Looking back at 2022 and the beautiful places visited

New Years Day 2023 is a good time to reflect on some of the beautiful places I has the opportunity to visit.

Beautiful places in Australia, Europe and the UK and in Morocco.

It’s hard to believe that Australia still had its borders closed this time last year.

So January 2022 started with friends in Queensland as part of a road trip 1,900 km north from Melbourne. A PCR test had been needed to get into Queensland to celebrate the New Year

The travel highlight of February was the Snowy Mountains National Park in New South Wales. The Alps of Australia for some camping and trail riding.

Toward the end of February, Australia’s international borders re-opened and the possibility of international travel became real again. April

March offered an opportunity to explore the Snowy River National Park, the famous McKillops Bridge that spans a small gorge cut by the Snowy River as it makes its way to the sea at Marlo.

In April I headed up to the beautiful beaches of Northern New South Wales to catch up with some friends and catch some late Australian Summer before flying to England.

I had been touring my BMW adventure bike most of summer, so it was a good chance to riding the Mighty Moto Guzzi Breva before collecting its English Sister!

I’d swapped Australian late summer for England’s April showers. But in April I had May on my mind. May was for Morocco a dream trip that became the victim of the pandemic in 2020.

So May was just Morocco. Could have been many months what a trip.

It was back to the Iberian Peninsula in June. Spain and Portugal.

July I was back in the UK for the summer heat wave and a bit of culture.

August it was back to the Continent landing in Brittany to commence my trek to Mandelo del Lario for the Moto Guzzi 100th anniversary celebration. So August was France.

September 1, I crossed into Italy.

October was back to England and flying back to Australia.

Back home in October and November there was a chance to revisit some of my favourite places and with lots of rain a chance to chase waterfalls.

December is a blog in print.

And now it’s 2023!

Happy New Year peace and good will to all.

A visit to Kinglake National Park, Victoria, Australia

The Kinglake National Park is a short day trip from Melbourne and in many ways is a remarkable example of forest regeneration.

Up until 1927 the forest at Kinglake was logged to supply timber for a growing Melbourne. Then in 2009 the Black Friday Bushfires decimated the forest and many of the surrounding villages. The forest still bares the scars of the fires as it continues to regenerate.

Scars like the burnt out trunks of the trees that didn’t survive, and the still blackened wood showing under the moss and fungi of those that did.

It was a cold and misty morning in the hills. Only 7c when I got there but the was still signs of spring.

And after all the recent rain the creeks and waterfalls were running strong.

It was a bumpy dirty ride down the muddy tracks on the might Breva on a cold morning but certainly worth it.

The signs of Spring are around.

The Noon Flowers are in full bloom at the salt Marsh in the Jawbone Reserve.

Also the water birds are returning to the mangroves and mudflats to feed and breed. The wet conditions in inland Australia may mean that some birds may not come to the coast but stay in the inland wetland. But it was great to see some arrivals like;

Spoonbills;

Egrets;

White faced herons;

And the old friend that rarely leave, the Australian Pelican. This one was catching a fish. Hunting, priming, then strike. Two attempts for two fish.

There are also beautiful views in and from the reserve.

Another sign of spring is finally here was the nice turn up of Guzzis at the monthly coffee catchup on Saturday.

A collection of bikes at the coffee kiosk in Lygon Street an Italian Hub in Melbourne

While it’s still a battle for Spring to kick winter out the door, it will prevail. Such is the cycle of the seasons. Meanwhile way up north in Queensland. Julia Creek has experienced its hottest ever October day- 43.9c.

When travelling in Europe people ask me – What is the weather like in Australia? I answer – It depends where and when. The above is a good example of why!

Lovely rides north of London

It’s hard to believe that my nearly 6 month northern hemisphere adventure is coming to and end. I arrived in budding april days of spring and leaving in the October autumn. Flying south back to Melbourne in a few days.

I have been back in England for a couple of weeks and indulging in some local rides. In the UK there are places designated as Areas of Natural Beauty and these are where I head.

The Cotswolds is one such place with rolling hills and farmland and villages built from the local stone dotted through the land scape.

A little further north of the Cotswolds are the Shropshire Hills . Close to the Welsh border and the Severn River Valley it’s the entree rides around the hills of the Midlands and their network of canals.

East of London there are villages such as Thaxted with its beautiful old buildings.

And if you are lucky you may see a Master Tthatcher at work rethatching a roof.

Maldon on the east coast is home to the fleet of Thames Sailing Barges. Beautiful little ships that carried cargo along the east coast of England for over a century and a half.

The sailor in me marvels at the skill of the sailors of these Barges who sailed them loaded with cargo up and down streams and inlets with 5 metre tides flowing quickly. The true sailors skill.

The mighty breva is off getting serviced ready for storage as I prepare to head back to Australia. Master mechanic and friend Badrick has given me his Moto Guzzi 1200 sport to ride as he works on the Breva. That’s what guzzista do.

A day in Cinque Terra (Five Villages)

Vernazza

The early autumn weather on the Italian Mediterranean has some of the intense heat taken out of it. Perfect for a day for exploring the Cinque Terra.

The easiest way to explore the five villages of the Cinque Terra is by train and foot.

There had been a storm in the Mediterranean overnight with gave a cool breeze.

And some uncommonly wild waves for the Mediterranean. Both at Vernaza and Riomaggiora

There is a series of walking paths the connect the five coastal villages of the Cinque Terra.

I chose to take the coastal walk from Vernazza to Corniglia and enjoy the coastal views

And the views were worth it.

I visited three villages.

Vernazza

Corniglia

And Riomaggiora which I think was the most beautiful

This was really the last part of this adventure as now a tired piecemeal adventurer and a tired mighty Breva wind our way back to England.

An overnight in Boccadasse a little piece of the old Mediterranean in Genoa.

Before catching the ferry to Barcelona

And the sun sets as the ferry says goodbye to Italy for this trip.