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!

In and around Lake Como

I arrived at one of northern Italy’s nicest camp grounds Rivabella in Lecco a couple of days before the start of the Moto Guzzi 100+1 anniversary.

What a view to have every morning.

And every night.

The Moto Guzzi factory is in Mandello del Lario on the shores of Lake Como. The 100th festival ran from 8-11 September. But that’s for the next blog. This one is about the setting.

Lake Como and Mandello del Lario are just beautiful. This was my fourth visit here 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022 and each time I’m taken by the beauty.

The Lake is surrounded by high mountains. Mount Muggio is just under 1800 metres high and provides spectacular views of the Lake of Dreams.

It’s a bit of a climb from the carpark. 4.4km return trip and 260 metre elevation climb. But as the video shows worth every step.

My dream to come to the 100th anniversary in Mandello del Lario was the impetuous of 5 years of motorcycle touring adventure in Europe and Morocco.

On my last morning at the camp site it was grey and still and the reflections were sharp on the still water. It’s my last time here. So goodbye Lake of Dreams, dreams can come true!

Gorge du Verdon a walker and rider’s dream

The Gorge du Verdon in Provence offers spectacular riding and views from the top of the Gorge and walks up the cliff face and through the Gorge.

Unfortunately due to the long drought in Europe the water levels I n the Verdon River were low but the views still spectacular. And the cold water inviting for a soak on a hot day.

Castellane was my base for exploring the Gorge.

The imposing rock at the edge of the town provides a first glimpse down the Gorge.

Point Sublime is about 17km along the Gorge Road from Castellane and is a starting point for a number of Gorge walks and for canyoning.

The short ride to the Point gave a taste of the riding joys to come but first day was hiking.

It’s about a 300 metre decent down into the gorge a 1 km walk.

At the bottom of the gorge the first stop has to be a dip in the river.

The walk along the Gorge floor follows a tracks, sometimes beside the river, sometimes cut into the cliff and sometimes a tunnel through the cliff.

The next day was for exploring the road around the top of the Gorge and ended up doing some storm dodging and chasing but what views!!!

Some have said the Gorge du Verdon is amongst the most beautiful places in Europe. I won’t argue.

It certainly makes a wonderful backdrop for the Mighty Breva.

Dear friends a lot happened between La Rochelle and Castellane. I’m in Tuscany now and a lot has happened since Castellane. Sometimes adventuring gets in the way of blogging. Luckily this is a discontinuous narrative and I can fill in the gaps later.

La Rochelle, a fortified harbour.

La Rochelle is a wonderful maritime city on the Bay of Biscay. A busy fortified harbour and trading port since the 13th century it is now more orientated toward recreation boating and maritime history.

And the old port is beautiful.

By day…

And by night

In the historic maritime area next to the old port there is the Maritime museum with a collection of historic vessels.

A major reason that I visited La Rochelle was to see Bernard Moitessier’s yacht Joshua.

If you don’t know the story of Mortessier I encourage you to click on the link above.

Unfortunately, Joshua was undergoing renovation so I could only view this historic vessel from the outside.

After a couple of days at the Municipal Camping Ground in La Rochelle it was time to load up the Mighty Breva and continue my pilgrimage to Mandello de Lario

Have you heard of the Moncoutant photographic exhibition.

Moncoutant sur Sevre is a beautiful village in Deax Servages and each year it hosts a amazing outdoor photographic exhibition.

I’ve been lucky to be to 4 exhibitions.

It’s not just the quality of the images but the curating in placement around the Village. I have tried to capture both aspects of the exhibition.

Near to Montoucant is the Fortified Farm B&B. A fantastic place to stop take a break when heading east across France toward the Alps or beyond.

The rain had started when I arrived in France. A friend suggested I might be made a saint for breaking the drought!

I was happy to have a bed rather that putting up a tent, thanks to my hosts.

It wasn’t all wet and Jazz the whippet enjoyed the sun.

And me a walk in the forest.

At cloudless night and the low light of rural France gave a clear view of the Milky Way.

A perfect way to finish a stay with the most hospitable hosts in France.