far too early for comfort and went down to breakfast. The highlight was a tray of several local pastries which were excellent, some of them had walnuts on top.

The coach took us to Sorgono where we picked up our charter railcar for Mandas. On the way we encountered a flock of goats and then a flock of sheep with a shepherd and a dog. Many of the sheep had bells. The area is heavily forested with many cork oaks and there are also vineyards, many of the vine leaves were turning red and orange.
There was a rusty steam engine at Sorgono
Ready for departure from Sorgono
This was a much better train. The railcar was nicely painted and worked well. The railway people along the line enjoyed having us and there was much joking and friendly banter. Once again the weather was very good with a clear blue sky.

There were the following photographic stops:
Desula Tonara,
Belvi Aritzo (where there were two small dogs, one friendly and one not so friendly.
A bridge
Maena Sardo where there were some beehives made from tree trunks
Laconi where a bar had been set up selling beer, soft drinks, ice creams and photos. I had a tasting of red mirto (myrtle liqueur). The man didn't want me to pay but I gave him something anyway. There were figs on a tree and the shade was very pleasant.
Stop by a river (not successful – and we disturbed an ants' nest)
Bridge by a tunnel
Bee hives

Some of the original rail (1888 in this case) was still in place.

The light at the end of the tunnel is Angelina who controlled the run pasts.

The whole trip went very well and we were in Mandas in plenty of time to sit over a glass of white wine at the station bar. On the platform the lady station mistress/shunter/signalman/general factotum was getting a trailer out of the way and assembling our two car train to Cagliari. The railcar driver didn't want to do it the way she did and there was a great deal of shouting and gesticulating. He got his way because he was moving the railcar around. We were banished to the second car, which was the car we had used from Sogorno.
We finally left at 1507 (7 minutes late) and made a good run into Cagliari. The country turns into dry (at this time of year) farming then into the suburbs of the city. The train terminates at Montserrato but our ticket was valid on the tramway into the city center where our bus took us to the hotel. We have a room with a view over the Mediterranean and the port area.
Tram terminus at Montserrato

When the driver leaves his door open there is a good view
An opportunity for some down time.
Click below to see all the Sorgono images in slide show format:

Click below to see Cagliari tram pictures in slide show format

Tuesday 18 October A very long day Arbatax to Aritzo

Pictures were posted on October 28.
Today can only be described as a complete disaster. The plan was for us to take a steam locomotive from Arbatax to Seui and then a diesel to Mandas where the coach would take us to the hotel at Aritzo. This is, in fact what happened but we didn't arrive at the hotel until abut 2230 and then had dinner.
The day started off fine and there was good weather all through. The 2-6-2 tank engine assembled its train of one wagon and a coach and we took off. Many houses in Arbatax are painted different pastel colours which help to brighten things up. There is quite a lot of bamboo growing in the area. It went well until we hit the first grade (we would be climbing almost all of the way until Seui). The engine stalled on the grade and had to stand for a blow up.

There was a second stop for a blow up a short while later but the light was amazing – shining right on to the nose of the engine.
The stand for a blow up was a great opportunity for photos in wonderful light
There was a water (and blow up?)stop at Sella Ellecci.

Another stop for a blow up provided an opportunity for photos but it was apparent that the engine was in very bad condition and would have great difficulty in getting us to Seui. It is evident that the boiler has been altered to run at a lower steam pressure rather than carry out any necessary repairs.

There was a photo stop at km. 202 and another stop at Elini where we took the opportunity to photograph a group of school kids (6 or 7) in their smocks. They were very well behaved although one or two were frightened by the locomotive and were crying. I gave the three teachers a Canada pin each but I didn't have enough to give round to the kids.

Just after Elini we slipped to a stand and despite several attempts the driver was unable to start off. He was either heavy on the throttle or the throttle was very still. He backed down a long way and tried to get away to no avail. It turned out that there were only hand brakes on the coach and the engine. Three whistles was the signal to the conductor to apply the coach brakes and two to release them. One time the conductor was not paying attention and we started to run back at a great rate, past the hospital and near to the main road crossing in Elini. A series of short whistle blasts and then three brought to brakes on and the train was eventually brought under control. We stayed a long while at this spot eating out lunches. There was a railcar following which could possibly provide assistance but the crew put sand on the rails by hand and worked on the sanding gear on the engine. We finally started up again and made it to Lanusei where there was another stop for a blow up and water. There was quite a long stop here for the engine and we enjoyed the bar (red wine) and our group cleared out the freezer of chock ices, cones etc.

By this time it was past lunch time and there were two photo stops before a water stop at Arzana. The water was put in with a garden hose so it took some time. The empty railcar joined us here and followed us into Seui.

At Gairo there was a water/photo/blow up stop after which we encountered a flock of sheep which was being driven by a dog. The sheep ran in front of the train for some way and the dog was doing its best. It even stopped occasionally to bark at the approaching train. We eventually passed the sheep and the dog ran behind us to see us off.

Video of the last run past of the day
We made five more stops before Seui, two for pictures on bridges but all in effect to blow up. We even had to stop a hundred yards or so from Seui. We finally arrived around 1900.

The railway knew the locomotive was in such bad condition and that we would not be able to make the trip as they had promised. I think even more worrying is that the train was controlled by just two handbrakes on severe grades where stopping because of the locomotive could easily snap a coupling. The was an act of crass stupidity on the part of the railway. When I was in Transport Canada Railway Safety I would have had no hesitation in closing down an operation like this immediately.

From Seui we had a long way to go to Mandas and were given the opportunity of taking the bus but there was no real advantage and we stayed on the train. The diesel made a good run and we arrived about half an hour after the bus. It was a trip of over an hour to Aritzo. The hotel was situated at around 850 meters and the road was so winding that several passengers began to feel sick.

The Hotel La Capannina is an excellent family run operation. They kept our food ready for us and the wine flowed freely. It must have been very difficult for the staff, all of whom smiled all the time.

We started with a plate of prosciutto and salami then seadas, deep fried dough with a cheese filling. The next course was home made cheese filled ravioli with s tomato based sauce. The main course was an excellent spit-roasted pork with roast potatoes. Fruit for desert. An excellent finish to a very poor railway day.

We finally got to our room at midnight.