From Milan the train to Paris heads west through the wide, open valley of the river Po.  A patchwork of flat, rectangular fields, stitched together by low earth banks and irrigation channels, stretches to the horizon.  Many fields, flooded to irrigate the newly sown rice crop, are unbroken sheets of water, sparkling in the sun.

 

 

Flooded fields give way to dry ones in shades of tan, ochre and dusty brown.  Soon distant mountains can be seen hemming in the valley to the north with lower hills to the south.  By the time the train reaches Turin the valley narrows and the mountains draw closer.  Rice fields give way to meadows and pasture with fruit trees and vegetable patches around small farmsteads.

It was the flooded rice fields that made me reach for my camera.  Sitting on the south side of the train, early on a sunny afternoon, I didn’t have much chance of good photos.  By the time I found a tip up seat in the vestibule next to a clean, north facing window the flooded fields were behind us but for a short while the light was just right for pictures from the moving train.

Click on the top left circle to follow the journey.