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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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

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.

Into the Pyrenees – 3- a touch of local culture

Adventure, Europe, France, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, travel

Following the race route

Up and down

Round and round

Towns and villages

Snakes the Tour d’ France course

Through little villages where the French traditional food culture thrives

In the village of Arreau Christmas tree cake

Rich almond batter

Still baked in the traditional way

Over the open fire

Pretty little villages

Full of life and joie de vivre

Into the Pyrenees – 2 – Hautes Pyrenees

Adventure, Europe, France, Motorbikes, photography, travel

Pic du Midi

Climb the Col du Tourmalet

In the high Pyrenees

A hard climb for the mighty breva

Let alone a Tour d’ France rider

And above it all the Pic du Midi.

Obsevatory in the sky.

Up where the eagles fly

An observatory,

A birds eye view from the sky

Impressions of the north west of Spain – part 2,the mountains

Adventure, Europe, Motorbikes, photography, Spain, travel

Looking to the Picos de Europa from Potes

The Picos epitomise the mountains of North West Spain.

High

Views of the Picos de Europa

And for the bike rider. The toads to get there.

And camping camping in the lush green of North West Spain

Next stop

England, Europe, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, Spain

Bilbao

Spain

Passionate Spain

Gateway to Galicia

Another Celtic nation

The night ferry said goodbye to England

Departing Portsmouth

Along the coast of France

Across the Bay of Biscay

The often wild sea a mill pond on this crossing.

Its night

The morning brings Spain

Ready to catch the ferry to Bilbao with fellow bikers