A woman in red
Lives at the Hotel De La Poste
By the Semios River
She is fit
walking down to the river
To feed the ducks petite dejeuner
But buy afternoon see is dreaming
Of canard confit au pommes de terre forestiere
The mountains of Catalonia are home to beautiful villages dating back to medieval times.
Villages built across Clifford tops
Still with ancient paths and trails through the forest
Villages that have stood millennia
Holding in their stony edifaces the history of Catalonia
The tale goes that James the 1st carried a golden shield when invading Catalonia
He was killed in battle
As he died his fingers dragged down shield leaving four bloodied stripes
The Catalonia flag four red stripes on a gold background.
Thanks Judith and Juan for being wonderful hosts and Juan for sharing the tale of the Catalan flag.
The roads here are made for riding
Coastal roads along the Cote Vermeille and the Costa Breva
Tight turns windswept by the katabatic winds rushing down from the mountains testing the riders skill
It’s about twisty mountain roads in the Pirineos Orientals on the rooftop of Spanish Catalonia
In about the winding deep gorges Pyrenees Catalanes
Tight rocky gorges
Roads for riding
This whole trip is a touch surreal
48 Moto Guzzi motorcycles shipped in containers from Melbourne
Then to Mandello De Lario to celebrate the marques 95th birthday before fanning out over Europe.
So the Salvador Dali museum in Figueres added a further element to surreal adventure.
The breadth and scale of the masters work is astonishing
With a truly surreal understanding of perspective
The installation enormous in scale, imagination and perspective.
The Mae West Bedroom installation for example. Each piece a artistic form
Then when viewed through a lens it is transformed into a new singular piece.
The installation in the central.gallery breathtaking in both scale and detail.
His work at the museum includes work in many media drawings painting in classical and surrealist styles, the installations, sculpture, still and moving picture.
Then the jewelry
Audacious and exquisite
And as surreal an anything else I was in Catalunya
Tucked down in the south west corner of France
A working port
A living fishing village
A city of grand canals
A city of art
A link.to Africa with car ferries to Morocco
And of course the stepping of from Europe in the Paris to Dakar motorcycle race.
Then the taste of Sete
Sweet muscat wine
Calamari stuffed with minced pork served on a bed of white beans
Fresh mussels, oysters and sea bass
I’m sitting at balcony of my room in Sete looking down over the town
But before I write on Sete it’s time reflect on the 1100km run south from Nijmegen to Sete.
The side trip through the Swiss Alps into Italy is covered earlier.
A dominant feature in the Rhine
The river of castles
Running south beside it crossing it through Germany
Staying of the main roads
Lots of small villages
Travelling further south at the top of the Black Forest the German high country spread out to see
The there was the taste of Germany epitomised by thick slabs of smoked pork, strong vinegary salad and scalloped potatoes at the Hausbraurei Feierling in Freiburg.
Washed down by the brewery’s beautiful beer
Across the Rhine
Across the border to southern France
The taste and river different
At Nueville Sur Ain
The river was the Ain
The village French in style
Still castles on the hills
But the taste was different veal in the thick tomatoe sauce with green beans
Washed down by Cotes Du Rhone at the Le Faisan Dore
The Rhone alps as a companion
Till reaching the Mediterranean at Sete
A key element of this journey was to visit Mandello Del Lario on Lake Como for the 95th birthday of Moto Guzzi.
An estimated 25,000 guzzista visited for the birthday celebrations
But discovering, seeing Lake Como nestled in the high mountains was the icing on the cake.
Or was the trip to Bergamo the icing????
So first to the Moto Guzzi the marque with the factory above the village of Mandello over looking Lake Como.
History on display
Custom bikes to the individual taste
In the mountains around the lake there are many villages and towns.
Bergamo is one
The old part of the town, the Citta Alta providing views of the villas on the hills from the terraced restaurants and cafes.
It was hot on Lake Como
My bike is a Moto Guzzi Breva
Breva is the name of the light breeze that blows over Lake Como
At the end of a hot day the Breva provided welcome cool relief
And a ghosting breeze for the sailors.
Touch the sky
Cold icy peaks
Witnesses to time immemorial
Sliced by roads
Clear sky’s on in late September
But in the mountains
Weather is changeable
Keep an ear out for thunder
Hear the thunder bikes
Rolling back through the Alps from Mandello.
In the just over a week I have ridden through six countries in Europe
Wonderful friendly people
I’m reflecting on a this
And thinking of the past
The tragedy and waste of war so poignantly captured at the memorials at Villers Bretenneux
And the at the main train station at Nijmegen there was this sign
And I think
Let’s all just keep kissing
Let’s keep riding
And keep war and death in the past