Seasons Greetings to all

Adventure, history, Poetry, Uncategorized

There are times to focus on peace and happiness

Jesus my have been the son of God or just a good bloke

It all depends on your perspective.

But he did try and spread a message of peace.

We often focus on the differences in humanity

Differences in religion and beliefs

Differences in race and skin colour

Differences in culture.

In nature there are also difference

As the solstice passes

At one end of the world there is endless night

At the other endless day

As it was nudging a sweltering 38 degrees in Melbourne recently.

My friends reported – 5 and snowing in Stoke on Trent.

So this is an opportunity to forget the differences.

Forget the distances between us.

And though at one end of the world it is dark and the other end light.

Accept

It is one world.

And though there are many religions and races and cultures

There is one humanity.

I wish you all peace and happiness.

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The Dordogne – Last Stop in Europe 2017

Adventure, Europe, France, history, Motorbikes, photography, travel

The Dordogne Riders had lured me to the Vezere Valley

St Leon sur Vezere a beautiful Village in the Dordogne Region of Southern France

 

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St Leon sur Vezere

Camped on the edge of the river

 

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St Leon sur Vezere Municipal Camp site

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Amongst significant historic and prehistoric sites

The Grote de Rouffignac

Maison Forte de Reignac

 

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Maison Forte de Reignac

and Chateau de Losse

 

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The Chateau

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The Mighty Breva 11

But southern France is also about the beautiful villages

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The continuation of the wonderful biker culture that exists in Europe. *

With the Dordogne bikers and friends

And of course in France food

A delicious lunch

And

* I was amazed that after 3 months covering 16,000km in 9 countries I was not pulled over once by the police. Three weeks back in Australia I was pulled over for a licence check while not breaking any law. It was motorcycle awareness (HARASSMENT) month.

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!

Last stop in Switzerland for this trip

Adventure, Europe, history, Motorbikes, photography, Switzerland, travel

From Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald you can see the Aletsch Glacier. Running over the mountains.

View of Aletsch Glacier from Lauterbrunnen

And Grindelwald

But, in time, it may be lost a sad loss both in beauty and the impact on the Alps.

North of Interlaken the valley runs north to the Jungfrau region and the Glacier.

Past lakes

And beautiful waterfalls

In Grindelwald

In Lauterbrunnen

But in time as the Glacier melts the villages, the lakes, the waterfalls will in turn be reshaped.

Castles in the sky not just high Alps – Switzerland part 3

Adventure, Europe, history, Motorbikes, photography, Switzerland, travel, Uncategorized

If you follow some narrow winding roads through fields of maize, past sheep and cattle quietly grazing, near the Aara River,  you find the village of Habsburg and Schloss Habsburg.

Castle Habsburg

The starting place in 1025 for a family that would dominate Europe and its colonies for almost a millennium- the Habsburg Family.

The Schloss Habsburg is one of the many castles that dot the Swiss countryside.

Schloss Lenzburg in sight of Habsburg tower is an impressive example.

Castle Lenzburg

Perched on hilltops

Castle Wildegg

And on lake sides

Castle Thun

The villages and old towns have their own special charms.

Decorated building eves and old town entrance in Aarau

Monument in old Lenzburg

Looking across the Rhine to old Laufenburg in Switzerland from Germany

My time in Switzerland, this trip, is drawing to a close but I have enjoyed amazing Alpine riding, exploring aspects of a rich history and found a welcoming motorcycle culture.

Thursday nights at Trimbach bei Olten

All types of bikes some very exotic

Adendum

Bridge to old centre of Olten

The old sections of Aarau and Olten were built in a circle formation.

The back walls of the rows of buildings forming a barricade with gated entrances.

Old main gate in Aarau

Curved walls in Olten

The Bergennen at Seebodenalp

Adventure, Europe, history, Motorbikes, photography, Switzerland, travel

Program for the historic meet

The Bergennen or hill climb race at Seebodenalp is a 500 metre climb over a 5 km track.

The top of the track providing views over Kussnacht am Rigi.

It was an event for historic bikes and some cars

Endurance racing Laverda

Studibaker hill climber from yesteryear

The pits were perched atop the track

With some lovingly restored bikes.

And sidecars

A different day at the races!

Great adventurers and a taste of Norway 

Adventure, Europe, history, Motorbikes, Norway, photography, travel

Borders I’ve never seen one but I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.

This quote from Thor Hyerdadahls captures a vision of adventure and cultural interaction.

The Kon Tiki

To see see the Kon Tiki to know the strength of that quest bought tears to my eyes.

Fram, Kon Tiki and Rah form part of the maritime history at Bigdoy in Oslo.

Thor Hyerdadahl and polar Explorer Rould Amundsen were adventures after the highest order.

The Norwegian team led by Amundsen that were first to the South Pole

The ship Fram a wooden ship designed by the great Colin Archer that still holds the record the furthest north and south of any ship.

Fram

These are names that have fed my love of maritime adventure.

For as it is said about the Norwegian sailor.

If there is a boat that floats he will be the first one there.

The Norwegian prowess at sea has existed for centuries. The Vikings emblamatic of their skill and exploration.

As these Viking burial ships show.

Viking burial ships

A day at the Norwegian maritime museums is a wonderful insight into a rich maritime history.

My taste of Norway took me north past Trondheim and its fjord.

And to the very steep fjords on the west coast

And its glacier covered mountains

But a summer full of rain in the high northern latitudes was too much for this bloke from the driest continent on the planet.

So it was a taste of Norway till maybe another time.

Inverness and North Scotland 

Adventure, history, Motorbikes, photography, Scotland, travel, Uncategorized, United Kingdom

Inverness ancient trading city of the north

Vikings

Pictish

Roman

Scots

Romans

All have influenced this city

Inverness castle

Inverness castle looms over the city

Destroyed and rebuilt a number of times

The Hanoverian garrison during the bloody Battle of Culloden that ended the Scottish uprising.

But I thing I was touched the by the Celtic Ray

At Hootananny where the beer and good craic flower

Inverness is the gateway to the very north of Scotland

The start and finish of the touring route the North Coast 500

It takes you the top of the British mainland

John O’Groats

Dunnet Head the northern most point of mainland Britain

And the beautiful villages and dramatic coastline and history of North Scotland

Smoo Cave

Flying fox across the fjord

Inverness’ Calladonian Canal opened a trading route into the northern highlands

Locks at the start of the Calladonian Canal stepping up to Loch Ness

So my rediscovery of the Celtic Ray stated in the old streets of Inverness.

Back on the Celtic Ray

Adventure, history, photography, Poetry, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

Back in Glasgow

The light

The buildings have a new feel

Sight

Texture

I’ve been touched by the Celtic Ray (the Awen)

Harris Tweed Cap made on the Shetland Islands

‘Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales
I can hear the mothers’ voices calling
“Children, children, children”

Listen Jimmy! I want to go home.
Listen Jimmy! I want to go home.
I’ve been away from the Ray too long
I’ve been away from the Ray too long’ – words by Van Morrison

My heritage is Irish, my great grand parents migrating to Kalgoorlie in the 1890s

Part of the Irish diaspora.

But spending time in the north of Scotland has put me on the Celtic Ray

John O’Groats

Fishing harbour John O’Groats

Touched by the Celtic Ray

Glasgow has a new light.

I found the Glasgow Enlightenment

And the fact the the world’s first Afro-American doctor was trained in Glasgow by slavery abolitionists. He was James Mcune-Smith.

I have been away from the Ray too long

Skye

Adventure, history, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing

Onward the sailors cry

Carry the lad that was born to be king

O’er the see to Skye.

So goes the first verse of the Skye boat song and Skye is inextricably linked to the Bonnie Prince Charlie legend.

Skye is an island of deep fojds and sounds, rugged mountains and quaint villages.

Faery pools

When leaving Stirling I met a Spanish couple on a BMW. Who had said the beauty of Skye bought a tear to their eye.

View of Portree

And it is hard to disagree.

The vistas on each turn of the road surpassing the previous.

And the Scottish weather continued to smile.