Though my wings have been clipped birds of a feather flock together

Adventure, Australia, photography, travel, Victoria

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It was 2015 that I spent a full winter in Melbourne,

Australia’s southernmost mainland capital

Renowned for its cold and changable winter weather

Cold and foggy mornings lasting till noon when the weak winter sun burns the mist away.

Four seasons in one day

Was surely written about Melbourne’s weather by Crowded House

The current lockdown restricts me to my environs and luckily the local waterways

The bicycle has most of the time replaced the Moto Guzzi

So on my ride I flock together with the local waterbirds

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The Spoonbill

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The Egret

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And the hungry Pelican

They aren’t locked down but choose to enjoy what winter offers

Across town there is the beautiful Yarra Bend Park

With its early 1900’s boat house

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On the banks of the Yarra River with paths to meander along

And the Cootamundara, a beautiful winter flowering tree in full bloom

The park is on the city doorstep with beautiful views of the city

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Which makes a beautiful backdrop for my Aprilia Pegaso – my fave bike around the city

At the end of a day heading across the town and home

The St Kilda Pier runs west into the Hobsons Bay and offers spectacular views of the sunset

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Though the lock down is is hard the rules allow the opportunity to get out to exercise

That means I can revisit and appreciate some of my favourite places in my home city.

Hopefully one day soon fellow travellers you can as well.

Not Travelling in the time of Coronavirus- Melbourne lock down clips my wings

art, Australia, Personal, photography, travel, Victoria

The second Melbourne, Australia lock down has just been implemented

After being in and out of lock downs in Spain and England and quarantine in a Melbourne Hotel, this second lockdown in Melbourne has finally anchored me.

 

Famous landmarks of the usually bustling city cast with an almost ghostly quietness

Even the usually bustling Victoria Market with its colourful displays of produce, like the life has been sucked out of its ancient stalls and sheds

 

No queuing four deep at my favourite stall

Chance meeting with someone I hadn’t seen for a while

Little is left to chance in the time of coronavirus

At the eastern end of the city

The Monuments, the Shrine of Remembrance  and the Old Observatory along with Gardens and the floral clock stand alone

 

In the lanes and alleyways of the inner city

Usually vibrant

The graffiti almost mocks the quiet desolation

 

The next 6 weeks (the length of this lockdown) will be a time and thought of what has been and what will be.

Something different to share over the coming weeks.

The Mighty Breva meets the Mighty Murray in North East Victoria

Adventure, Australia, Motorbikes, photography, travel, Victoria

 

I had approached the Upper Murray from the long way around

Starting from Yarram in South Gippsland

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A small town famous for its street murals.

Its winter and the high roads over Mt Hotham and Falls Creek are closed so it was the low road

Bruthen to eskdale

A pearler of a ride from Bruthen north to the little Village of Eskdale 223 km of curves and into the Upper Murray Region.

Has to be the greatest unrecognised rides in the world.

It was damp cold and at a pass through the Alpine National Park it was 1c and my mind turned to thoughts of black ice on the road.

A cabin waited for me at the Eskdale Caravan Park

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Welcome refuge after a long wet ride

A good night sleep and onto my next destination

The Great River Road that at the bridge that connects Victoria and NSW at Hume Weir and follows the winding course of the Murray upstream to Khancoban at the base of the Kosciusko National Park.

The Road is around 180km of scenic windy road along the Murray River.

The views of the Murray are special especially if you take a bit of time and pull on into some of the river side reserves and camp grounds.

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The weather was cold but clear and not too bad for riding if you have the right gear.

But the joy of winter camping is campfires

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As the Great River Road is developed as a tourist road the is are well layed out scenic  stops with interpretation on the river and pieces of sculpture

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The camp facilities along the road are great quality. Especially at the Walwa where you can camp with great facilities and a campfire right on the banks of the river.

The road finishes at Lake Khancoban in NSW

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The scars of the recent bushfires are there, both on the landscape and in the stories of the locals

But the land and the people are resilient and signs of renewal abound

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And of course there is something  very special about a winter sunset inland

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Maldon in the Central Goldfields of Victoria, Australia

Adventure, Australia, history, Motorbikes, photography, travel, Travel,adventure,Australia,Victoria,history,motorcycles,motorcycle touring,photography,words and pictures,, Victoria

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In many ways Maldon is the little town that stood still

Built in the 1860’s during the height of the Victorian Gold Rush

It remains largely unchanged

 

There is a lovely 2 hour ride to Maldon through the Central Highlands of Victoria

Past the farming and old logging towns of Greendale and Trentham

To the Spa centres of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

The Hepburn – Newstead road is a little ripper

From Newstead perched on the Loddon River its a gentle curves and sweepers through scrubby bush to Maldon

And its Gold mining history of diggings and old gold processing building ruins

 

And like all good old country towns there is the little quirk

The little Triumph motorcycle shop.

Looking as old as the town and the Triumph Motorcycle itself

Not surprising as Maldon host the a major highlight of the annual All British Motorcycle rally

The ride from the Newstead Racecourse camp ground to Maldon

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One of my most memorable visits to Maldon was to see a round of the 2013 World Motorcycle Trials World Championships

Held on a specially designed course on the side of Mount Tarrengower

Which provides a beautiful view over Maldon

What a beautiful ride on a crisp winters day!

Apollo Bay to Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road

Adventure, Australia, Ireland, Motorbikes, photography, travel, Victoria
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Apollo Bay Fishing Harbour

To get to Apollo Bay there is the route along the eastern part of the Great Ocean Road or

The Road over the Otway Ranges from Forest

After travelling via Anglesea and Lorne last week this time it was over the Otways.

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Tucked between the Otway Ranges and the sea Apollo Bay remains one of my favourite places to visit and to stay.

From Apollo Bay heading west along the Great Ocean Road in the midst of the Otway National Park is the turn off to Cape Otway and its impressive light house proud upon the steep cliffs of the Cape.

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A beacon for shipping on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast

Past Cape Otway the landscape and the road changes.

East of Cape Otway the road is narrower often clinging to the cliff face and the corners tighter, with patches of dense rainforest.

The sandy surf beaches nestled between rocky headlands like Lorne, Wye River and Apollo Bay

West of the Cape the road evens out more sweeping curves than tight corners, the land an open plateau across the top or the windblown cliffs with offshore the rocky monuments carved by the prevailing wind and sea.

From Port Campbell the view back along the sandstone cliffs toward Cape Otway in the late afternoon light is a sight one never tires of.

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The Great Ocean Road continues onto Warrnambool from Port Campbell, but my route took me north through the coastal hills and farming land to historic Camperdown

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And its famous clock tower.

Then road back to Melbourne.

It is so wonderful to be able to do this ride again free of traffic like it used to be 40 years ago, when sections of the road through the forest was still gravel and tourist coaches had not been invented.

The lockdown provisions in Victoria still preclude staying away overnight.  All the hotels and camping grounds are still closed.  It was nearly a 10 hour trip by the time I got home in the cold and the dark but what a ride and how good to be free!

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

Adventure, Motorbikes, photography, Spain, travel

I arrived in Jerez de la Frontera the day the Moroccan Govt closed the border with Spain

That was the end of the Morocco trip

I had booked into the alburgue in Jerez. I extended my booking a couple of days so I could think of the next move

In Jerez some sherry tasting a must

No tasting for this adventurer

I guess it was a sign of what was to come.

So I had to console myself with some garlic prawns and red wine

The was hardly any activity in the Square. Some locals and a few tourists, from the USA and UK by the accent

The cafe owners strangely subdued. Maybe they new something was about to happen

Maybe the lost income from the covid19 pandemic was weighing heavily on them

That Saturday night the lockdown was proclaimed for 15 days

Everything to shut except food stores, pharmacies and petrol station.

Stay indoors

The streets of Jerez totally deserted on Sunday mid day

Initally I had thought Id sit out the lockdown in Jerez.

Sunday all seemed OK. A long term rate could be negotiated. Fix it up Monday morning

It was warm in Jerez, the alburgue was modern big grounds to exercise in and a pool. Perfect place to sit out the lockdown

Monday morning all had changed. Tuesday I had to be out.

Thinks change quickly during a pandemic!

Sunday France had declared a lockdown so travelling back through France was off the cards

Frantic work on the phone.

Booked a ferry spot from Santander to Portsmouth the next Saturday.

All the hotels were shut. Where to stay.

Thank you to the good hearted souls who have given me shelter via airbnb

It was a cold ride from Jerez to Valladolid where Im currently staying locked down

It had snowed the night before on the skifields south of Salamanca. But the sun was out

I pulled into a parking bay. Pulled out my little burner and made a coffee and had a snack of cheese, olives and manderine

And though Spain is beautiful even in the time of a lockdown

At 10pm at night in Jerez, in Valladolid and across Spain. People clap and cheer in appreciation of the health workers.

Cause they are on the front line of the pandemic

The Spanish are beautiful people

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus

Adventure, art, England, history, London, Motorbikes, Personal, photography, Poetry, travel
Lone tourist with mask on Lambath Bridge

London was surprisingly quiet as I wended my way to the Tate

Few tourists about

A lone fellow with a face mask taking pics of Parliament House

Even Borough Market had lost its hustle and bustle

It was an easy saunter past Lambath Palace

Past the war museum

Past typical London Street Art

And the Houses of Parliament to the Tate

And an Aubrey Beardsley exhibition

But that was a couple of days ago

And as the WHO declares a Coronavirus pandemic

I’m on the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilboa

Australia’s Summer of Discontent

Adventure, Australia, history, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, travel

When I arrived back home in Australia in October 2019 the bushfires had already started.

The amazing temperate rainforests of Northern NSW and Qld were already on fire

Rainforests don’t burn we thought but things have change

Beautiful ancient forests dating back to Gondwanaland were on fire

It was heart braking

The long summer of bushfires cast a pall over the country

Dead wildlife, rare forests burning, towns and cities choking on the the thick smoke

My long Bike trip in Europe had left me sore, depleted and nursing some nasty Shoulder Tendinitis

So my mood was low and the acrid smoke that clung to the skies of Eastern Australia only darkened my feelings

Dark like the smokey sky and the burning bush

Dark and disturbing

On a ride to Omeo in Victoria just after Christmas , I was spooked by closeness of the fires the smoke so thick

The town cut off from electricity

An eerie smokey foreboding of the horror fires that were to be unleashed on New Years eve in the east Gippsland forests.

Spooked a bit by the smoke ad proximity of the fires I left

Leaving I had a fall off the bike on some leaf litter while pulling off the road

Dislocated thumb ouch, nothing todo but pull it back in and ride the 400+ km home.

So the New Year was seen in with a cast on my hand and Australia Burning

Indeed a summer of discontent

This summer say the sale of Futura

I did the last slip, scrub and paint

And as I write, she with her new owner is approaching her new home in Whyalla South Australia

As the final blow there is now Coronavirus

Emerging and spreading

Quiet leaving Melbourne Airport

Planes only half full

A friend has told me that I’m stubborn and wont change my plans for anyone or anything

Maybe right

As here I sit in London

I’ve collected the Mighty Breva

And on Wednesday I head to Portsmouth to start the journey south to Morocco on the ferry to Bilboa

The summer of discontent, though, is a weight on my enthusiasm

And as I have been reminded though I’m 35 between the ears im actually in a 62 year old body.

But in the world of the traveller a summer of discontent doesn’t lead to winter.

Its spring here

The daffodils are in bloom in Perivale Park

And life’s adventure must go on

Nimes to the Dordogne and beautiful gorge country.

Adventure, Europe, France, photography

The Pont du Gard sits near the southern end of a series of beautiful gorges that run over 400km north into the DordogneThrough the Causses et Cevennes and the pretty village of FloracRoads winding through the beautiful Gorge de la Vis and the Cirque de Navecelles.To Millau and the Viaduc de Millau, the tallest bridge in the world, that spans the Tarn Gorge with its steep precipitous cliffs.From Millau the roads continue through windy paths till reaching Cadouin in the Dordogne with its beautiful 12th century Abbey where a room can be found

And chamber music in the Abbey Church.

A taste of the Savoia, Annecy and Aix les Bains.

Adventure, Europe, France, photography, travel

The old town in Annecy built around little canals that flow into the lake is a treat

The lakes are the feature of both Annecy and Aix les Bains.

In Aix-les-Bains the steep cliffs around Lac du Bourget provide a riding and viewing pleasure

Especially when you find a little Cafe perched on the cliff edge

To enjoy a beautiful Savoia pinot noir and chucaterie selection.

I was lucky enough to be able to join in solidarity with French Climate Activists and march is support of the world’s beautiful natural places. The planet is worth making a stand for!