LOCKDOWN Melbourne, Australia -finding the place within.

Australia, photography, Poetry, travel, Victoria
Jawbone marine reserve, Williamstown

In many ways a severe COVID-19 lockdown is about finding oneself

In ones own environ

Reconnecting and finding peace within

I grew up 5 or 6 km from where I live now

We were A Bunch of Ratbags

Back in the rough industrial suburb of Footscray 

And as a kid I ride my bicycle to the City of Williamstown

To look across at the City of Melbourne and dream.

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Walk along the old piers looking at the boats and dreaming of adventures in distant lands

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Now this area is my home and Im back from adventures in distant lands

And am again cycling by the waterside, sometimes dreaming and often appreciating the beauty of the place

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The mighty ships coming up the Yarra River to port the ever present reminder of modern industry

So different  to the time when the ball on the Time Ball Tower was raised and lowered so the waiting ships could set their chronometers.

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Riding along the trail over the weeks of the restrictions I see and experience the moods of the slowly changing hours, weeks and months

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Lost in the winter fogs

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Feeling stranded like the boat at low tide

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Rejoicing in the joy of a clear winters day the bear cloudless sky reflected in the still waters of the creek estuaries

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Clear but cold with the beach all but empty apart from some hardy souls walking on the sand or buying a hot coffee.

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Sometimes having to ride home hard in the cold chill of a waning day

The trail I ride is about 15km its like a meditation as my legs move to the rhythm of the trail.

The same trail but everyday different.

Lost in the place and its beauty.

Travel Vaccines and reflections of Africa – The Simien and Bale Mountains, Ethiopia

Adventure, Africa, Personal, photography

 

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If you have travelled to Africa it is most likely you would have been required to have a yellow fever vaccination – still required in many countries

I got my Yellow Card, proof of vaccination 20 years ago on my first trip to the African Continent.

Being in the Melbourne, Australia COVID 19 lockdown it is a good chance to reflect on the need for vaccination and travel and the relationship between the two.

The Simien Mountains

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The Simien Mountains are a World Heritage alpine area in the North of Ethiopia

Its also called the water tower of East Africa providing the source for the Blue Nile

The Blue Nile provides 80% of the water that reaches Egypt, flowing through Sudan where it meets with the White Nile to form the Nile River

 

With peaks up to 4,550 metres within the vast sprawling alpine range

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A range of deep gorges, rugged peaks and waterfalls plummeting thousands of metres

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The Simiens have unique flora and fauna

Such as the Giant Lobelia

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The endemic Gelada (or bleeding heart baboon) and Olive baboons

And if you look closely a Walia Ibex

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It was a three night trek through the Simiens

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Camping in the Alps

Amazing sunsets and the high plateau

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And watching the moon rise over the cliff tops from the gorges

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The Bale Mountains

The Simien Mountains are in the North East of Ethiopia and the Bale Mountains in the South East

Almost bookends at each end of the Ethiopian Central Highlands

The Simiens in the Amhara Region and the Bale in the Oromia Region

The Bale Mountains are drier less dramatic that the northern bookend

These mountains are the catchment for the Jubba River system

Which flows across Ethiopia and Somalia to the Indian Ocean

The Bale Mountains are more easily accessed than the Simiens

Far better for catching sightings of the Ethiopian Wolf

And the amazing bird life

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Also In the Bale Provence toward the Somalian Border is are the Sof Omar Caves

Its well over a decade since I travelled in these mountains with my family.

And yes a vaccine for Yellow Fever was compulsory

Maybe compulsory vaccinations will be more widespread for travellers in the future given COVID-19

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!

Travelling in the Time of Coronavirus-Quarantined week 2

Adventure, England, photography, Poetry, travel, United Kingdom

The Mighty Breva remain under the cover, apart from the occaisional shopping trip.

Week 2 of quarantine and its a time of discoveries and little pleasures.

It’s a time self contemplation.

A discovery:

A beautiful beer with a quirky connection.

To quote: This premium strength beer from Rother Valley Brewing Company commemorates the notorious gang of smugglers know as The Blues, who defied the Revenue through out Kent and Sussex for over 50years until their capture and transportation to Australia.

My great grandfather was a rustler not a smuggler and was transported to Australia during the Irish famine.

It’s seems an appropriate drink to have with a healthy home cooked meal

The little pleasures:

The small hardy plants of the salt marsh slowly bursting into life and the days ever so slowly grow longer and warmer.

A bit of self discovery:

Quarantine is a little bit like the kestral hovering, seemingly suspended in space and time. But there is a focus and a purpose.

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

A Bush Christmas

Adventure, Australia, history, Personal, photography, Victoria

A Bush Christmas is synonymous with Australia

But now much of our bush, Australia’s Bush is on fire

Not all

but too much

too much rare and precious flora, rare and giant trees and flowers

Much of Australia’s unique fauna, quolls, koala, snakes, goannas

to name a few

burnt alive in the fires

So its a sad Bush Christmas for those of us that love nature

her bounty and her beauty

The fires are not so large and intense in Victoria so I’ve taken some walks in the bush

The Ada Tree (above) is special, over 300 years old and a towering 75 metres high.

One of the last remaining giants of the forest

A Giant Mountain Ash found only in the southern parts of Australia

So few of these great trees remain

And in the damp gullies ancient Beech Trees remnants of Gondwana land and dominated the forests in wetter times.

The forest has its special sights sounds and smell.

See the tree ferns, hear the whip birds call

The birds have no voice in Parliament, no capital, but a beauty in their song

What a sad place it will be if we kill that song.

Happy Christmas and reflect and enjoy the wonderful things nature have given us

This Christmas think about how we can give nature a present

Discovering Slovenia – part 2 towns and villages

Adventure, art, Europe, photography, Slovenia, travel

Ptuj, is reputedly the oldest town in Slovenia

Its in the north east not far from the Hungarian border and was a rest point after a to long ride to Romania, the Black Sea and crossing Hungary.

The local wine delish

And as I approached 12000km of travel on my Moto Guzzi

The Ptuj thermal centre was a welcome indulgence.

As was the time to enjoy the Art festival and castle

Brežice was my first stop I Slovenia as I headed east to the Black Sea.

It was my stay here the beauty of the countryside, the town, its Art and the people that made me commit to focus my time in Slovenia on my return west.

Discovering Slovenia – part 1 Ljubljana

Adventure, Europe, history, photography, Slovenia

Slovenia, the little country that is was the suprise package of my tour.

Its people, it’s varied beauty and the people.

Adjacent the old Austro/Hungarian castle a little statue marks the long struggle for independence.

Uprising against the Habsburg Empire from the 1400s, brutal occupation by Italy/Germany in WW2

Finally independent in 1990.

But as the music flows through beautiful Ljubljana the tragedies of the past are lost in the capital’s beauty.

After the sprawling mass of Budapest Ljubljana was a gem to discover.