Navigating the blog

Steering the reader in the right direction.

ENCOUNTERING THE PAST — ODYSSEYS #1, #2, #3

TASMANIA — ODYSSEY#4

   OBSERVATIONS from the SADDLE of a BIKE — ODYSSEY#5

From 2012 to 2019

In early 2012 we decided to return to Europe and visit countries we travelled through in the 1970s and 1980s and because blogging is a relatively simple thing to do we decided to write a blog as a way of documenting and sharing our travel experiences. To date we have made near four hundred postings and knowing where to look among the archives for a place or topic can be daunting, we hope the following introduction will be of assistance.

Many people have either contacted us via the comments page of the blog or have approached us, especially since we commenced travelling with bikes, and quizzed us about our travel adventures. Travelling with bikes and being older than the average cycle traveller we appear to attract people’s attention.

The most commonly asked questions include: where have we been, where do we stay, do we have a favorite country, when did we first start travelling, are our fold-up bikes satisfactory as a mode of transport and how do I manage to draw when travelling the maps that appear in the blog.

As you are aware there is an archives list (right hand side) and a search box. All you have to do is click on the archives date or enter the topic in the search box I have suggested and scroll to the appropriate listing and read on.

I have also listed web pages enabling you to read more about a subject I may have touched on. To support my story, on occasions I have extracted images that are free of copyright or alternatively, I have contacted the holder for a copyright clearance. A copyright clearance example is near the end of this introduction. Occasionally I draw on my vast collections of old photographs and weave them into the story.

To date I have written near 800 000 words covering many topics. Of course we have favourite posts and they include Archives April 2014 Why Kythera;  Archives July 2017 Journey into the past Part 2 and Archives December 2014 To Normandy and Back. All these are of a biographical nature.

If you want to read about my 1970 Sydney to London overland drive, our 1972/73 European and Middle Eastern Grand Tour and the building of our mud-brick home go to Archives March 2014 . And in Archives March 2013 and scroll down to Le-Puy-en-Velay France is an example of why we keep returning to France.

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WHERE WE HAVE BEEN SINCE 2012 & WHERE WE HAVE STAYED.

Over the past seven years we have travelled in Europe from the east to the west and the south to the north.

EAST: Istanbul. Scroll to Archives October 2012 and scroll down to Istanbul Days 1 & 2.

WEST: For our journey as far as the west country of England and Wales, search Archives September 2017. Revisiting England and Wales Part 1 & 2

My sketch of Istanbul. Archives October 2012. Days 1 to 10 Istanbul

The view from a stealth camp in Wales. Archives May 2017  Camping in Wales.

SOUTH: Morocco Archives August 2015 and scroll to Tangier Part 1. Scroll down to Tangier Part 1 and read on to Part 2.

Chefchaouen Morocco.

Archives August 2015 Morocco and read from Chefchaouen, the Blue Town Part 1 onwards.

An alleyway in Chefchaouen Morocco.

Chefchaouen was originally a Jewish town and to those of the faith blue represented heaven. It is well worth taking the somewhat dodgy bus ride to Chefchaouen from Tangier (port of entry) but you need to stay a week at least.

NORTH: Denmark and Sweden Archives March 2015  Sweden.  In this post near the end is an informative story about the crucifixion.

Our friends’ summerhouse where we stayed on Javeron Island Sweden.

The red paint, common on Swedish houses, has its origins in the 15th century. Tailings from the Falun copper mines were used to make the paint. Scroll or read to the very end of Archives March 2015  Sweden for an explanation.

In addition to travelling from east to west and south to north in Europe we have also travelled extensively in Australia.  Archives May 2013 Across Australia Days 1 & 2; Archives June 2013  Days 3 & 4 and Almost home and our very first post, Archives June 2012 Day 1 Moonbi to Marthaguy Ck Camp.

Waiben, the main settlement on Thursday Island. The reason we make an annual visit to Thursday Island is because our eldest son and his family live there.

For the start of the Torres Strait story, search Archives August 2013 Part 1 Torres Strait and Archives August 2013 A New Encounter – the Torres Strait, Queensland. It is an extensive post and you will find the read informative and entertaining. It includes a segment on when I taught ceramics to indigenous children on some of the offshore islands.

Going fishing off Groote Eylandt Northern Territory Australia.

In 2003 an Aboriginal family on Groote Eylandt welcomed us into their family and granted us land, go to Archives September 2012 Groote Eylandt – Geological features. This post is at the bottom of the page. Scroll to it and read each post towards the top. The post, Family-Friends-Sharing Skills, shows the activities of indigenous children and young people doing pottery, making drums and building furniture from cast off rubbish from the local rubbish dump.

A set of drums made from cast off PVC pipe. The drum membrane was made from old yacht sails.

Fishing on Groote Eylandt.

In 1970 I travelled to Western Australia with a friend and found work surveying an iron ore railway. The railway extended from Cape Lambert to Pannawonica (the iron ore deposit). The total length of the survey was 170 kilometres and it took three months to complete. Archives March 2014. Scroll down to A preamble to our next journey, Odyssey Part 2).

Working in WA 1970

The following photographs show the diversity of the places we have visited over the years including images since commencing our blog in 2012.

Salt lakes Port Hedland Western Australia.

Port Hedland is the main administrative centre for the Pilbara region. Archives September 2012. . Scroll down to Days 18 & 19 Port Smith to north of Port Hedland.

Bev and an odd-shaped bottle tree in Western Australia. Archives September 2012. Scroll down to Katherine to Kununurra.

Emergency airstrip on the Nullabor Highway.

Australians living or travelling in remote areas can face particular difficulties in gaining access to health and medical care. Organisations such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service have been established to bring these important health services to remote and regional Australian communities and hence the highway airstrip. Archives May 2013  Across Australia Days 1 & 2. This archive includes extracts from my 1970 journal and describes crossing the Nullabor before the road was sealed. Continue across Australia by going to Archives June 2013. Scroll down to Across Australia Days 3 & 4.

Living on a cliff edge in Vernazza, the Cinque Terre Italy.

Road through a gorge near the upper reaches of the River Rhine Switzerland.

For a journey around Switzerland search Archives July 2014. Scroll down to Switzerland: Out and About.

Chora, the capital of the Island of Kythera Greece.

The island of Kythera was an important jumping off point for the invasion of Crete by the Germans during WW2. Archives April 2014. Out and about Kythera #1.

Perast Montenegro.

We first visited Perast in 1972 and it was here where I asked Bev to marry me. Fortunately the answer was yes. Archives November 2012. Scroll down to Day 4 Perast Montenegro.

Window reflection St James Church London.

Go to Archives May 2015. Scroll down to London for a story about cockney London, the building of the SS Great Eastern in 1858 and the London underground. There are also stories about how we found the hat shop where Lord Nelson’s hat was made and the history of the iconic A to Z of London.

Mist-covered peaks of Meteora Greece.

Monks established themselves in caves at the base of the pinnacles near Kalambaka and Kastraki back in the 9th century. However by the end of the 12th century Turkish raiders were harassing them so they headed further up towards the heavens and built there. Go to Archives October 2012. Day 1 Meteora Greece and while you are there go to Archives November 2012.

Whilst at Meteora we witnessed a rare event, the fire salamanders emerging from their hibernation Archives November 2012 Day 2 Meteora Greece. Scroll down the post until you see the lizard in the following photograph.

Fire salamanders (about 150mm long) live in fallen logs. When a log was thrown on the fire the heat and smoke drove the resident salamanders out, consequently the name ‘fire salamander’.

A monastery on high at Meteora Greece

It is difficult to imagine how building materials were conveyed to the tops of the mountains.

The rock at Meteora is a type of conglomerate.

Chapel of St Michael, a feature of Le Puy-en-Velay France.

Le Puy-en-Velay is on the pilgrims’ way from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Pilgrims about to undertake the walk visit the chapel and have their walking sticks and poles blessed in the hope that a blessed walking stick will guide them to their destination. Go to Archives October 2014 To Normandy and Back Part 1 and for the story about Le Puy and the Way of St James. This post also includes a story about the Tarn Gorges, a beautiful area in southern France, and the Combalou cheese caves.

A pilgrim in Salamanca on the way to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Archives June 2015. Scroll down to Salamanca.

Arches in Nontron France

Arches in the town of Nontron France. Archives November 2014 To Normandy and back Part 2. Arches have always fascinated me and in the post there is a drawing of arch types and a description as to how stone arches were built.

Donkey trail along the Cinque Terre Italy.

The Cinque Terre in Italy has a complex geology creating majestic landforms. For the walker it is a paradise. A train links villages and it is possible to walk to a destination and catch the train back to where you are staying. We stayed in Monterosso. Archives April 2013. Scroll down to Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

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DO WE HAVE A FAVOURITE COUNTRY: The question should be what countries would we return to. Countries we would go back to are those that are a little ‘rough on the corners’, meaning ones where things are not perfect. Those countries include Turkey, Greece, the old Yugoslavian states, Albania, Morocco and some areas of Spain and France. These countries are also relatively inexpensive compared to Australia.

Bev greeting a local as she rides along the Elbe River in the Czech Republic.

Archives August 2014 and July 2014. Scroll down to Czech Republic to Germany: Along the Elbe River.

Travelling light and with a bike fits well with our eco friendly philosophy. In 2017 we had electric motors fitted so in effect we are now travelling with ebikes. This does not mean we have it easy, we still have to pedal.

One of our bikes after the fitting of electric motors.

The motor is contained in the hub of the front wheel and the battery, a 250 watt 36 volt model is mounted just above the Tern logo. To date they have proved 100% successful with a range of around 75 kilometres between charges. The motors are made by Dillenger Southport Queensland Australia. The batteries are classified as dangerous goods and cannot be taken on an aircraft; they have to be sent to the cycling start point by an authorized freight company.

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WHERE DO WE STAY & WHAT DO WE EAT.

Staying with friends or people we meet is of course the least expensive, although we always buy them a gift before leaving. Next comes Couchsurfing, which involves joining the organization and then searching for a host with similar interests in the city or area where we want to stay. Couchsurfing is a global community of 14 million people who share their life, their world and their journey for free. Archives October 2017 and scroll to Observations from the Saddle of a Bike Switzerland. Our experiences to date have been nothing short of fantastic. Go to Archives October 2017 and scroll to Augsburg Germany which details our first experience and a general outline of Couchsurfing. Other posts relating to our Couchsurfing experiences are Archives October 2017  Villach Austria and Archives November 2017. Scroll down to Slovenia.

Dominic and Sarah, our first Couchsurfing hosts in Augsburg Germany.

Dominic was a landscape architect and Sarah a theatre artist. Go to Archives October 2071. Scroll down to Augsburg Germany to see and read about Sarah’s incredible artwork. Sarah and Dominic vacated their bed for us; I think they thought we needed a bed and not a couch. Not long after we stayed they were due to catch a cargo ship to South America as part of a world adventure.

Llubljana couchsurfing hosts Sandra and Gregor

Archives November  2017  Observations from the saddle of a bike: Slovenia

We host couchsurfers as well. There is small building we call the Shack which accommodates our visitors.

The Shack on our property where visiting couchsurfers delight in staying.

The building started out as a cubby house for our boys when they were young. In latter years I tidied it up and now call it Asoka’s Shack. Asoka was a dangerous vengeful emperor in India (250 BCE) but he turned to Buddhism and became a peaceful warrior and advocated the planting of roadside trees under which travellers may rest, provide water and build rest houses for weary travellers at no cost.

Hostels: Bev and I grew up with the YHA. If you place YHA in the search box a number of posts will appear. Go to Archives October 2017 Villach Austria. On the same page there is a story about the YHA in Verona Italy Archives December 2017 Verona Italy.

And of course there are private hostels as well and the ones where we choose to stay are the quirky ones. For example, in Pula Croatia we chose the Art Host and the owner over the years had covered just about every surface including the underside of balconies with broken pieces of ceramic tiles Archives November 2017 Pula Croatia.

The entrance to the Art Host hostel Pula Croatia.

If you appreciate tiles go to Archives June 2015. Scroll down to Lisbon Part 1 & 2 and Archives November 2015 Barcelona.

The grand YHA in Verona Italy.

No matter if every room in Verona is booked out, and they sometimes are especially during the opera season, the managers will guarantee the traveller a bed. YHA is an abbreviation for Youth Hostel Association, although these days you need not be a youth to stay. In the gardens there were overgrown tunnel caverns used in years past for botanical and biological experiments. Archives December 2017. Scroll down to Trieste to Verona Italy.

Signs to hostel entrance Fez Morocco.

Do not be put off by this entrance to the hostel in Fez Morocco. The interior was very clean, welcoming and had a very Arabic flavour. Archives September 2015. Scroll down to Fez Part 1. An image of the interior follows.

Common ground inside the hostel.

Hotels: Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between a no star hotel and a hostel. Upmarket hotels do not come into our thinking as they provide facilities beyond our needs. We don’t need room service, hair driers, shampoo, TV, and all the other trappings associated with upmarket hotels. Sometimes we do not pre book, we simply turn up and although not booking causes some anxious moments at the end of the day we have never managed not to find accommodation.  Archives December 2012. Scroll down to Rijeka Croatia.

Entrance to the no star Hotel Casa Khaldi in Chefchaouen Morocco.

Salubrious bed in a no star hotel Morocco. Note the colour-coordinated mosquito net.

Hotel star ratings were created by the Michelin tyre company. The tyre manufacturer wanted to encourage people to drive their cars and wear out tyres. To encourage this activity they produced the famous Michelin maps and developed a star rating for hotels in an attempt to get people into their cars, go travelling and ‘wear out tyres’.

Stealth or wild Camping: It’s the ultimate to stealth camp, it puts you out there with nature. Of course you have to choose your spot carefully. It is best to stay out of sight and not draw attention to yourself. In most European countries it is illegal to free camp, the governments of those countries want you in official camping areas so they can gather the appropriate taxes. The European countries where camping is free and encouraged are Holland and the Scandinavian countries.

An adjunct to stealth camping is to ask permission from landowners if you can camp on their land. Archives May 2017. Scroll down to Camping in Wales. If you are in a non English speaking country a card, which you hand to a land owner written in the local language requesting permission to camp on their property, is a useful tool.

A stealth camp high in the mountains of Greece 1972. Note the frost on the car and tent.

A close to nature free camp in outback Queensland.

In such a simple camp it is easy to be at one with the sunset and sunrise across the plain. Archives July 2012. Scroll down to Day 11 North of Boulia to northwest of Mt Isa.

Official campsites: They allow you to access the Internet, charge cameras and computers, have a shower and enable you to fraternize with fellow travellers.

An official campsite when cycling along the River Rhine Switzerland.

The problem with the above camp was its location. Being in a narrow ravine the noise from a nearby motorway and railway line made it a tad uncomfortable, however the river view made up for the noise pollution Archives June 2014. Our Swiss bicycling mission.

Taking lunch on the River Rhine near the noisy campsite.

Torre de la Pena camping area near Tarifa Spain in 2014.

Bev and I camped at this same camping area in 1972. The children of the owners when we were there in 1972 now run the camp. They gave us a ten percent discount for coming back 42 years later. Archives July 2015. Tarifa Spain.

Bev and I in our romantic youth at the Torre de la Pena camping area Spain 1972.

Official campsite in Liechtenstein.

On this windy night we tied the tent to the bikes to stop it blowing away. This camp, like many in Europe, do not cater for tent travellers. No outdoor table, chairs or anywhere to shelter out of the weather. On this occasion we sat on the wash bench in the laundry. Archives June 2014. Our Swiss bicycling mission. describes buying our bikes and riding down portion of the River Rhine.

Pensiones/Zimmers: Pensiones and Zimmers are usually family run businesses offering special rates for stays longer than a week. The pensione in the following photograph had an art deco flavour, the round corner windows indicate the era.  Go to Archives July 2014. Scroll down to Czech Republic: Prague Part 1 for an Art Deco & Art Nouveau description and comparison. The same post describes the wonderful city of Prague. Also, if you go to Archives March 2018. Mulhouse to Dannemarie you can read about an ‘olde worlde’ zimmer we stayed in whilst riding the Eurovelo 6.

The Eurovelo 6 is a bike route that runs from the west coast of France to the Black Sea in Romania a distance of 4400 kilometres. Bev and I have ridden a small portion of the bike route, however we intend riding more of it in 2019. Eurovelo 6 is is one of the best cycling experiences in Europe. Start with Archives March 2018 Basel to Mulhouse and continue to Besancon.

Art deco pensione and spaghetteria Prague Czech Republic.

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EATING WHEN TRAVELLING: Food, or at least thinking about it, consumes a large part of your travelling day. Most evening meals I cook on a small canister stove, at lunch we have a ploughman’s consisting mostly of cheese and bread. Other times we eat at local markets. In our bike panniers we carry a limited quantity of food including oats (for breakfast) and noodles (evening meal) to which we add vegetables. It is best not to buy squishy food, however there is one exception in Europe and that’s persimmons.

Persimmons, food of the gods. genus Diospyro.

Diospyros kaki is a native to South-east Asia and Japan and it was introduced to southern Europe in the 1800s. Persimmons are, in Australian lingo, ‘good tucker’ as they are high in fibre, vitamin C, manganese, iron and contain A beta-carotene. Archives December 2071. Scroll down to Trieste to Verona.

A simplified ploughman’s is a typical lunch when on the move.

A ploughman’s lunch as the name suggests was the meal taken into the field by ploughmen. Traditionally it was eaten with a pint of good quality ale.

Vegetable and noodle brew up, easily done with one pot and a small canister gas stove.

A travelling kitchen. Archives November 2012 Sarande. Scroll down to Albania.

Preparing an evening meal in a shower recess. Archives June 2015 Portugal: Faro.

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WHEN DID WE START TRAVELLING:

My first major travel affair was in 1970 when I drove from Sydney to London with a friend. The overseas portion started in Colombo from where we drove to the north of Ceylon, loaded our Landrover on a ship and transported it to southern India. From there we drove the length of India into Pakistan, through the Khyber Pass, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and on to England. After hitchhiking around England and Scotland we returned to London and flew to Kenya, bought a BSA motorbike and toured around central Africa ending up in Johannesburg from where we returned to Australia.   Archives March 2014. Scroll down to A preamble to the next journey, Odyssey Part 2. Start reading from OVERLAND TO LONDON 1970/71.

Hussainwala passport checking post on the Indian and Pakistan border 1970.

Briefly I was taken into custody here and interrogated as to why I was taking the photograph. Fortunately the border guards did not extract the film from my camera.

Truck front suspension collapse and rollover on the road in India.

A taxi travelling through the Khyber Pass.

An apt caption for this photograph is ‘Without a  leaf without a flower, without a blade of grass’. There were fourteen passengers in and on the taxi.

After the 1970 overland drive I returned to Tamworth NSW and met Bev. We soon struck up a relationship and returned to Europe, bought a VW Beetle (car) and even though Bev had never camped we decided to drive and camp from Munich to Baghdad in Iraq. Unfortunately due to political problems in Iraq we only got as far as Damascus in Syria. From Syria we toured and camped throughout Europe and lived in England for some time Archives June 2017. Journey into the past in Berkshire Part 1. From England we returned to Australia via Mexico. Following are a few images of our 1972/3 grand tour of Europe.

Lunch on the road in Hungary in 1972.

Putting on snow chains Greece in 1972.

Honeybottom, Berkshire England, where we lived.

The name ‘Honeybottom’ originated from the fact that in Cromwell’s day a beekeeper lived there and his men went to the bottom field to collect honey. A portion of the house was 600 years old. To read about Honeybottom go to Archives June 2017. Journey into the past Berkshire Part 1 and the previously mentioned Archives March 2014.

Returning to Australia we built a mud brick house incorporating recycled timbers and raised two children. The reason for building with earth was because it was ‘dirt cheap’. We didn’t borrow money to build and therefore had money to continue travelling. I have always said that once you borrow money from the bank ‘they have got you’ meaning you spend the rest of your life paying the bank back.

View along the rear of our house.

The pathways are stabilized earth. The soil for the bricks and pathways came from the foundations of the house and surrounding area. At the time the building of a mud brick house was considered ‘hippyish’.

Living area of the mud brick house we built.

The mud brick walls are painted with water-based paint. When we were building the house we ran a number of building with earth schools and as a result a number of mud brick houses appeared in our region.

Our mud brick and recycled timber house.

Bev and I made 40 000 mud bricks and I have always said it is the biggest piece of artwork I have done. Today we are almost self-sufficient with regards energy, with solar power and not connected to town water.

Kitchen and dining room end of our house.

The round table was made from old oregon timber that was previously used as cement formwork. It is two metres in diameter and is capable of seating twelve people.

 

A louvered box decorated with a corrugated iron bird at the backdoor of our house. In the box is the compressor portion of a reverse cycle air conditioner.

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MODES of TRANSPORT:    In Australia we have used our own 4WD, in Europe hire cars and public transport, but since 2014 our mode of transport includes the bicycle. After hiring a car in Europe in 2013 and not finding it a totally satisfactory experience we decided not to join the throngs of cars in the future and buy two foldup bikes and tour with them. Our first major ride was down portion of the River Rhine Archives June 2014. Our Swiss bicycling mission. Another memorable ride we did was down the Elbe and Oder Rivers between Germany and Czech Republic and Poland. Archives August 2014. Scroll down to Along the Elbe River and Archives July 2014. Melnik, the Moldau and the Elbe detail more of the ride and interesting things we found along the way including a charnel house under the church in Melnik.  For the 2018 bicentenary of the bike go to Archives September 2017. Prelude to the journey.

Our 4WD and a free camp near Mt Isa Queensland Australia.

Archives July 2012. Scroll to Day 11 North of Boulia to northwest of Mt Isa.

Travelling using a 4WD has, I admit, a high carbon footprint, however it is really the only way to cover the vast distances of getting from one place to another and being able to cope with the vagaries of the weather and road conditions in Australia. In the future we will have to reduce our dependency on the car and look at an alternative such as trains and bikes but this is not as simple in Australia as it is in Europe.

Our Landcruiser crossing a sandy creek in far north Queensland.

Our hire car in Switzerland 2012. Travelling in Europe mid winter has more advantages than disadvantages and they include lower accommodation costs and fewer tourists.

In 2014 we acquired two foldup bikes and since then we have found them most suitable for our needs. They have a low carbon footprint compared to cars and, best of all, what we can carry is limited. Bike touring brings one back to being a minimalist.

Our foldup bikes the morning of departure from Copenhagen YHA. No electric motors in 2015 when this photograph was taken. 

Archives March 2015   Sweden.

If it rains or the hills are too steep or there is a ban on riding through car tunnels due to the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning we simply catch a train.

Europe is very bike friendly. Trains have compartments for cyclists in which to store their bikes. There is however one exception to this and that is Sweden where bikes can only be taken on some local trains. We had a confrontation with the ‘gods’ (railway police) in Sweden when they thought we were going to take our unfolded bikes on a train we were about to board. Archives March 2015. Sweden.

 

Taking rest on board a train that caters for bikes.

It is a pleasure to travel with a bike on European trains, slightly different than Australia where on regional trains bikes have to be boxed and weigh no more than twenty kilograms.

Due to limitations on the home front we cannot travel for longer than six months at a time.   Each time we go to Europe we take our bikes as oversized luggage (at no extra cost) and bring them back to Australia at the end of our tour.

Our bikes in the folded mode, one standing vertical with the Tern bird logo and the second lying horizontal to the left.

The bikes need to be folded and placed in protective bags only when travelling on high-speed trains, something we try to avoid.   Many people marvel at how little luggage we have; in total we carry about 15kg and that includes cameras, laptop and associated technology and sometimes, camping gear as well. For a detailed list of our luggage, go to Archives June 2014. Our Swiss bicycling mission. This post also details buying our bikes and the bout of salmonella I succumbed to.

Our bikes folded and in a specially designed case.

Bangkok airport and our oversized bike cases.

Since this photograph was taken I have painted a profile of a bike on the outside of the cases so people do not think we are travelling with them packed with clothes. Archives April 2015 The Final Journey: Return to Australia. Read down to the story about my travelling on a motor scooter.

Following are a few images of places visited with our bikes.

A perfect day riding through the forest along the River Oder in eastern Germany.

To read about this remarkable journey start with Archives August 2014. Scroll down to Along the Elbe River and read on. The Spreewald in Germany also detailed in this post is particularly interesting.

Emerging from a bike only tunnel along the Eurovelo 6 at Besancon France.

Enter in the search box Besancon 2018 and read on about the wonderful city of Besancon. This city rates highly with us; in fact in 2019 we are commencing our ride across France from here. It is well worth reading about Besancon as it relates to the life of Louis Pasteur, Victor Hugo and the history of Lip clocks and watches. The French were making watches before the Swiss.

Not all bike paths are flat. Bev pushing up a 25% grade in Switzerland.

Our new ebike motors have a walk mode, which means by applying a little throttle our walks uphill are aided by the motor, very useful at the end of the day when there is a steep climb to where we are staying. Archives December 2015. Beziers, Southern France details the town of Beziers, which is on top of a hill. Beziers is also located on the Midi Canal that runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. We rode portion of it and the story about the Midi Canal appears in the above post. The canal runs from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Ocean.

The River Doubs running parallel to the Eurovelo 6. Archives June 2018. Canal cycling France.

Portion of the Eurovelo 6 in France.

On this morning there was a frost but fortunately no ice on the bike path. Archives June 2018. Canal cycling France .

Tunnel riding Slovenia.

Many bike paths are converted railway lines; the image above was once a train tunnel. Archives November 2017. Scroll down to Slovenia.

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PHOTOGRAPHY:   An essential part of a blog is being able to present reasonable quality photographs. Sometimes it takes patience, other times it’s instant. In my teenage years I developed an interest in photography. Cameras were simple, you took a guess at the appropriate exposure then set the exposure on your camera and clicked. Processing was done in a dark room and the whole process from developing the exposed film to seeing the first image appear on the light sensitive photographic paper was surely a miracle. My interest in the miracle of photography has continued to this day. Following are a few images from both of us.

View looking down from a hotel window in Casablanca Morocco.

The long shadows cast by passersby created a great photographic opportunity. We took many photos, if you want to see more of them and read about the remarkable city of Casablanca search Archives September 2015. Casablanca.

Religious statue in Tirana Albania.

Riding along the main thoroughfare in Tirana I looked up and could see the aircraft vapour trail about to align with the outstretched hand of the statue. I dropped the bike and took this photo in an instant. There is nothing technically challenging from a photographic point of view with regards this photograph, it was simply being in the right place at the right time. Archives November 2012. Scroll down to Tirana Albania.

Detail at the Zuzemberk Church Slovenia.

To appreciate this photograph one has to consider the effort involved with making these spheres. I imagine two halves would be spun or pressed then welded together and polished. They are a statement to fine craftsmanship. Archives November 2017. Scroll down to Observations from the Saddle of a Bike Slovenia.

Footpath in Lisbon made from marble setts and polished by a million shuffling feet.

Setts are squared stone, whereas cobblestones are water worn river stones. Archives June 2015. Lisbon Part 1.

Black washing against an ochre-coloured wall Italy.

A most famous figure who wore black was singer Johnny Cash who said, “I wear black because I like it…. it’s my symbol of rebellion against the stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.” Archives April 2013. Scroll down to Christmas day, Monterosso.

Bullet projectile embedded in a marble lamp post Dieppe
France.

In WW2-torn Europe there are remnants of the fighting still evident. The above photograph was taken in Dieppe France. Archives August 2016. Dieppe and return to London.

Portrait photography has been a long lasting interest of mine and I never go past a character face. At times it is frustrating not being able to communicate with some of people I photograph, I would desperately like to know more about my subjects.

Old man in Pont St Montvert France.

We were getting directions from this elderly gentleman in southern France who was concerned we may not get through the way we wanted to go due to snow drifts. Where did he get that hat? Archives Febuary 2013. Cevennes, France.

Girls’ day out Morocco

Some women of the Islamic faith wear a headscarf to cover their head and hair, while others such as in the above photograph wear a burka. Archives August 2015. Scroll down to Chefchaouen, the Blue town Part 1.

East Arnhem Land Aboriginal friend Murraway.

In 2007 we took Murraway and her late husband Moses to Sydney and they were overcome with its size and diversity. They had never seen a high-rise building and when we showed them Chifley Tower (244 metres high) Moses staggered back against a wall of a nearby building and looked as if he would faint. Another amusing incident occurred when we took them to the Sydney Fish Markets. When Moses saw mud crabs for sale he grabbed one, contrary to the sign ‘do not touch’, and called in a loud voice, ‘these come from my home country’.

Jamila, also known as Bob Marley due to his dreadlocks.

Jamila is what I call a warrior. He knows the way of the bush and often took us walkabout. An Aboriginal family in East Arnhem Land welcomed us into their family and the outcome was we now have many family members there. Jamila is our nephew.

Matt Pepperspray.

When travelling from Istanbul to Alexandropolis in Greece we met Matt. I nicknamed him Matt Pepperspray as he was pepper sprayed by the police in Turkey when he expressed concern as to how they were physically treating a man in the street. On another occasion he joined a group of musicians playing guitars in public and the police sprayed them to break up the group. On a separate occasion he received a nasty gash on his head when someone hit him with his guitar. Go to Archives October 2012. Scroll down to Departure from Turkey to read about Matt Pepperspray.

For many years I have been photographing Jesus lookalikes, mainly because I have wondered why all art works depict Jesus as a handsome man with Roman features. I suspected there was collusion in the art world and, after researching the subject, my suspicions were correct. Research suggests that in the 6th century it was agreed how Jesus should be depicted.

Aris, a Jesus lookalike. By coincidence he was a carpenter.

Go to Archives May 2014. Out and About Kythera #3   This post also details the ancient ruins of Paleochora and the burying of a time capsules. As we have travelled the world we have buried time capsules; maybe our grandchildren will retrieve them in years to come.

Leonidis, from the island of Samothraki ,another Jesus lookalike, giving Tbear a blessing.

Archives October 2012. Scroll down to Days 1 to 4 Samothraki and while you are there read all about Samothraki.

Following are some black and white portraits from Lisbon.  Archives June 2015 Lisbon Part 2 .


Portuguese lady: what tales she could tell. 

Musicians in a Lisbon street march Portugal.

Caroline, the owner of a second-hand bookshop in Cascais near Lisbon Portugal.

Caroline sat out the front of her bookshop smoking a cigar. It took some sweet-talking from me before she allowed me to use this image. She was adamant she didn’t want her face on the Internet but after showing her the photo and our blog she happily agreed. Archives June 2015  Lisbon Part 2.

Attractive girl in love heart sunglasses Faro Spain. Archives June 2015 Portugal: Faro.

It always pays to know the law of a country with regards to taking photos of people in public and publishing them on the Internet. Every country has different laws.

My interest relates to portraits and general landscape photography but Bev concentrates on the small things such as plants and insects as well as unusual aspects of buildings. She looks for things under foot and often spends time on her knees photographing an orchid or small plant.

Bev on her knees taking a photograph of a native orchid.

An Italian ant on an Italian dandelion.

Fungi in Sweden.

Fortunately we had the opportunity to go fungi gathering with a couple of experts in Sweden. Returning to our friends’ place we prepared them and made a fungi pie. Archives March 2015. Sweden.

I am thinking this is a Granny’s bonnet columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris).

 Normally these flowers hang down but this one was growing at the end of a horizontal pole. The following photograph was taken at a butterfly farm in Switzerland. For a presentation of Bev’s close-up work of butterflies go to Archives July 2014. Scroll down to Switzerland : Out and About. 

Butterfly at the Swiss butterfly farm.

Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos).

There are many varieties of kangaroo paws. They grow from underground rhizome and produce beautiful flowers, mainly during spring and summer.

Following are three macro photographs by yours truly.

Dewdrop on a plain wire fence.

A visitor to our camp in Western Australia.

Archives September 2012. Scroll down to Days 14 and 15 East of Fitzroy Crossing to Port Smith.

A copyright clearance example.

After contacting Aitor the author of these photographs and asking for permission to use the images his reply was: Dear Fred, Please feel free… it is a pleasure, do what you want…trust you. Thank you very much!!! Aitor Lara. To see more of Aitor’s work simply search the web. Search Archives July 2015. Spain: Seville for the story relating to the above photographs.

With a couple of exceptions photographs appearing with no credits are the work of either Bev or myself.

***

STAYING SAFE WHEN TRAVELLING.

There is no doubt that there is danger out there but there are more good things than bad. Often people we meet and acquaintances say, ‘I wouldn’t go there, it’s too dangerous’. These people have never travelled and they dwell on the sensationalist news in the media. There is compassion and kindness everywhere and we know as we have experienced it.

Bev sharing in the kindness of four Muslim lads at a café in Fez Morocco.

The elder of the four insisted we return to their café and say goodbye. The young boys were waiters in training. No Islamphobia on Bev’s part here. Archives September 2015.  Scroll down to Fez Part 2.

There are of course countries which we visited in 1972/3 that are now off our must visit list, countries such as Syria, east Turkey and Pakistan. We have learned to become street wise, such as when sitting in a café we always put the leg of the chair we are sitting on through the shoulder strap of our carry bag, it deters the bag snatchers.

Every time we stop and are leaving our bikes I lock them, even if they are within view. It takes only seconds for a bike thief to strike. Always keep watch on your property. I found out to my detriment there are people watching your every movement and my camera bag was stolen. Archives November. Spain: Barcelona. To read the full story, scroll to the very end of the post. Knowing where you are also helps keep you out of trouble. By asking police where the no go areas of a city are will help with your safety.

The security boys, one policeman and two army personnel keeping a lookout in Casablanca Morocco.

For a description of the above photograph and the mosque they were patrolling go to Archives September 2015. Morocco: Casablanca. The Hassan mosque in Casablanca is a masterpiece in engineering. It has titanium doors and exquisite tile work. In the same post there is a story relating to Humphrey Bogart’s Rick’s Café, which appeared in the movie Casablanca. And while you are there read other posts relating to Morocco such as Fez Part 1 & 2.

On a personal note we are extra careful when it comes to food, we rarely eat the same meal at restaurants, as we both do not want to be ill from contaminated food at the same time.

***

RECORDING WHERE WE HAVE BEEN, MAPS and DRAWINGS

When at school in the late 1905s the geography teacher had me draw on the blackboard during the lunch break maps of various countries as part of the geography lesson, which followed. I enjoyed the task and with the coloured chalk I would turn my efforts into a piece of artwork. Drawing, particularly maps, has therefore always been with me.

Art gear and lunch.

It is not easy keeping up to date with my map drawing. Every chance I get, even while having lunch, I draw. Archives July 2015. Spain:Tarifa. Readers of the blog have used the maps as serious guides and after learning this I made the statement that the maps are mud maps and are not a serious navigational aid. They are not to scale as they are simply drawn freehand.

A sample map of the Eurovelo 6, which runs from St Nazaire (France) to the Black Sea (Romania).

Sketching in Italy.

Sometimes I sit in the streets and draw and doing this is one sure way to make contact with people. Parents stop with their children and say ‘look at this man draw, you could draw like that too if you want’. Archives May 2013. Scroll down to Porto Venere and our final day in the Cinque Terre.

When travelling and communication is difficult I simply sketch what I need, much to the amusement of those around me, and it always works.

Buying a small gas stove in Santander Spain.

There is an old-fashioned hardware shop in Santander Spain and I wanted to buy a small gas stove, I simply sketched what I needed. Search Archives June 2015 and scroll down to Spain: Santander for a look at the shop.

Drawers in the Santander hardware shop where I bought our gas canister stove. I do love traditional hardware shops.

Athens hardware shop.

The caption under this image in Archives June 2014. Scroll down to From Kythera, a return to Athens.   The caption reads, ‘What desirable, delectable, delicious things lie buried in the dark depths of this hardware shop’.

My architectural style of painting.

Bits of a Window

My drawings are amateurish compared to the mural commemorating the invention of the torpedo in Rijeka Croatia.

The torpedo was invented in Rijeka and even though the tourist information people didn’t encourage us to visit the WW2 test bed and factory where torpedos were made we were determined to find it. After walking about four kilometers through a grubby industrial area we found it, much to our satisfaction. Go to Archives December 2012. Scroll down to Rijkeka Croatia and while you are there read Archives December 2012. Day 1 Mostar Bosnia Herzegovina at the bottom of the post listings.

****

Finally….Why we chose the blog title of Tbeartravels. My youngest son filmed an attempt to climb the second highest peak in China, the Ulagh Muztagh, and he took a toy bear similar to Tbear on the expedition. This inspired us to take Tbear with us. Unfortunately he jumped off the handlebars of my bike in Dresden Germany. Go to Archives August 2014. Scroll down to Dresden Part 1 & 2 and read about the loss of Tbear and while you are there read about Dresden.

Tbear encountering a baby crocodile in Arnhem Land.

First aid after being stung by green ants.

Tbear deciding if witchetty grubs of central Australia would be as sweet as honey.

If you have enjoyed this introduction and reading the suggested archives you may now continue searching at random countries or topics on our blog. Please make a comment if you wish and if you want to be alerted each time we do a new post click on FOLLOW.

And what of future adventures: We are returning to Europe in April 2019. It is our intention to use Zurich as our base and ride from Zurich to Lyon in France then continue along the EuroVelo 6 to the west coast of France then north to the WW1 battlefields in France and Belgium. From there we hope to travel through Holland to Sweden. Running across Sweden is the 600 kilometre long Gota Canal with a parallel bike path, which we hope to tackle. From Sweden, who knows where? Maybe Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Austria and Germany. We have allocated five months for this adventure.

REMEMBER

Archives January 2015 Denmark: Copenhagen, a bike-friendly city.

 

 

 

67 Responses to Navigating the blog

  1. Christina op den Brouw says:

    HELLO FRED AND BEV
    WE MEET EACHOTHER IN EMMERIK TODAY.
    IS IT A GOOD IDEAR TO SEE EACHOTHER AGAIN.?
    We can show jou the bridge to far and hartenstein AS WE TOLD YOU.
    TOMOROW Iin the afternoon ijbrS FOR US A GOOD TIME . LET UNS NOW WHERE YOU ARE AND WE COME TO YOU.
    GREETING JACK EN CHRISTINA OP DEN BROUW.

    • tbeartravels says:

      Christina and Jack
      It was good to meet you too. For readers of tbeartravels we met Christina and Jack at a cafe on the Rhine and after exchanging emails they contacted us and offered to show us Arnhem. We did meet and they showed us the town and took us to the Airborne Museum and the Bridge too Far. We had a great day and we enjoyed same. Thanks again C & J.

      Regards Fred and Bev

  2. Bryan et louane says:

    Hello
    we are the fishermen with the magnet. We really appreciate your stop so that we can explain you ecological leisure
    unfortunately the language barrier has meant that we could not talk a lot together
    see you soon (bryan and louane)

    • tbeartravels says:

      Hello Bryan and Louane
      Thankyou for contacting us. Yes we hope to see you soon, don’t know where or when. Bev and I continued with our ride all the way across the Eurovelo 6 to the west coast of France then up to Dieppe and across France to Germany. We are now in Zurich after peddling 2085km.

      Readers of these comments might like to know that when we were riding along the canal Bryan and his daughter were magnet fishing. They had a powerful magnet attached to a rope and tossed it into the water and each time they pulled it in it came up with iron metal objects attached to the magnet. Most times the objects were worthless but it is the hope of the magnet fisherman to pull up something valuable such as a sword with gem stones set in its handle. If they retrieve a bomb or firearm they inform the police immediately. In England the magnet fishermen are called Mudlarks. Over near the Somme we watched another man with a magnet and he hooked onto something big as the magnet wasn’t strong enough to hold his find, we eventually left without knowing what he had hooked onto.
      Thanks again for making a comment, see you down the track.
      Fred and Bev

  3. Salah Farah says:

    Hi Fred and Bev
    Hope you well and have great time in Europe. Are you still in Europe or back home?

  4. Salah Farah says:

    Dear Fred and Bev
    Hope you well and enjoying your long trip in Europe.

  5. Salah Farah says:

    Fred and Bev
    Hope you well and have joyful journey in Europe.

    • tbeartravels says:

      Salah

      Thankyou for the best wishes. Bev and I are in Vallach (south Austria) at the moment. Its cold and wet. We left Zurich about a week ago and we are heading south to beat the forthcoming winter.
      Regards Fred and Bev

  6. Joan BC says:

    Dear Fred I have just acquired an iPad and it is perfect for lounging in bed and scrolling through your wonderful blog. Great photos – enough to give anyone itchy feet! D & I are off to Israel next week and then Portugal – will be good to have a break from chilly British weather.

    • tbeartravels says:

      Joan and David
      Thankyou for the comment. Bev and I were going to Israel in 1972, the Australian embassy even issued us with a second passport because we were not allowed in as with a Syrian stamp in the passport we travelled with. Unfortunately we never got there as we couldn’t get through Lybia. Re Portugal, you must go to the tile museum in Lisbon as knowing your artistic bent you will love it. Allow at least a half a day. Search Lisbon on this blog to get a taste of the museum.
      Fred and Bev

  7. Natalie Ong says:

    Hi Fred and Bev, stumbled onto this blog as part of my research following a serendipitous visit to your studio in Moonbi when we were exploring the area – we simply followed the signs off the main road! Ian was a most affable and interesting guide. Thank you for your gift of gentle wistful ceramic women and charming replica buildings to the world.

  8. Frances says:

    Very interesting/inspiring, can’t wait to visit Europe someday soon! Also brings back good memories of living in Indigenous communities. 🙂

    • tbeartravels says:

      Frances
      Thanks for the comment re your first reading of tBeartravels. Thanks for putting up with us when we were in Tasmania recently. I have written most of the stories re our Encountering the Past Part4 (Tasmania), I’m waiting on my editor (Bev) to edit and post.

      Hope you can get to Europe, Bev and I miss the ancientness, the culture, the music and we too can’t wait to get back. If you do get to Europe might I suggest you walk one of the pilgrim trails in France and Spain. Search Le Puy on the blog, I wrote about the trail in that post.

      Regards Fred and Bev

  9. Jean-remy meyer says:

    Hi Bev and and Fred,
    Just a quick hello to congratulate you about your beautiful blog.
    Wish to meet you again!
    Remy and Olga

    • tbeartravels says:

      Remy and Olga

      Thankyou for the comment. The post Ouyre, Mid Pyrenees (the post you both appeared in) was a joy to write. I suppose you miss Larry now he has returned to Australia. How about a trip to OZ, you have us to stay with and also Larry…he is about 3500 km away though.

      Fred and Bev

  10. Amina says:

    Hello Fred & Bev, I’m gutted that I did not see your blog sooner. You guys were in my neck of the woods, Wanstead Park and I missed you. I live at Wanstead Park Avenue and would have lived to have introduced you to my children. I hope you’re both keeping well and enjoyed Morocco.

    Regards, Amina
    (the lady you met on the Central Line when you got off at Bank Station)

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Amina

      Had we known you lived in the Wanstead area we would have tracked you down and met with you.

      For readers of our blog I need to explain how we met Amina: Bev and I were travelling on the London underground with our fully loaded bikes and as is usually the case even though we were travelling out of peak hour time it was crowded.

      Bev and I with our bikes were standing just inside the doors and the hassle was each time the train stopped we had to shuffle our bikes from one side of the train to the other to allow passenger access to the door. Amina was standing near us and she suggested we place our bikes against the left door of the train as all stations from Bank on the door opened on the right side only.

      Amina, Bev and I fell into conversation and we chatted about work, life and travels. On the London underground people especially strangers rarely talk or smile at each other, they adopt a blank look and stare into space. Their expressions are a kin to being asleep but with their eyes open. Amina was an exception.

      Thanks again for the friendly conversation, you have our email so keep in touch.

      Fred and Bev

      PS Yes we did enjoy Morocco. I am running behind with the blog postings but today I hope to post the last of the Morocco postings……keep reading.

  11. John Coveney says:

    Hi Fred and Bev,
    Lovely to meet you both lost in Wanstead Park this morning! Hope you found your way to Ilford, and found time to reminisce at the place you once got your photography essentials.
    Best wishes on your forward journey.
    John

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear John
      The directions you gave us were right. In Ilford I kept looking at the parapets over the shops expecting to see Ilford Film sold here but as you know those days are long gone. The Ilford park was good for a ride around but not so much the main street. My how things have changed.

      Hope you enjoy reading the blog and your walks in Wanstead Park. The next tbear post relates to Fez in Morocco.

      Regards Fred and Bev

  12. Mia lane says:

    Hi Fred and Bev, it was nice meeting you at maggies and thank you for my bag I have been using it a lot. From Mia x

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Mia

      Thankyou for making contact. No worries about the bag, I think the colours suit you beautifully. For followers of this blog Mia is 8 year old and she visited our friend where we were staying in Wales. Mia and I did some sketching together and the bag I gave her which I bought in a charity shop was pink and yellow, I bought it to keep my art gear in.

      I thought the colous suited her better.

      Keep drawing Mia and maybe reading the blog too.

      Fred and Bev

  13. Great to meet you yesterday. I remembered to search ‘why kythera’.

    • tbeartravels says:

      Matt

      Good to meet you too. Why Kythera was published in a Greek mag last summer and I was amazed the response. Another post you would like is Normandy. It’s in two parts, search the posts and read about a late friend who was in the transport corps picking up wounded soldiers in a Rolls during WW2. She was eventually evacuated as the German forces moved west. I have published on the blog parts of her personal diary. For an author such as yourself it would be a great drama/love story to write, yes love story as she met a Spitfire pilot as se moved west, she married him. If you want to know more about her and he surviving family let me know.

      Regards Fred

  14. colin and shanti says:

    Hi It was great meating you both in the flesh in the art class in Fairbourne

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Colin

      Likewise good to meet with you.

      Fred and Bev

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Colin and Shanti

      Thanks for the contact. Bev and I were pleased to meet you as well. Your activities at the art class is commendable, all those in the class seemed to be enjoying the experience. One day I will stop and concentrate on my artistic skills but for the moment there is little time as Bev and I like to be ‘Out There’.

      Fred and Bev

  15. Holly says:

    We found your b-bear at the deli in Oxford on White House road. We will leave him here for you to pick up. Safe travels to you. We enjoyed meeting you and hearing about your adventures. What an inspiration!

  16. Stefan and Emma says:

    Hey Fred and Bev
    Met you today in Wanstead High Street and discussed travel, cycling and sailing. You are very inspirational to all people wanting to travel. I will follow your blog and hope to keep in contact.
    Stefan

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Stefan and Emma

      Pleased to meet with you, it amazes me how people ‘passing in the night’ as it were have similar interests. One of my desires has been to go to sea, but I think I have left my run a little late. For those reading these comments Stefan and Emma are soon to set off in their yacht from England on an around the world voyage. Bev and I have found yacht travellers a friendly lot. Bev and I were sea kayaking off the coast of Tasmania and the owners of a large yacht sheltering in a bay invited us to come aboard for Christmas dinner, we were cold and wet but unfortunately the swell was too great and we couldn’t get out of our kayaks. Yacht owners are for the most parts a happy lot and I think it’s because they have made their mark, worked hard and when they get on the water they intend enjoying the experience as best they can.

      Looking forward to following you movements, stay safe on the high seas and may you have many hours on the beach when you get into warm climes. If you get to OZ let us know.

      Fred and Bev

  17. Catherine Poole says:

    Met you tonight in tarifa!

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Catherine

      Thankyou for making contacting us via the blog. Bev and I are in Fez at the moment. We have done Tangiers over and an amazing Rif Mountain village, it was all blue. Hope you enjoyed your time in Tarifa.

      Fred and Be. Hope you go to Morocco one day, if you do let us know and we will set you strait where to stay etc.

  18. Loz nads Kieran and Lewis says:

    G’day there Bev and Fred, it’s great to know that you’re both making the next odyssey and we’re looking forward to hearing about your adventures. May you travels deliver you many new unexpected and inspiring adventures! Love the maps, blog and inspiration.

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Nadine and Laurence and boys

      Bev and I cannot tell you how many times we think of you all. For readers of tbear blog Bev and I stayed with Nadine and Laurence in Perth during Encountering the Past Part 1. At the time Perth experienced the worst storms ever and we were glad they took us in.

      During the past three years of our travels we have experienced times when we needed a bolt hole and staying with you was one of the best bolt holes we have been in.

      If you read my reply to Max and Judy (posted today) you can read about what we have been up to and what’s planned fro Encountering the Past Part 3. We are still planning and we hope it will eventuate.

      Fred and Bev

  19. Max Giblin says:

    Marvelous photos for we two armchair travellers – brings back your delightful visit to our seaside cottage, south east Tasmania and also Maria Island. We are once more watching the Australian Open which was on telly when you visited you may recall. Nice your family has grown loved your grandchildren pictures. Love Max and Judi

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Max and Judy
      Pleased to hear from you via tbear. Bev and I have just returned home after being on our catamaran over on the coast. We have found a spot where we could live (other than Tassie of course), I am going to write about the spot in a future post. To come on the blog is Sweden, the history of maps including the most boring map in the world the progressive map on aeroplanes.

      Encountering the past Part 3 is now in the planning, we are thinking of going to UK buying a small used van, put a mattress (accommodation covered) in the back and a small canoe on top. One thing we have always wanted to do is canoe/camp the English and Irish canals. Bev and I lived in England back in the 1970s and 1980s so we have many stories to tell. We are so looking forward to getting on the road and writing and photographing the adventure. Hope to revisit India on the way back, that’s if we can get a visa (hard to get out of Australia).

      Hope all going well in your camp….we must come to Tassie again one day…maybe in our old age!!!

      Keep well Fred and Bev.

      P.S. There is a new tear (lost old tear in Dresden as you know). The new bear is called b bear he will make a show soon.

  20. marina gray says:

    Hi Bev and Fred just came across your blog – great reading. I well remember your trip in the 80;s when you found us in Terowie. Let me know if after all your world travels, you make it to the Terowie region again. Would love to catch up!! Think of you and the boys often Love Marina

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Marina

      Blow me down, Stone the crows fancy hearing from you after all these years. Yes, Terowie days were great days. Tim lives on Thursday Island and travels all the islands in Torres Strait and Toby after training as a photographer and film maker is now a builder. We will one day meet again. In the meantime stay in contact.

      Love Fred and Bev

  21. Great read.. good to hear you will be home. nothing nicer than your own bed and hot showers..xoxo
    Fenella Jane

    • tbeartravels says:

      Fenella
      Good to hear from you. Yes we are home but Bev is complaining our bed is too hard. Worst bed on trip was a fold out lounge and the best was at a swiss friends house in Zurich. Avid readers of our blog will know we are running behind, I’m writing normandy d day beaches at the moment and will post the story next week. A lot more to go tho, bike riding in Denmark and Sweden.

      May see you soon fj. Fred and Bev

  22. John Mc Sweeney says:

    Hi Fred and Bev,
    Lovely to meet you both at the Grand Hotel, Thursday Island, hope to catch up after the school holidays when we return to the Torres Straits, regards, John Mc Sweeney. Love the Blog

  23. Raymond Dart says:

    Hi Fred and Bev,
    We are thrilled that your trip is going so well, We ourselves are off to China and a Yangtze River cruise and then on to Myanmar to visit Yangon, Began, Mandalay and inle Lake before resting up in Hong kong on the way home. Continue to travel safely and keep sending those photos.

    • tbeartravels says:

      Raymond
      Bev and I appreciate your comments. We find it hard to believe we have done what we have, riding bikes to Berlin along the north flowing rivers. It has been a trip we will never forget. Maybe you could blog your forthcoming trip, be warned though it becomes addictive. Safe travels.
      Fred and Bev

  24. toby says:

    The photos are bloody good.

    • tbeartravels says:

      Toby
      Thanks for the positive comment re pics, we appreciate the comment when it comes from a pro. My Cannon SLR fell off the bed onto a carpet floor in Bangkok and broke the lens lock natches so now looking for another lens. Keep plugging.
      Fred and Bev

  25. Di Woodward says:

    Hi Fred and Bev,
    It was good to meet you in Malestroit, Brittany, France today. I shall be following your blog with interest. Richard and Di Woodward.

    • tbeartravels says:

      Di and Richard
      Good to meet you too. As we travel we meet some interesting people with stories to tell. Please start writing your memoirs, when you do you will find memories buried deep in the past will re-emerge. We wait anxiously for the first chapter.
      Fred and Bev

  26. Monika and Giulia Wojdyla says:

    Hi still sitting in the train… Finally Guilia dropped off !!!!! And i can relax a bit… Nice meeting u guys! Come around to Cudrefin (opposite of Neuchatel- u can catch the boat, bikes for free) for a cup of coffee! Bye moni and Giulia

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Monika and Julia
      Thanks for the invitation. Great to meet with you both. For readers not knowing what we are talking about Bev and I met Monika and her 15 months old daughter on a train travelling from St Gallen to Bern (Switzerland). This is what travelling is all about , meeting new people and sharing their life stories. Julia is such a happy baby and it’s because her mother is open, friendly and happy. We feel we have picked up another grandchild.
      Fred and Bev

  27. Chris Coutinho says:

    Howdy Fred and Bev,

    It was a pleasure meeting the both of you this afternoon in Nigrita. I’m impressed with the quality of photos you have on your blog, and you have no doubt gained a fellow supporter. I wish you the best on your second odyssey.

    Ciao,
    Chris

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Chris

      Would you believe we met two people by the name of Chris on the same day in Nigrita. One an American bike rider heading for Istanbul and the second and I assume it is you in a cafe. Anyway thanks for the contact, we are pleased to hear from all willing to take the time to encourage us on our way.

      Fred and Bev

  28. Pete and Di Lane, Marian, Queensland says:

    Howdy Fred and Bev. Looking forward with interest to the 2014 Odyssey. Travel safely. Cheers, Pete and Di Lane

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Pete and Di

      Thanks for the contact. We have been meaning to put you on our email list but somehow you are not on it. Please send us an email…you have the address.

      Bev and I are in Thessaloniki gathering ourselves together before the next leg to Zurich. I am a little behind with the blog and the reason is I can’t help putting in detail and gathering the info and researching takes so much time. There is no doubt going into the detail is a learning curve for us both. I find it difficult to understand what people who travel with out the desire to learn get out of travel.

      Keep plugging Fred and Bev

  29. Toby Hillier says:

    Righto, heres my comment. Look forward to the next installments of the retirees travels. Xxo

  30. Hi Fred,
    Angus Douglas here, getting in touch after a long absence of reply after your enquiry about my father-in-law’s melted Land Rover. He said he’s fine with you featuring photos. It is a pretty attention grabbing thing; that trail of molten aluminium. After they dusted themselves off following the big fire, Tim levered the now solid aluminium blob off the gravel and he now has it mounted as a three metre long sculpture on the side of the only surviving shed. The other sheds had numerous types of stuff inside which also melted such as boxes of preserving jars which turned into strange coagulated twisted pools of glass, two motorbikes, a bunch of filing cabinets that turned into mausoleums of completely charred, carbonised silver pages. I mention this not to revel in the grim scenes following a bushfire but to emphasise that there was absolutely no remaining wood left on site, just the altered forms of metal, glass and ceramic.
    By the way, the blog is fantastic and inspiring, thanks for all the seemingly incidental details, which animate the stories.
    Angus

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Angus

      Thanks for the liquid Landrover pics, when I have time I will edit them into the post of our Encountering the Past Odyssey Part 1. I will let you know when I do. Re the fire…of all threats fire is no doubt the worst. Hope you and your family are getting back to normal.

      Thanks again Fred and Bev.

  31. Ray and maree Dart says:

    Hi Fred and Bev,

    Maree and I will follow your travels with much interest as we are inveterate travellers ourselves and are ever rewady to here of new places and adventures.

    Ray and Maree Dart

  32. Ann Gaites says:

    Hi I found your site and shared it on face book

    • tbeartravels says:

      Dear Ann
      I’m pleased you are now plugged into tbeartravels. I suggest you read the reply I have made to a couple of readers re our future adventures.
      Regards Fred and Bev

  33. Hi Beautiful Bev. and Fearless Fred,
    I do apologise for failing to respond earlier to your blog. Even now I have not read all your odyssey. I am so involved in horticultural and botanical activites and events that other than time for reading and domestic household tasks, spare time is elusive. Be assured, however, I shall read it..

    Not having read your blog yet, I am not acquainted with your botanical questions but would dearly like to answer them so be patient and when I eventually read the chronicle, I shall answer to the best of my ability.
    Take care and thank you for keeping in touch; love and best wishes from us both,
    David and Anne

  34. Erika Angst says:

    Hi Fred and Bev, I have just entered your blog for the first time. Although you had mentionned it some time ago. Sorry 🙂 It’s great to read about your trip. You are such an extraordinary couple. It’s wonderful to have met you 22 years ago in Moonbi. Looking forward to seeing you in December. Will now visit your blog regularly. Love, Erika and family

  35. Pieta Mott says:

    Hiya Bears,
    Following you with envy. Can’t wait to explore the travels. Hope you’re both well. Cya. PM

  36. Raymond McLaren says:

    Hi Fred and BEv, thanks for introducing me to the world of blogs, we should hav had these in the days of scrounging at Carr;s junk place in 1970/s will keep up wioth your journey and hope all goes well with ther sections “outside Austrlalia”, where camp;ing out can be “different”.

    Safe journey

    Raymond McLaren Moonbi

  37. Hi Bev and Fred.
    Found your site and have enjoyed it. Joanne and I will be watching with interest as you go along. Our old site where2pedalto.com is still around though only for archival purposes these days. Our new blog is at 2wander-yonder.blogspot.com.au/ in case you want to catch up with our travels (not sure you will have time though :).
    Take care and stay safe.
    Andrew and Joanne

  38. Meg Roberts says:

    It will be so interesting to follow your travels on this blog. Who had ever heard of blogs, and websites and internet when you did the earlier journeys? Enjoy your trip, we will be tagging along.
    Love to you both.

  39. Teddy says:

    What a woman that Bev was and still is!!!! No wonder you grabbed her Fred!! Love Teddy Bear xx

  40. Bill Hall says:

    Hi Fred, This is going to be a very interesting read for me. Even on this first page there are many things I never knew about you and Bev. Looking forward to reading more. I still remember my days at Moonbi working in the Pottery shed and helping with the mud brick buildings.. Great times. Hope all is well. Bill.

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