For a place with fewer than 200,000 inhabitants Geneva punches above its weight. It produced Jean Jacques Rousseau, whose philosophy inspired the French Revolution; it was the launch pad for the Reformation which changed the course of European history; the Geneva Convention was signed here and the World Jewish Congress was founded here in 1936.
It was a good enough place to park. A large, open-air pay and display a few minutes walk from the port, surely this was the perfect spot to leave our car and explore the fascinating maritime city of Thessaloniki (Salonika).
Our train pulls out of La Spezia and bores straight into the mountainside and into the rugged heart of the Cinque Terre. Hurtling through the mountain’s interior, it’s not long before we burst out on the other side, a sudden blue wash of light spilling into the carriages as the Mediterranean comes into view.
‘That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever done,” said my husband, flopping on a sunbed. “I was lying in a steam room while some woman in a swimsuit covered my eyes with a cold flannel and threw ice over my head.” After a traditional hamman treatment — Turkish bath — he could do little more than lift his cocktail.
British Ambassador to Luxembourg Alice Walpole welcomed the four Langdon residents completing a four-day 275-mile sponsored bike ride from London. The quartet — James Manton, Guy Ben-David, Benjamin Kraus and Daniel Welck — enjoyed a celebratory picnic at the embassy.
From Nice airport it was a pleasant tootle along the twisty N8 coastal road. I was heading for the tiny town of Théoule-sur-Mer where they say, the water quality around its cliffs is the best in Europe.
I had chosen the Tiara Yaksta boutique hotel for its discreet location and found it was so hidden that I passed it at least three times.