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

From Alsace to Finisterre – East to West across France

Adventure, Europe, France, photography, travel

From Riquewihr it’s into the mountains again

Heading west

Over the Col de la Schlucht

It was to be an eventful trip

Partly by truck

But all life is a learning

I take the by roads rather than the motorways

It has its risks but many rewards

Such as the entrance to the old city in Parthaney

The picturesque Vouvant

Or the amazing boulders at le Rocher Blanant

And onto the little coastal harbours of Brittany

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

Sud Tyrol

Adventure, Europe, Italy, photography, travel

The rich sediments

The rich culture washed down

From the high alps

On Sud Tyrol

Looking back to the Stelvio Pass on Sud Tyrol

A high plateau

Sitting between the Alps of Switzerland, Italy and Austria

Rich agricultural land

Its part of Italy

The main language in German

The houses look as is transplanted from Switzerland

And of course through it is the Reschen passage

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

Monoliths, St Bernards, and Mont Blanc

Adventure

The Rhone Alps

Sweltering in the heat of the Midi Pyrenees

The monoliths around Grenoble loom large on the skyscape

Past mini gorges

Of cascades

Memories of events never to be repeated

Over high passes

Toward the the highest peak in wester Europe.

The road winds on

To Mount Blanc

Mont Blanc from Chamonix

I must admit to being a bit disappointed by Mont Blanc.

Surrounded by resorts and the massive road infrastructure for the tunnel.

Little did I know at the time, over the border in Italy there was paradise.

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.