Melbourne can be a little different

As the rest of Australia Swelters

In Melbourne has a top to day of 19c

As the Lunar New Year Celebrations draw to the end

There was Chinese dancing at Victoria Market

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With traditional music and movement

Then in a change of pace the music for the chicken dance came from the speaker.

Not very Chinese I think

As kids got up to dance to a familiar tune.

 

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Doing the Chicken Dance

But, of course, this is the Year of the Rooster

So why not use a European Drinking song which has chicken in the title!

Only in Multicultural Melbourne

Where cultures and traditions blend happily.

 

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Tassie (Tasmania)

 

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Looking past Wineglass Bay to Schouten Passage in the Freycinet Peninsula

 

I’ve looked at Tassie from both sides now

from in and out

and still somehow

Its Tassie’s illusion I recall

I really don’t know Tassie at all

(will apologies to Joni Mitchell)

 

I’m going to Tassie again

I place I can always go back to

find something new and beautiful

In Australian smallest State

An island State, part of an island nation.

 

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Looking out to sea over the remains of the old jetty in Bridport NE Tasmania

Looking out across the blue clear waters that surround Tassie.

Looking in from coastal anchorages at

 

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Storm over Maria Island from Chinamans Bay,

 

At storms rolling past

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At the play of the light on the rocky shoreline

 

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Sleepy Cove, Freycinet Peninsula

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Looking in to tight harbour entrances

 

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Hells Gates the entrance to Macquarie Harbour in perfect conditions

 

Sitting safe in historic ports

 

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Futura in Constitution Dock, Hobart

 

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Looking down on the Stanley Fishing Harbour from the Nut

Travelling through beautiful wilderness

 

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Gordon River Wilderness

 

 

 

 

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Looking towards Frenchmans Cap in the South West Wilderness

 

And a quirkiness that is only Tassie

 

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Ship’s dog watching passers by

 

Next month I’m going back to Tassie again

Taking the mighty Breva down for her second trip

I hope the sun never sets on my Tasmania adventures.

 

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Sunset over Coles Bay TasmaniaSouth East Tasmania

 

 

 

 

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ISAF World Cup Sailing – Melbourne 2016

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Rounding the mark and heading for home in the women’s 470 final

It was a beautiful early summer day and here I was a volunteer official on the finish line of the last round – the medal round – of the ISAF World Cup.

I know a little about race officiating but was a little nervous about such a big event as we waited at St Kilda Marina to pick of the other officials.  My club the Hobsons Bay Yacht Club had provided our club boat to be the set the finish line and record the results.

Maria from Valencia (oh how I loved Spain) quickly assured us that we needed to just do as she said.  Press the hooter when she said now, raise the flag when she said now etc.

She was a quiet woman but chatting away after fine tuning the reach angles and waiting for starts her experience was slowly revealed an on water official at two Olympics, Principal race offer for the TP52 series in Europe.

Great I just did what I was told, enjoy the racing and take some photos.

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470 men’s start

From the boat we had a great view of the start and the final rounding mark leading to the finish.

We were officiating 5 races all deciding the series for that class.

There was the Men’s and Women 470 class.

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Men’s 470s under spinnaker

The Finn a hard boat to sail for big strong blokes.

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Finn Start

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Jake Lilley of Australia using all his strength to keep the boat flat and heading for the medal

The women’s laser radial and men’s laser the boats of single handed skill.

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Maneuvering at the start of the Women’s Laser Radial

The last race the Men’s laser

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A tightly fought race,

with a fairy tale end.

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Thumbs up as he gets the winners signal

With Pavlos Kontides winning his first ever international series gold medal,  having won an Olympic Silver Medal and many other placings in a decade of senior sailing in the laser.

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Impressions of Spain 3 – Alhambra

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Alhambra

Sitting below the Sierra Nevada and above the fertile plane of Granada

is The Red

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The site chosen by the Romans for a fort

Bought to its glory by the Moors as Christian Europe languished in its Dark Ages

Magnificent architecture

 

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Summer House at Alhambra

 

 

Mosaics

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Gardens

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Bought into flourish by the Nasrid Sultans over 700 years

Then occupied by Ferdinand and Isabella

Driving Islam out or Spain and establishing themselves as the Catholic Kings

In the Palace, Isabella signed the orders for Columbus to sail in search of the Americas

The dawn of the Golden Age

 

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Alhambra Palace

The centre of old Granada

Overlooking the Albacain, the Arab quarter

 

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The Albacain from Alhambra

 

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Plaza Aliatar at night in the Albacain

 

 

Ransacked by Napoleon’s troops in 1882

Alhambra still stands magnificent even though losing its former glory.

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Impressions of Spain 2 – Cadiz

Cadiz

Old City

3000 years old

Inhabited by

Phoenicians

Romans

Goths

Moors

Through to

the Spanish “Golden Years”

 

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Walls of Old Cadiz

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Castillo de San Sebastian 

 

Flourishing

Gold and other trade from the Americas

Trading through its port

Building a flourishing city

Grand Cathedral

 

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Cadiz Cathedral

 

 

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Henry Moore’s Reclining Woman beside the Cadiz Cathedral

Filled with the silver and gold

flowing from the Americas

 

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Silver alter in a Cathedral chapel

Now a coastal tourist city

Port of ferries, cruise and cargo ships

old town and new

new ways and old

The wonderful passion of spain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Impressions of Spain 1 – the Spanish

I saw the Dutch as having a stoic inner strength as a result of the battle the with external forces.

The Spanish temperament is shaped by the battle with their own wild passion.

Separatists in the Basque country and Catalonia seeking their own expression.

Civil ways

Anarchists

Communists

Capitalists

Living in the shadow of Spain’s “Glory Years”.

 

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Parade on Hispanic Day dressed as in the “Glory Days” in Plaza Del Sol

“Glory Years” that spread Spanish culture to the Americas, Africa and distant corner so the world.

Especially in the Americas where the Hispanic culture is still strong.

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So the passionate Spaniards celebrate with parades of national days and saint days.

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FIESTA DE LA VIRGEN DEL ROSARIO CORONADA

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With a 100 or more buglers and drummers leading the parade of the patron saint of Cadiz

But in many ways the flamenco dance captures the raw passionate energy of Spain

The wild swing or the body

The rapid fire stamping of the feet

The dancer lost in the raw energy of the moment

The wild expression of the inner passion.

 

 

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Flamenco dancer

 

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Bouillon, Belgium beer, 7000+ kms, and the Moto Guzzi European adventure draws to a close.

The Breva parked beside the Semios River in Bouillon

After over 7,000ks traversing swathes of southern Germany,  Switzerland,  France with some tastes of Austria, Italy and Spain, there was Bouillon.

View of the Bouillon fort from the bar of the youth hostel

Second taste of Belgium on this adventure  and a further taste of beautiful Belgium beer.

I discussed the best beers in the world with a couple of Dutch and Germans in Coles Bay, Tasmania. All extolling our nationalistic beer pride when others turned to me and said as one;

You haven’t had Belgium beer.  The really make the best.”

And drinking a duvel over looking the Bouillon I seconded their opinion.

Bouillon was a bitter sweet discovery.

Bouillon in beautiful as is the Semios Valley.

Looking up to the fort from the Hotel De La Poste

The last night of the Moto Guzzi adventure – as the next day was Nijmegen where this part of the European adventure stated only a short 3 weeks earlier.

The mighty Breva had completed over 7000k visited 7 countries. Racing down, unrestricted motorways, climbing ridiculously steep tracks, and through narrow lanes barely wider than the pannier cases without missing a beat.

The mighty Breva ready to be shipped back to Australia

It was part of the European adventure that finished there.

I’m sitting in Madrid having visited one of the oldest cities in Europe,  Cadiz and walked the grounds of the amazing Alhambra and as the might Breva crosses the Indian Ocean in its crate it’s a good time to write the closing blog on that part of the adventure.

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