Puglia – Manfredonia and Gargona National Park

Manfredonia sits at the northern end of Puglia on the Adriatic Sea, nestled, south of the Gargona Promontory.

Its a lively town with a big fishing fleet and wonderful seafood restaurants.

It’s flanked by beaches.

And wet lands

The Gargona National Park is on a plateau with ancient forests, amazing motorcycling roads, and historic towns and villages.

Monte Sant’Angelo is a UNESCO World Heritage village perched up on the Gargona Escarpment. It is recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

The Sactuary of Saint Michael the Archangel is in a cave church dating back to the 9th century.

The village is indeed beautiful with views to the sea, beautiful old pedestrian walkways, and beautiful local food

Sicily- Ortigia and Etna

Having managed some sleep on the chaotic overnight ferry trip from Cagliari (Sardinia) to Palermo (Sicily), arriving at 5am, there was plenty of time to cross the Island to Syracuse.

While the heat wave conditions in Europe had eased, it was still summer, and at Syracuse, the Mediterranean called.

Ortigia is an ancient walled city on a little Islet in Syracuse. Its history dates back to 700bc. Its been Phonecean, Greek ,Roman,,, and now Italian.

Mount Etna looms over the east coast of Sicily, huffing and puffing steam and smoke.

The European and African push together in Sicily, and it’s at Etna that the steam of that collision is let off.

The road around Mount Etna is a fantastic ride up the mountain to the high village where there is a gondola and unimog bus to the volcano craters.

The steam coming from the Etna was impressive. Especially given that there had only recently had an eruption.

Sicily is close to northern Africa and is a frontline destination for people escaping was and issues of changing climate in Africa.

In Syracuse, a humanitarian rescue ship is replenishing.

At the harbour at Messina, there is a memorial to those who have died fleeing war and hunger.

Then, it was another ferry to Calabria on the Italian mainland.

The Balkans and scars of war

After arriving in Croatia I travelled north to the beautiful Gacka Valley with the aim of staying a few days in his beautiful part of the country.

I booked a room in the small village of Zalznica and looked forward to exploring the area.

Dinner that night was at Bistro JELEN, where I became a regular.

I asked the chef, Zeljko, about hiking in the area. He warned me to stay to the trails as may still be land mines in the forest. This was my first encounter with the scars of the Balkans civil war, that raged from 1991 to 1999 and in some places like the Serbia/Kosovo border still happening.

In Mostar, the scars are still visible on the streets where brutal fighting in close quarters took place.

The scars are also visible in the small cemetaries that are dotted through the countryside. I couldn’t bring myself to photograph any. As one photo could not represent the large number of these new cemetaries or the death contained there.

The Massacre at Srebrenica is a documented war crime from the Balkan wars.

At Blagaj, near Mostar, there is a Sufi Mosque that sits above one on the largest springs in Europe.

This cushion sits in the little reading room of the most. A memorial to the Massacre at Srebrenica.

Travelling through the Balkan Countries. Monuments to.war are a regular occurrence.

In 2019, I visited Ljubjana, where there is a monument to the Peasant Uprisings. A moving monument that remembers the slavic peoples revolts against the Austro/Hungarian Empire.

ANZAC COVE, holds a special place in Australian history and mythology. Being so close to Gallipoli, where the Cove is located, I decided to visit. What’s another 1000km or so anyway.

I have always wondered why the Gallipoli campaign is so important. Australian forces took part in an attempt to invade Turkey. Turkey had only recently joined WW1 on the side of Germany.

The attack was a total failure with enormous casualties on both sides.

There are monuments to the dead on both sides.

It was said that WW1 was the war to end all wars.

In Australia, on ANZAC Day and Armistice Day, we all say Lest We Forget. But we do forget as the war ploughs headlong into more wars, more suffering, more death.

A few weeks after travelling through Kosovo, there was a fire fight near the Serbian/Kosovo border, killing 8 people. I had been near there.

Dear friends and followers, I’ve struggled with the ever-present reminders of war I encountered in the Balkans. Hence, this blog.

Normal broadcasting of lighthearted travel and adventure stories can now resume.

Where have I been???

Dear friends and followers,

It’s been a long time since I have written and many thousands of kilometres have been covered in that time.

Back home now in Australia, spring has sprung and its time catch up on tales my latest European Adventure before I commence this summers adventures.

But before I go into reflection a little local update.

Since arriving home I’ve bought a new motorbike, a beautiful Moto Guźzi v85tt.

Taking it to do a bit of show and tell at the Spaghetti Rally, a fantastic rally run by the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoia.

I’ll give a give a bit of a snapshot of where I went in Europe this year. Before doing more detailed posts on the destinations.

First, there was Sicily,

Then …



San Marino








North Macedonia


White Din waterfall


St Malo


I spent longer in some countries than others and especially in Greece and Turkey, only touched these large and diverse countries. But all this will be explained in future blogs.

For now, it is good to be home with family and friends. Its spring time and in my favourite places the wading birds are arriving nesting mating and having babies.

Lifes wonderful circle.

Dorgali to Santa Maria Navarrese on the west of Sardinia.

Dorgali is a sprawling city in mountains on the west coast of Sardinia.

It has some beautiful street art and if you are prepared to walk up some steep steps wonderful views to be had.

But it’s the road south through the mountains on the western side of Sardinia that is the real reason for going to Dorgali.

This road is in perfect condition and the views sublime!


Santa Maria Navesse is a beautiful coastal village. There are a number of good quality camping grounds right on the clean beach.

Just a beautiful place to end an amazing ride.

For those considering the ferry from Cagliari to Palermo then it’s a nice ride to catch the evening overnight ferry.

The quiet of Santa Maria Navesse was in total contrast to the absolute chaos of the Grimaldi Lines ferry to Sicily. But that’s a story for another blog!