Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the last ferry from Santander

Adventure, England, Personal, photography, Spain, travel

It was the last passenger ferry from Spain to the UK steaming into Santander

A small group of motorbikes

And lines of cars and campervans waiting for the exodus.

Like a mini Dunkirk escaping an invisable enemy

It was a different crossing to the previous I have had

No promenading the decks as all passengers were confined to their cabins

Running on the spot to exercise on the 24 hour crossing

Back in England

A walk along the beach in Rye Harbour

Through the marsh to gather my thoughts.

Tonight the UK has gone into lockdown.

Things change quickly in a pandemic.

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

Transylvania, legends, royalty and that Irish connection.

Adventure, Europe, history, Motorbikes, photography, Romania, travel

Bran Castle

Battling the crowds on the narrow road to Bran

Past Dracula signs

One thinks how did Irishman Bram Stoker imagine this place and create the legend Dracula

The narrow roads are thick with tourists inspired by the legend

The citadel at Sighisoara also claiming it’s part of the legend

Any where that Vlad the Impaler, (who Dracula is based on) stayed dines out on the legend

But the legend disguises the the true beauty of Transylvania

View from Bran Castle

The amazing country side of open pasture

And the old forests around Brasov

And some wonderful biking roads

Near Brasov

The Transfagarsan

And memorials that tell the tale of the fight for Romanian independendance. Achieved in 1918

Though the Habsburg empire still had influence in Romania till the Soviets exiled the remaining Duke in 1947.

Romania is a beautiful and varied country and I’ve still a week here

Back in Beautiful Brittany

Adventure, Europe, France, Motorbikes, travel

There was something strange about getting on the Normandy Express in Portsmouth

Was it deja vu?

But yes this fast cat was built in Tasmania Australia and used to cross Bass Strait

It was an omen of positive things to come.

First stop was beautiful Mont St Michel at the northern part of Brittany.

The beautiful coast and farm land around the northern coast

On the west coast

The sunsets

The little coves

And in July it’s mussel season so fresh and sweet

South of Brest there is Camaret sur Mer an historic fishing town

The maritime city still a working port and welcoming to tourists

With beautiful beaches and great motorcycling roads near by.

Bet really it’s the little ports of Brittany that catch my eye.

The Ancient Town of Rye

Adventure, England, Motorbikes, photography, travel

Rye which is a seaside town on the East Sussex, Kent borderA town with a long history of pirates, fishing, trade, and defence of the realmThe towns has beautiful tudor building with the top of the hill dominate by the church and old castleThe view from the church tower over looks the old castle and the Rother River that leads down to Rye HarbourThe hinterland offers scenic ridingAnd winneriesBreweriesAnd traditional pubs and beer gardensMaking sure you dont get thirsty or hungry.

And of course the ultimate.

A Moto Guzzi in the shed

An Aussie biker on a Guzzi in Switzerland

Adventure, Europe, Motorbikes, photography, Switzerland, travel

What biker can resist the high passes

In the clouds

By the icy glaciers

The winding roads up the mountain passes

The cobble stoned old San Gotthard pass my favourite of all

Crowned with its mountain eagle monument

And on a clear day the lakes, an amazing blue, pay tribute to the sky above them.

Remoteness

Adventure, Australia, NSW, Personal, photography, Poetry

Wild Horses Kosciuszko National Park

Remote from the noise and the bustle

In the bush with the wild horses

In the wilderness

On a mountain top camp

On the coast 

The golden sandy beach 

Stretching to the horizon

Hungry Head Central Coast NSW

Finding special places

Where human activity and nature blend

Yarrangobilly Thermal Pool

Winding along the roads less travelled

Finding the wild things

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

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