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.
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
SOUTH: Morocco Archives August 2015 and scroll to Tangier Part 1. Scroll down to Tangier Part 1 and read on to Part 2.
Archives August 2015 Morocco and read from Chefchaouen, the Blue Town Part 1 onwards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The following photographs show the diversity of the places we have visited over the years including images since commencing our blog in 2012.
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.
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.
For a journey around Switzerland search Archives July 2014. Scroll down to Switzerland: Out and About.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is difficult to imagine how building materials were conveyed to the tops of the mountains.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
If you appreciate tiles go to Archives June 2015. Scroll down to Lisbon Part 1 & 2 and Archives November 2015 Barcelona.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On this morning there was a frost but fortunately no ice on the bike path. Archives June 2018. Canal cycling France .
Many bike paths are converted railway lines; the image above was once a train tunnel. Archives November 2017. Scroll down to Slovenia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Setts are squared stone, whereas cobblestones are water worn river stones. Archives June 2015. Lisbon Part 1.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Archives September 2012. Scroll down to Days 14 and 15 East of Fitzroy Crossing to Port Smith.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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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.