Reflecting on Ireland and the Irish

Adventure, Europe, history, Ireland, Motorbikes, photography

May the road rise up to meet you

May the wind blow always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

And the rains fall soft upon your fields

Until we meet again

So goes the old Irish Blessing.

Glendalough

Ireland, the soft green place of damp air, great learning, amazing friendliness and intense struggle

Monument to Irish immigrants

The Irish diaspora spread all around the world

The contrasts of Ireland so stark

From the halls of Trinity College

To the murals that are are a record of the troubles found in Derry

And of course the contrast is an actual divide

The north and the south, the Republic and the British

Can this divide be overcome?

People of good will can achieve anything

Peace statue Derry

And on the border of Derry and Donegal bikers from both of the border come together to raise funds for a lifeboat in a little village in the Republic

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Riding the Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland

Adventure, Europe, history, Ireland, Motorbikes, photography, travel

Mizen Head is the most southern most point of mainland Ireland

As good as place as any to start the Wild Atlantic Way

They even give you a starting line

The route winds up the west coast

Through foggy Irish mist

Bantry Bay

Mizen Head

Over mountains with wonderous views

Mountains where Irish legends such as Finn Mc Cool sat.

A coast where there are fishing villages both small

And big

With cliffs towering out of the sea

Relics of stone age and Celtic history dating back 5000 years

Quintessential Irish pubs

Sandy beaches

And then at the end

After 6 days of challenging riding

At Malin Head the most northern point of mainland Ireland

They provide a finish line

Brittany – Last stops on the continent for 2018

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

Jutting out into the Atlantic

Brittany has much in common with the Celtic cousins in Cornwall and Ireland

The quaint seaside ports also along the coastline

Reflecting the Brittany’s place as Frances finisterre (lands end)

Brest it’s major city

With its ancient citadel apon the hill

A long maritime history

And beautiful beaches

Divine intervention

Adventure, Europe, France, Motorbikes, Personal, travel

By Brest in Brittany I realised nearly 10,000 km of mainly mountain riding had taken its toll on the front tyre

The left hand side had totally worn out.

But it was holiday time in France.

The Moto Guzzi dealer was shut for holidays.

The big parts store had a tyre but the mechanic was on holidays.

I was searching my phone to find another store

Then divine intervention

This young lady comes out of the store and says “follow me”

Who was I to argue as she climbed onto he Kwaka 1000.

She let me around the back streets of Brest to the Kawasaki dealer

The only shop that was open over the holiday period.

It was kisses all around. A bit of quick French I didn’t understand

Then I was told to take the bike into the workshop and choose the tyre I wanted.

Had to have the pirelli angel to match the divine intervention

S! *t happens

Adventure, Europe, France, Motorbikes, travel

The weapon

Piece of fence chain

Nicely sharpened by being dragged behind a wedding car

Then fallen off on the road to await its victim

The victim

The mighty breva II

The sharpened chain slashed the tyre and flew up breaking the rear lens and numberplate cover

The plug that couldn’t last the distance

Need for rescue

Wow now wasn’t that wise to buy European recovery insurance.

The heroes

Pete and Vikki, fellow guzzista who run a BnB in France

Pete also runs Reboot Guzzi Spares

So wonderful Carole Nash agreed to put me in a hotel for the night and transport myself and the mighty breva the 200 odd km to Pete and Vikki’s Fortified Farm.

Which was my intended destination.

Pete had a near new tyre off a breva in his shed and a lens in stock.

So the next day the might breva was ready to roll. But I was not ready to leave Vikki’s fabulous food and the fantastic company quite yet.

Pete and Vikki’s BnB

One of the reasons you own a Guzzi was encapsulated in Pete’s words when I thanked him for all his help.

“well we are all part of the Guzzi family.”

As it turned out another guzzista from Melbourne arrived that night. 15,000 from home in the middle of France I was drinking red wine with a bloke that lives just the other end of Melbourne from me.

Its a small but special guzzi world.

Ahhh Switzerland

Adventure, Europe, Motorbikes, photography, Switzerland, travel

What is it about Switzerland that takes my breath away

The amazing vistas across the lakes

Amazing mountain passes like the old San Gotthard pass with its cobblestone surface

And party atmosphere at the top

Or village of Gletch where the Furka, Grimsel and Nufenen passes all converge

Maybe it’s the white Glacier topped mountains

Or is is the amazing biker culture that see riders of all types out enjoying the Alps

The goulash soup at the resturaunt at the top of Nufenen pass comes close

But maybe it’s the subtle heartfelt welcome that is so Swiss that makes one say ahhh

The heat and glory of Lago Maggoria

Adventure, Europe, Italy, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry

The beautiful big expanse of water

Baked hot in the mid July sun

It spans the border I to Switzerland

But it’s so Italian

The colour

The richness

The food

The unexpected

James Bonds amphibious car

The exuberance of the Italian language

Talking with the hands

The language almost a song.

On a hot day in July on Lago Maggoria

Paradise Found

Europe, Italy, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, travel

Paradise found

In Italy

Worth a kings ransome

The Kings hunting ground

Gifted to the people in 1922

Italy’s oldest national park

Nestled at the end of the Conge Valley

Paradise found

Gran Paridiso

In Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost he regrets the loss of innocence and in some ways the loss of beauty to sin and greed.

Gran Paridiso is the opposite to that natural beauty returned to the people.

On to Carcassonne

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

A hot run across the Spanish border

Roads lined this plane trees in the Midi Pyrenees

And on to Carcassonne

Medieval citadel

Relic of the Cathar Dream

Survivor of the Cathar Wars.

Bastion of the past

Standing on the hill

Survivor of centuries

Weathered wall the keepers of secrets through the ages

The ancient citadel on the hill

Carcasonne

The citadel dressed up for the Tour d’ France

It well hold its secrets to the sun sets over it for the last time.