Summer is finally in Victoria, Australia

On a clear warm spring day with a touch of summer in the air there is no better place to head the down the Great Ocean Road for a ride with a friend.

One of my favourite stops on the Great Ocean Road is Wye River, a beautiful beachside village.

The Wye General Store Cafe is a great spot for lunch and a cold beer on a hot day.

I should have gone for a swim in the Southern Ocean while there but the riding was just too good.

Mid week, little traffic, no wind and warm on this beautiful road. Perfect biking conditions.

So back home it was on the bicycle and down to Williamstown Beach, my local, for a dip.

The weather is still going to be volatile in Australia’s south east but summer is definitely in the air.

And on a warm evening Melbourne shows off her colours when you look across the bay from Williamstown.

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.

Vignettes in Tuscany

After crossing the Cols from France into Italy (http://piecemealadventurer.com/2022/09/06/three-col-passes-to-italy/) I headed south to the Mediterranean coast and then east to Tuscany as I had a little time before I wanted to be at Lake Como.

From Savona to Lavante the road winds from coastal Mediterranean and over the headlands and through the sprawling city of Genova.

How lucky was I when this lovely young Swiss couple couple asked my to join them for dinner in Trigosa.

Next day it was a long ride along the coast to Tuscany and the village of Altopascio.

Murals around the town mark that the village is a stop on the pilgrim trail with many walkers in the village.

A day in Florence gave me a taste of the beautiful city and a plan to return.

Over the mountains from Altopascio is the other iconic city of Bologna. Famous for inventing Bolognese sauce, lasagne and mortadella so a city famous for its food and for its porticos.

And towers

Bologna is on of the oldest cities in Europe and home to Europe’s first university. In many ways Bologna is still a university city.

But it’s history shows through with Roman artefacts all around like this statue in the corner of the entrance to the University Law School.

And of course Bologna is the home of Ducati. The other great Marque in the north of Italy.

From Tuscany it was a pleasant day ride over the mountains to Lake Como

And the story from Lake Como you have already read.

Three Col (passes) to Italy

From Gorge du Verdon the choice is to head to the French Mediterranean or into the Alps.

I chose the Alps a big U turn into the Alps before crossing to Italy and on to Tuscany.

Before there big passes including the biggest in Europe I couldn’t resist this little one. Every Michael should visit it!

This little Colle sits above the Vale du Verdon

I had followed the Verdon River north toward its source and found a beautiful valley and and the La Colle St Michel.

It’s a remote farming area in France and negotiating the mobs of sheep took me back home to Australia

Then I was up.in the Alps at the Col d Allos

The source of two major rivers in Provence.

And the view!

The next Col though was La Bonette the highest pass is Europe.

Enjoy the view

The weather was looking threatening so it’s was a quick ride with a short stop to take inthe view from the Col de Lombardy, which sits on the France/Italian Border.

I found a little camping in the tiny village of Forani. They had a caravan for hire.

It rained all night, I was snug in a caravan and woke in Italy to amazing views.

Fez – Morocco’s oldest city.

The long ferry ride from Santander in Spain and Portsmouth in England is a good place to catch up on the Moroccan blog.

Fez was my major city experience in Morocco. I couldn’t neglect Morocco’s oldest city, home to the world’s oldest University in the labyrinthine Medina.

Fez is a big bustling city and here I encountered the motorised tout. The motorised rides along besides you on a nippy scooter talking away about where you from, how long have you been in Morocco etc etc. Meanwhile I’m trying to navigate the Moroccan traffic and follow the directions instructions from the GPS. Just as your totally bamboozled the the key question comes. ‘Which hotel are you staying at?’ I divulge the name and next thing the full loaded Mighty Breva following a little scooter nipping through the streets of Fez.

At the hotel, next morning at the cafe across our registered guide will be waiting to lead a private tour of the old city.

He was a great guide and navigating the old Medina without a guide would really be a challenge in navigation and interpretation.

The leather dying vats are an iconic part of the old city.

As is the camel butcher.

The copper smiths

The fabric sellers

And the winding alleyways and heavy doors that the porte to Mosques, Synagogues, residences of the rich and poor

Of course one of those doors leads to the oldest university in the world.

From the high points of the city you can gain a view of the Medina by day

And by night

Inside the Medina the roof of the carpet seller gives a good view across the roof tops.

Did I say carpet seller??? Whoops I bought another rug!!

Fez was the Moroccan city I really wanted to visit and if didn’t disappoint. Maybe a different city next time.