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.

The 100th Anniversary of Moto Guzzi at Mandello de Lario

Dear friends and followers this post is an unabashed dedication to Moto Guzzi. My Brevas have carried me faultlessly for near on 200,000km in Australia and 100,000km in Europe over the last 10 years. Many of you have followed those adventures.

Coming to Mandello in many ways is the culmination of my European Adventure. An adventure that started in 2016 and has taken me from the west coast of Ireland to the Romanian coast of the Black Sea and from the Actic Circle in Norway to the edge of the Sahara in Morocco. And so many places in between.

It was a huge celebration in Mandello. The official estimate is that 60,000 people attended the party.

A celebration of the great marque Moto Guzzi and motorcycling in general. The party had been delayed a year due to the pandemic so everyone was ready to celebrate.

A must view part of a visit to Moto Guzzi is the refurbished museum.

There is even a mighty Breva in the museum.

But the main action was in the streets.

And of course Mandello put on the food and wine.

Absolutely amazing gelato cups

Local wine and Pizza with my mechanic mate Baldrick

And a spit roast oven big enough to roast a whole cow!

Saturday night the music played loud. As the locals and visitors alike tucked into the cow with polenta.

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Five amazing years travelling Europe, meeting beautiful people who are now friends. Falling in love in Europe with Europe, guided by the goddess Europa.

Thank you Moto Guzzi the motorcycle marque on the Lake Como, the Lake of Dreams. Happy 100th Anniversary!

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.

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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.