The word "modest" does not do justice to the main interchange station between France and Italy at Ventimiglia. Its not that grand.
The platform height and the trains don't match well, leaving you to "climb aboard", literally. Getting the father-in-law's wheelchair on and off was fun, as was navigating the underground tunnels connecting platforms.
However an even greater surprise was the station buffet. It is brilliant! Stylish decor, mouth watering food hot food, fresh coffee, pasties, a bar, like no other station buffet I have ever seen. Book a fortnights holiday and move in!
How can you tell an Italian motorcyclist? He spends more on the clothes than the bike.
For an Italian man, it is absolutely vital to have full body-sculpting leather armour, festooned with brand names so you can swank and strut your stuff. Matching gear for the wife/ girlfriend of course.
In Italy the bike is symbolic of your manhood - no wussy 50cc moped or environmentally friendly electric scooter - a growling monster with arm-wrenching acceleration and power power power in reserve. Preferably Italian.
"Che Honda - allora, questo dove, Ragazzi?" (I made that up. Sounds Italian)
Seeing the chapter gathering here I was reminded of the legendary Hells Angels slogan, written in big white letters on the back of a black leather jacket:
IF YOU CAN
THE B IT CH
Ventimiglia is easily reached by train from various cities along the French Riviera.
During our visit in May 2009, we visited Ventimiglia from Nice, using the following transport:
Bus #100 from Nice central bus station to Menton = 1 Euro = 1 hour 15 minutes
Train from Menton to Ventimiglia = 4.60 Euros return (2nd class) = 10 minutes
Upon arrival at Menton from Nice, we assumed that we’d be able to catch a connecting bus over the border into Italy. However, when we enquired at the bus station information desk, we were told that catching the train was our only option.
Menton train station is only a 5 minute walk from the bus station so we walked down there and checked the timetables. During the day, trains from Menton to Ventimiglia (Vintimille in French) run approximately every 30 minutes.
We bought tickets from a machine at Menton station (I think the return ticket gave us a small saving compared to two singles) and validated them before going to the platform to wait for the train.
The journey from Menton to Ventimiglia is a mere 10 minutes, including a stop at Menton Garavan on the way.
Ventimiglia isn’t particularly large and its station is fairly centrally located. Exit through the main front doors and head straight down the main road towards the seafront. You’ll pass the town’s famous market on the right hand side after a few minutes and reach the beach in 5-10 minutes.
The journey back from Ventimiglia to Menton wasn’t quite as smooth. After waiting for a while on one platform, an announcement then directed us to another platform. We arrived there and boarded a Trenitalia train, then sat and waited for a good 20 minutes for it to depart. There was clearly a problem with the train and it became apparent that a French train at another platform would leave before this one did, so passengers switched en-masse to the French train. As we sat there waiting to depart, a couple of Italian guys told us that this train would leave on time as the French trains were far more reliable than the notorious Trenitalia ones. We eventually set off and arrived back in France 10 minutes later.
When catching a train from Ventimiglia to Menton, you can catch any of the trains bound for Monte Carlo, Nice or Grasse, as they all stop at Menton en-route.
We visited the area during our day trip from the French Riviera. During the day there are several direct trains from Nice, Canes, and Genoa.