“You from here, then? Only you seem to know what’s what.” I laughed and shook my head at the English couple, fresh off the Stansted flight, and explained, pointing to the large ‘5.00 UAH’ written below the airport bus timetable. “The fare's written here, look,” I said. I was curious to know why they’d chosen …
It was all triggered by old black and white photographs sent to my father long ago... Growing up, I’d heard a lot about Poland, where my father had been born at the end of WW1. Coming to the UK during WW2, he’d been unable to go back ‘home’ when the war ended, as eastern Poland had become part of the USSR. I’d had a child’s simplistic understanding of it, that the Russians took it from Poland. But all we ever heard about was Poland. Nothing about Ukrainian people or language.
When I booked the eight trains spanning four days of travel from London to the ancestral village of my father (formerly in Poland, now lying within western Ukraine), I hadn’t realised that I’d be following the same route, more or less, that my father had driven us as a family in the late 1960s. Some fifty years later I decided to travel east again, although this time it was possible to keep going into Ukraine, to the town closest to my dad’s village - the town of Ivano-Frankivsk
Possibly overlooked by its more famous neighbour Avignon, the town of Orange in Provence offers considerable charm for a short stopover.
The triple waterfalls of Cascade d'Ars are deservedly well known, but it's possible to escape the crowds and make a detour that takes in the étang de Guzet.
At 1745m Tuc de la Coume is not especially high but you get a 360 degree panorama of both the summit chain and the surrounding valleys.
The Col de Pause is a starting point for some wonderful walks, as well as an up-close view of Mont Valier. This entry describes a walk up to the pastures known by various spellings: Areau, Arreau, Arréou and Areou, and its emerald green lake.
At 2088m, Mont Ceint (also known as Pic de Girantès) gives a superb 360° panorama over the surrounding ridges and valleys. Until recently it bore a poignant reminder of the French Résistance actions in helping escapees flee over the Pyrenees to Spain.
Have you ever spent time visiting the must-sees of a city and then slowly realised that it’s the hidden corners, the people and the feelings that stay with you over time, rather than what Tripadvisor tells you are The Ten Best Things to do in...?
It’s now possible to step from a damp and grey St Pancras onto the Eurostar and emerge less than six hours later into the heat and sun of Provence.