Full moon rise over Port Phillip, Melbourne 

art, Australia, photography, Poetry, Victoria

Its a spring night

Cold

Crisp

Still

The full moon a bright orb in the sky

Shedding silver light over the still waters of the bay

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London was calling

Adventure, art, Europe, history, photography, Sailing, travel

On the train from the midlands to London. I listened to The Clash, London Calling.

Its both a distopian and resilient view of London. It seemed fitting as a bombing in the tube had set a sombre tone.

But London is London no matter.

Despite the confrontation London open day was in full swing as was Thames week.

And it gave a little sometime for mariner like me.

These 10 Thames barges had sailed up the river.

And were using their motors against the ebb tide to hold formation still in the water. Such seamanship.

And really there is something special about the English is their way with the sea and boats.

Be it Drake’s Golden Hind

Replica Golden Hind

Or the uniquely English narrow boats that carried goods and produce from the midlands to London prior to rail

Narrow boat exits a Loch on the 

Along the Grand Union Canal.

And now provide floating pleasure.

So I did go to London!

Angel(s) of the North

art, England, Motorbikes, photography, travel, United Kingdom

Overlooking Newcastle upon Tyne the is the Angel of the North

An imposing piece of public art that hovers on a hill above the Tyne and Newcastle.

Tyne Bridge

There were also some angels of the north at Mo Tech the Moto Guzzi dealer in Newcastle.

The provided me a bit of space out the weather to make a running repair.

A little workshop space out of the weather

Rocker cover gasket replacement

Angels come in different forms

Glasgow and people 

art, history, photography, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

A hundred and fifty years ago Glasgow was the second city of the empire

A centre of heavy industry such as shipbuilding and textile manufacture

A centre of design, typified by the Glasgow architecture.

But a century or so later Glasgow was struggling to survive as a city.

Unemployment, poverty and significant population decline challenging the future of the once great city

While in the UK, in Australia, there is tension and a struggle about accepting migrants and refugees.

For Glasgow, have stabilised it’s population.

The cities motto “People make Glasgow” a reflection of the more diverse international city it has become.

People make Glasgow proudly on the new skyline.

Maybe we should all be thinking about people, humanity.

Back in the UK after 17 years

art, England, history, Motorbikes, photography, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

It’s been 17 years since I visited the UK

December 1999

A cold wet winter of long nights and freezing days.

This trip its summer and the days are long, damp and cool. Not all the different from the Australian winter I left behind.

With help from local guzzista I have the mighty breva II ready for this adventure.

Mighty breva II in front of an old porcelain kiln, Stoke on Trent 

This adventure starts in Stoke on Trent, once the porcelain capital of the world. Here I collected the Moto Guzzi, I’ve bought in the UK.

Thanks to Kate and Guy of the GB Moto Guzzi club my dream of riding again in Europe is happening.

I rode up the motorway to Glasgow through the damp air and rolling green fields.

To be greeted by the march of the orange men and woman.

The loyalists.

Flying the flags trooping the colours and beating the drum

Orange men parade

I reflected that this is what confronts and challenges the UK.

Great glories of the past celebrating victories a century or more old. Masking an underlying anger and frustration that divides the country. Orange VS Green, North VS South, the pro brexit VS the anti brexit. It’s a challenging time.

And as I ponder this there is the beautiful architecture of Glasgow.

The great Victorian design from designers like Rennie Macintosh.

And the music

Street music

In the streets and pubs.

Cold and damp Glasgow has struggled through some tough times.

But as the city’s new motto says

People make Glasgow

Melbourne can be a little different

art, Australia, history, Poetry, travel, Uncategorized, Victoria

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.

 

Impressions of Spain 3 – Alhambra

Adventure, art, Europe, history, photography, Spain, travel
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Alhambra

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

is The Red

Alhambra

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.

Impressions of Spain 1 – the Spanish

Adventure, art, history, photography, Spain, travel

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs it shows on the Hispanic Day parade from Plaza de Mayor of the Hispanic groups.

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

 

Impressions of the Netherlands and the Dutch 

Adventure, art, history, Motorbikes, Netherlands, photography, travel

Having spent, off and on, a couple of weeks in the Netherlands and travelling a couple of thousand kilometres across Europe with a bunch of of Dutch Moto Guzzi riders has left me with some powerful impressions of this place and the people.

The core of the Dutch people are caught up in their history.

Having succeeded from the rule of Spain the Dutch have faced constant threat of invasion.

The Threatened Swan by Jan Asseljin

In the Rijksmuseum, The Threatened Swan, captures this aspect the Netherlands constantly threatened by the dogs of war.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Incorporated into France under Napoleon

Brutal occupation by Germany in WWII despite declaring neutrality.

There is the constant fight to maintain control of there country.

In the Rijksmuseum there is a further insight

Up past The Night Watch

On the third floor there plays a documentary video about the Dutch and the constant battle to control water.

Reclaimed land from the sea and mighty rivers

fighting flood and inundation

Maas River at Nijmegen

Water in the huge rivers flowing through the country to the sea.

Basillica Saint Nicholas on the Amstel Dam

Water in the canals and behind the dams and dykes of Amsterdam.

Tilting aparment buildings sured up against subsidence as the water tries to reclaim the land it once covered.

It’s this fight for control from outside forces that give the Dutch a core strength, an inner stoicism.

But the Dutch are more than stoic.

Ride from Nijmegen in the Netherlands to Mandello De Lario in northern Italy

Riding with an eclectic  group of Dutchies over 8 days revealed a certain joi de vivre that sat well aside the stoic determination.

An eclectic group; women on classic bikes, old veterans of the tour, white haired old men on new bikes, riders from all walks of life. All pushing hard on the tortuously twisty routes through southern Germany, Austria, the Swiss and Italian Alps to Mandello.

Beer list not wine list in Amsterdam

Every night laughter good food and of course beer.

The Dutch love to laugh, and drink the beers they are so proud of without losing control.

After all beer is mostly water!

A touch of surreal 

Adventure, art, photography, Spain

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.

Dali museum exterior

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.

Mae West bedroom

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