Impressions of Spain 2 – Cadiz


Old City

3000 years old

Inhabited by





Through to

the Spanish “Golden Years”


Walls of Old Cadiz
Castillo de San Sebastian



Gold and other trade from the Americas

Trading through its port

Building a flourishing city

Grand Cathedral


Cadiz Cathedral



Henry Moore’s Reclining Woman beside the Cadiz Cathedral

Filled with the silver and gold

flowing from the Americas


Silver alter in a Cathedral chapel

Now a coastal tourist city

Port of ferries, cruise and cargo ships

old town and new

new ways and old

The wonderful passion of spain










Impressions of Spain 1 – the Spanish

I saw the Dutch as having a stoic inner strength as a result of the battle the with external forces.

The Spanish temperament is shaped by the battle with their own wild passion.

Separatists in the Basque country and Catalonia seeking their own expression.

Civil ways




Living in the shadow of Spain’s “Glory Years”.


Parade on Hispanic Day dressed as in the “Glory Days” in Plaza Del Sol

“Glory Years” that spread Spanish culture to the Americas, Africa and distant corner so the world.

Especially in the Americas where the Hispanic culture is still strong.

As it shows on the Hispanic Day parade from Plaza de Mayor of the Hispanic groups.

So the passionate Spaniards celebrate with parades of national days and saint days.


With a 100 or more buglers and drummers leading the parade of the patron saint of Cadiz

But in many ways the flamenco dance captures the raw passionate energy of Spain

The wild swing or the body

The rapid fire stamping of the feet

The dancer lost in the raw energy of the moment

The wild expression of the inner passion.



Flamenco dancer


Bouillon, Belgium beer, 7000+ kms, and the Moto Guzzi European adventure draws to a close.

The Breva parked beside the Semios River in Bouillon

After over 7,000ks traversing swathes of southern Germany,  Switzerland,  France with some tastes of Austria, Italy and Spain, there was Bouillon.

View of the Bouillon fort from the bar of the youth hostel

Second taste of Belgium on this adventure  and a further taste of beautiful Belgium beer.

I discussed the best beers in the world with a couple of Dutch and Germans in Coles Bay, Tasmania. All extolling our nationalistic beer pride when others turned to me and said as one;

You haven’t had Belgium beer.  The really make the best.”

And drinking a duvel over looking the Bouillon I seconded their opinion.

Bouillon was a bitter sweet discovery.

Bouillon in beautiful as is the Semios Valley.

Looking up to the fort from the Hotel De La Poste

The last night of the Moto Guzzi adventure – as the next day was Nijmegen where this part of the European adventure stated only a short 3 weeks earlier.

The mighty Breva had completed over 7000k visited 7 countries. Racing down, unrestricted motorways, climbing ridiculously steep tracks, and through narrow lanes barely wider than the pannier cases without missing a beat.

The mighty Breva ready to be shipped back to Australia

It was part of the European adventure that finished there.

I’m sitting in Madrid having visited one of the oldest cities in Europe,  Cadiz and walked the grounds of the amazing Alhambra and as the might Breva crosses the Indian Ocean in its crate it’s a good time to write the closing blog on that part of the adventure.

Impressions of the Netherlands and the Dutch 

Having spent, off and on, a couple of weeks in the Netherlands and travelling a couple of thousand kilometres across Europe with a bunch of of Dutch Moto Guzzi riders has left me with some powerful impressions of this place and the people.

The core of the Dutch people are caught up in their history.

Having succeeded from the rule of Spain the Dutch have faced constant threat of invasion.

The Threatened Swan by Jan Asseljin

In the Rijksmuseum, The Threatened Swan, captures this aspect the Netherlands constantly threatened by the dogs of war.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Incorporated into France under Napoleon

Brutal occupation by Germany in WWII despite declaring neutrality.

There is the constant fight to maintain control of there country.

In the Rijksmuseum there is a further insight

Up past The Night Watch

On the third floor there plays a documentary video about the Dutch and the constant battle to control water.

Reclaimed land from the sea and mighty rivers

fighting flood and inundation

Maas River at Nijmegen

Water in the huge rivers flowing through the country to the sea.

Basillica Saint Nicholas on the Amstel Dam

Water in the canals and behind the dams and dykes of Amsterdam.

Tilting aparment buildings sured up against subsidence as the water tries to reclaim the land it once covered.

It’s this fight for control from outside forces that give the Dutch a core strength, an inner stoicism.

But the Dutch are more than stoic.

Ride from Nijmegen in the Netherlands to Mandello De Lario in northern Italy

Riding with an eclectic  group of Dutchies over 8 days revealed a certain joi de vivre that sat well aside the stoic determination.

An eclectic group; women on classic bikes, old veterans of the tour, white haired old men on new bikes, riders from all walks of life. All pushing hard on the tortuously twisty routes through southern Germany, Austria, the Swiss and Italian Alps to Mandello.

Beer list not wine list in Amsterdam

Every night laughter good food and of course beer.

The Dutch love to laugh, and drink the beers they are so proud of without losing control.

After all beer is mostly water!

Catalonia and the Pyrenees – part 3 the Midi Pyrenees

After the drama of the Pyrenees the Midi Pyrenees of southern France more rolling hills. With:

Chateau de la Prade near Brams

Tree lined canals


The Midi Canal


With elegant locks

And deep gorges formed by the Alzou river

Gorge de l’Alzou

And as if hanging from the face of the mighty gorges,

The village of Rocamadour

Rocamadour, chateau, church and village

Rocamadour has its origins in the 4th century, and developed through the medieval times. It is a place of miracles,  shrine of the Black Madonna and survived the Cathar Wars which may be a miracle in itself.

The Midi Pyrenees opened the door to northern France, the beautiful Loire Valley,  and the bountiful fields running up to the Belgian border.

Rocamadour, has an amazing goat cheese, some say the best goat cheeze