Fast tracked to great grandma❣️

Reuben's challenge letter N

Four generations headed to Italy for a gelato. The only way to get there was to take the Bernina Express scenic rail from Davos, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy. 

 

 our picnic on the train, fresh bread rolls,  Appenzeller cheese and Ovaltine choccy biscuits 

our picnic on the train, fresh bread rolls,  Appenzeller cheese and Ovaltine choccy biscuits 

Our train journey took all day so we took some picnic supplies with us. Andreas is one of the gardeners at Schatzalp and spent much of the journey kindly naming the plants and butterflies along the track for us.  Franzi and I are garden volunteers and we just couldn't leave behind Franzi's lovable four month old son Edi. 

 

 

 this cheese is so Swiss you can hear these guys yodelling. 

this cheese is so Swiss you can hear these guys yodelling. 

This train journey is an engineering masterpiece. We crossed over nearly 200 bridges and viaducts and went through 55 tunnels. Most of these were built over 100 years ago. Combine these feats with the stunning landscape some of it well above 2000m no wonder it is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The train carriages have awesome windows and the last carriage has no Windows at all.   

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 Franzi practicing her Royal Wave ❣️ 

Franzi practicing her Royal Wave ❣️ 

The train, powered by electricity, zigzags up and down the mountainsides and when there is not enough space for the train to make these turns they simply build a tunnel and the train does a big spiral loop inside the mountain, and you don't realise this has happened until you emerge back into the daylight again and recognise the track you were on, crosses underneath you. 

 

 

 the Brusio Circular Viaduct from below

the Brusio Circular Viaduct from below

 and from above. 

and from above. 

Then it was downhill all the way into Italy.  In Tirano, our destination for gelato, the train runs down the Main Street. 

 

 I got a wave from the sidecar people. Franzi still practicing her Royal wave. 

I got a wave from the sidecar people. Franzi still practicing her Royal wave. 

Once we got to Tirano, elevation 400 m it was hot, well hot for us mountain folk, so we wandered around town til we found a cool shady garden terrace for lunch.  

 

 Ok. So we're in Italy!! 

Ok. So we're in Italy!! 

 Andreas and Edi have a little smile time while

Andreas and Edi have a little smile time while

 Franzi and I have big smile times eating  

Franzi and I have big smile times eating  

 Gelato desserts.  

Gelato desserts.  

 As if I didn't lick my dish clean Harri and Monti ( because I'm in Italy) thought they'd help!  

As if I didn't lick my dish clean Harri and Monti ( because I'm in Italy) thought they'd help!  

Then we had just enough time to have a wander around town, find a takeaway gelato shop and tuck in!  

 Franzi has got that wave thing happening again.  

Franzi has got that wave thing happening again.  

Then more of the fabulous scenery on the way home. 

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So thankyou Rueben for suggesting I take the Bernina Express, I loved it.  

And as Rueben suggested I should try some brouli, I haven't but one of the gardeners gave me a small bottle of her homemade special brew. Her label says

ALPINUM EROFFNUNES, TRUNK, 2018

it tastes like it's very healthy. I haven't climbed a mountain to sip it from the summit, but after climbing up and down the garden slopes each day it feels like I've reached the top of the Matterhorn each day. So Rueben let's say I've completed both your challenge suggestions, in a round about way❣️❣️ 

Sweeping the floor of my heart

Feeling out of sorts for the last week.  

Upon reflection these are the things I realised about myself. 

i don't do well without my green veggies

too much sugar, bread and cheese is not good for my kidney

And people with big feet, often have big plans and suffer from burnout

 

so ive found it rather difficult to write anything at all. Once I get back on the bike I'll find my mojo again I'm sure.  In the next week I have two lots of Aussie visitors, that will do me some good too.  

PS a paragliding flight lifts ones spirits❣️ 

Soaring with the eagles

Tbc ❣️❣️❣️

Sincere apologies to Rolly and challenge letter L

 

 Yes, I took this photo, almost eyeball to eyeball with this big bird!!

Yes, I took this photo, almost eyeball to eyeball with this big bird!!

Rolly, bless him,  suggested I do the Contra Dam Wall bungee jump while I'm in Switzerland. 

 James Bond in Golden Eye did this 220 m fall!!  

James Bond in Golden Eye did this 220 m fall!!  

And sadly I can't make the jump without a medical certificate and even with one I doubt I'd be able to overcome the fear of making that leap! I know if I could, and did my world would change. I would have the confidence to tackle absolutely anything.  

My best suggestion to Rolly was then to offer to do a 1000 m drop without a bungee cord. All he could say way, CHICKEN! 

 Looking at the eagle, with fellow motorcyclist and my pilot Robert Geisch.  

Looking at the eagle, with fellow motorcyclist and my pilot Robert Geisch.  

After much deliberation and messaging with Rolly this is what I decided to do. A tandem paraglide with www.joyride-paragliding .ch

My pilot, as luck would have it, is a fellow motorcyclist and if his schedule allows we may do a ride together when I finish in the garden.  

 

 

 Bye bye for now now, I'm off on my flight.  

Bye bye for now now, I'm off on my flight.  

 looking over Davos, Switzerland. 

looking over Davos, Switzerland. 

 Getting lift! 

Getting lift! 

 100 nylon strings keeping me in suspenders!! 

100 nylon strings keeping me in suspenders!! 

 We were lucky to get such a good flight with that weather in the background.  

We were lucky to get such a good flight with that weather in the background.  

Footage courtesy of Rustic Gentlemans Motorcycle Adventures. 

 Safe landing after 50 minute flight from 3000m to just below 2000 m  

Safe landing after 50 minute flight from 3000m to just below 2000 m  

Now it's back to the garden before the weather changes. 

 and it did, this is what I was rewarded with at the end of the day. 

and it did, this is what I was rewarded with at the end of the day. 

My first day in Switzerland went like this . . .


After spending two days on Lake Maggiore in Italy I headed off early to make it to Davos by 4pm for my garden induction. 10 km up the road is the border crossing into Switzerland.  I had my passport ready, all the bike papers, rego and insurance, knew there was some kind of road tax I needed to purchase and goodness knows what else they would want. 

 The border guard was very excited to meet and Australian motorcyclist!  

The border guard was very excited to meet and Australian motorcyclist!  

I bought the pass, he put the sticker on my bike and away I went. Wow, that was easy.

 The first town I came to hung out a big welcome flag!!  The road tax sticker on left of wind shield. 

The first town I came to hung out a big welcome flag!!  The road tax sticker on left of wind shield. 

So now somewhere for breakfast and maybe refuel too. I found a lovely little bar/cafe in a small village. Oops, I don't know what language they are speaking so I use the only international language i know of signing and body language. I sit outside listening to Hotel California, doesn't anybody in Europe play anything else? And along comes my chocolate, croissant, butter and jam. All made in Switzerland and then once the music is turned down I look across the field and can hear the goats with their tinkling bells.

 Even the knife is Victorinox     

Even the knife is Victorinox  

 

Then it got really funny. There were two old blokes sitting in the corner, one got up to leave and I noticed he had a stuffed toy hanging in a bag in the front of his three wheeler. I raced out with Harri, perfect photo op! His stuffed toy was animated and would repeat what ever you said. It really was funny and if you ever see one in a toy shop, my birthday is in April❣️❣️

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As I'm heading north into the incredible mountains of Switzerland wondering how on earth do they make roads to go over these mountains, I come across a gorgeous little village called Zillis. Well that's close enough to my long time sanity-saver best friend and snorkelling buddy, Margot's surname -Zilles, I think what better place to have lunch. Lots of history centred around the church here and I'm sure MArgot has ancestors from here. 

 Happy church, in the sunshine.  

Happy church, in the sunshine.  

 Margot's ancestors boot outside my lunch spot.  

Margot's ancestors boot outside my lunch spot.  

Then I realise they make tunnels to get you through these mountains, but I did find the amazing San Bernadino Pass and along with lots of other motorcyclists and a few very well muscled cyclists up and over I went. Check out this road. 

 And this is only part of it.  

And this is only part of it.  

Riding down the other side was not quite as spectacular but I still needed to stop and take it all in. I rode across a field to have a look at these huts that dot the hillsides.  

 

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 This would be a sign for the fresh same day cheese the locals make, that Rolly was telling me about.  

This would be a sign for the fresh same day cheese the locals make, that Rolly was telling me about.  

z

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Than as I get closer to Davos I look up and there half way up the mountain is my hotel and home for the next three weeks.  

 In town I ride past this truck. Good Ol' Fibonacci. Very timely that I should see this today.  

In town I ride past this truck. Good Ol' Fibonacci. Very timely that I should see this today.  

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I knew to go to the funicular ticket office in town and collect my ticket. Once I mentioned my name the fellow said, oh some mail came for you today and presented me with a letter from my dear pal, Johnny. He sent me a packet of photos of his menagerie. Lovely gesture.  

 Home and office!! 

Home and office!! 

 After dinner three of us newbies decided to hike up the mountain, Andreas was planning to camp out and Claudia and I walked up for about an hour until I said my "stair legs" needed a break.  

After dinner three of us newbies decided to hike up the mountain, Andreas was planning to camp out and Claudia and I walked up for about an hour until I said my "stair legs" needed a break.  

 Time to head down the hill and listen to the cow bells tinkling.  

Time to head down the hill and listen to the cow bells tinkling.  

Can you believe it? All that happened in one day. And some people think I'm resting!! Haha. ❣️❣️❣️ 

Half way to heaven

sunscreen required. 

The schatzalp alpinum is about 2000 m above sea level. After dinner tonight some of us hiked up to what felt like about 3000 m, it was getting cooler that's for sure. We crossed fields of wildflowers where cows with their tinkling bells grazed. 

 

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Tbc❣️❣️ 

 Schatzalp hotel. My room is at the back facing the ski runs. 

Schatzalp hotel. My room is at the back facing the ski runs. 

it's worth looking at the hotel website, there is a tab for the garden and it can be translated to English. Www.schatzalp.ch  should work.  

Access to the hotel is up the very steep funicular rail. I then was shown the rough, steep gravel road to bring the bike up as I didn't really want to leave it in town for the next three weeks.  

 

 

 looking down on Davos. 

looking down on Davos. 

Thomas Manns classic Magic Mountain was set here in the mountains where hotels were used as infirmaries for rich Europeans with TB. They have made a movie of the novel and used this hotel. So much is the same, it's wonderful to be walking through the dining room, out onto the sun balconies, using the really wide doorways, walking along the passages where doctors whispered. I love it. I'm living on a movie set!! 

 

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There are five of us volunteers, from five different countries. Aust, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Spain and Germany.  We all manage with different levels of English. Klaus, the head gardener, whom I had the good fortune to meet at Cradle two years ago, and his protege Andreas are both German. They will keep us busy. Our food is just as multicultural: fruit from all over the world and hot dishes of all descriptions. The kitchen staff love us gardeners as we are big eaters!! 

Visitors to the gardens are from all over the world too. Many Japanese, they love to be shown an eidelweiss. Europeans, English, Aussies, it's a little United Nations up here in the Alps.  

 

 Swiss flag with edelweiss in centre. Not quite booming. 

Swiss flag with edelweiss in centre. Not quite booming. 

 peonies and poppies are so huge!! Bigger than a handspan. 

peonies and poppies are so huge!! Bigger than a handspan. 

 Is that the Matterhorn?? 

Is that the Matterhorn?? 

 up where the cattle graze in summer and skiers schoosh down hill in winter. 

up where the cattle graze in summer and skiers schoosh down hill in winter. 

The whole resort is really quite spectacular and has an interesting history. Easier for you to read about I using their website. The garden has many areas, kitchen, alpine meadows, moor, big five ( peonies, poppies, delphiniums, day lilies and iris), waterfall, poisonous plants, tiny Alpine plants, herb garden and new areas to rehabilitate the damage done by avalanches. Then there are the potting sheds, propagating areas, nursery for different climates, compost piles, timber, gravel, tool sheds and wheelbarrows and small tractor and trailers. It's a massive operation, basically run my one man, a small staff and a handful of volunteers and three cats!!

 

 

 guests dining area overlooking part of the front lawn. 

guests dining area overlooking part of the front lawn. 

 view from my room towards the snow fields. 

view from my room towards the snow fields. 

 Function dining area  

Function dining area  

 Wide passages make the hallways seem so elegant.  

Wide passages make the hallways seem so elegant.  

SANATORIUM SCHATZALP- HOTEL SCHATZALP The co-builder of this monumental and architecturally valuable reinforced concrete building and the Schatzalpbahn as a feeder was Willem Jan Holsboer, on whose initiative the first stretch of the Rhaetian Railway in 1890 led to Davos. The present-day Art Nouveau Hotel Schatzalp was built in a visionary and pioneering way in the years 1898-1900 by the young Zurich architects Otto Pfleghard & Max Haefeli and opened on 21 December 1900. The Schatzalp was conceived as a luxury sanatorium and was the most advanced sanatorium for tuberculosis sufferers in Europe. First practicing chief physician was dr. Luzius Spengler, son of spa founder Alexander Spengler and son-in-law of Willem Jan Holsboer. With the invention of streptomycin in 1946, tuberculosis was defeated for the time being. Thus, the Schatzalp had served as a sanatorium and 1953 was converted into a hotel. The soul of the house, the architecture, is largely preserved. Even today, the dining room, the conversation room and even a few guest rooms are as they were 100 years ago. The magical romanticism that Thomas Mann had inspired to his novel is still noticeable and visible on the Schatzalp.

Funny faces at the lake today.


After yesterday's hot and horrible day across north west Italy it was an absolute pleasure to ride along some of the lakes around the Swiss -Italian border. 

The first lake I came across was Lago D'Orta. Picture postcard scenery.  

I found a spot between the luxury homes to park the bike and a place to have a swim. I was surprised the water was not chilly. It was very clear and inviting!  

 

 pano of Lago d'orta 

pano of Lago d'orta 

Little villages scattered all along the lake shore. Each village will have several churches and you can hear the girls tolling from across the lake. Beautiful!   

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 my jacket etc is in a pile on the shore. 

my jacket etc is in a pile on the shore. 

 happy face, back in the water❣️

happy face, back in the water❣️

 Harri has a companion for Italy. The little ladybird is from Montipulciano, a pressie from Debora after her visit there last year.  

Harri has a companion for Italy. The little ladybird is from Montipulciano, a pressie from Debora after her visit there last year.  

 lunch on lake maggiore. Great lunch, great view!! Chocolate box scenery. 

lunch on lake maggiore. Great lunch, great view!! Chocolate box scenery. 

 my hotel for two nights. I'm so comfy I don't want to leave. 

my hotel for two nights. I'm so comfy I don't want to leave. 

 the view from my room 

the view from my room 

 another village across the lake. 

another village across the lake. 

 I snorkelled around to the next beach, used for camping. All set up with toilets, community kitchen and laundry. 

I snorkelled around to the next beach, used for camping. All set up with toilets, community kitchen and laundry. 

 funny face 1

funny face 1

 funny face 2

funny face 2

 funny face 3

funny face 3

 funny face 4

funny face 4

 funny feet 

funny feet 

 my hot chocolate world map waterproof shoes!! 

my hot chocolate world map waterproof shoes!! 

Mastering the art of hairpin turns.

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Riding bikes in north east Victoria gives you plenty of cornering practice, up and down Tawonga Gap, Falls Creek Road, Great Alpine Road, Up and down Mt Buffalo, Granya Gap and the list continues. 

In Tasmania there are 8 hairpin turns on the road to Deloraine coming off the Great Lakes. Elephant pass and Hellyer Gorge are also fabulous riding, as is most of Tassie. A motorcyclists heaven.  

 near the French Italian border, I crossed it so many times that day I got confused as to which country I was in. 

near the French Italian border, I crossed it so many times that day I got confused as to which country I was in. 

To corner masterfully one needs to be able to multitask and at the same time do as Confucius said "When cornering on a motorcycle, think ONLY cornering on a motorcycle" 

hmm, so one needs to think about

~ choosing your line, -the traffic around you, - the road surface,- your seating position, -looking through the corner to find the apex, -position of your feet on footrests, - speed, -braking, -acceleration, and the state of your heart 

 Dades Gorge in Morocco 

Dades Gorge in Morocco 

 near Ronda in southern Spain, this road had many zig zags as it went up over the pass. 

near Ronda in southern Spain, this road had many zig zags as it went up over the pass. 

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 northern Spain, tricky road surface. 

northern Spain, tricky road surface. 

 San Bernadino Pass in Switzerland. Unreal!!!

San Bernadino Pass in Switzerland. Unreal!!!

 more of San Bernadino. 

more of San Bernadino. 

 just another Swiss road!!

just another Swiss road!!

 my GPS just after crossing into Switzerland 

my GPS just after crossing into Switzerland 

and then of course that's all on bitumen, so now think about how all that works on gravel, up hill and downhill❣️❣️

 on my way up to the hotel. 

on my way up to the hotel. 

 Hairpin bend on a walking track near Schatzalp hotel. 

Hairpin bend on a walking track near Schatzalp hotel. 

 an exotic hairpin bend, the Bernina Express scenic train does this amazing loop back under itself!! 

an exotic hairpin bend, the Bernina Express scenic train does this amazing loop back under itself!! 

Cassis

Sitting down and bringing out your map, is like bees to honey. It's very easy to strike up a conversation when your map is open. Virginia,  the very helpful English woman from the bike shop in Montpellier gave me lots of tips for great motorcycling roads, some I had ridden, some were in a direction I was not travelling but the road to Cassis was what I decided to do. Cassis is a tiny coastal village squeezed into a narrow cove with huge cliffs either side. The roads in and out of course are windy and full of hairpins. More practice!! Once in town I headed straight for the beach to swim. 

 Yes, it did remind me of my friend who has a little yellow car!! 

Yes, it did remind me of my friend who has a little yellow car!! 

 Cliffs to the south

Cliffs to the south

 And cliffs to the north

And cliffs to the north

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 Another very popular pebbly beach. Harri on duty again.  

Another very popular pebbly beach. Harri on duty again.  

 Yes, I did enjoy my swim, then back on the bike and off to St Tropez for more swimming.  

Yes, I did enjoy my swim, then back on the bike and off to St Tropez for more swimming.  

Beatrice and the lady in pink!

Perched on top of a ridge between Nice and Monaco is the pink residence of Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild. Built in the 1880's, it reeks of luxury in an understated way. The home, painted pink as are all the flowering plants, has a central courtyard and a clever roof design that makes you think it's open air. The rooms are huge and decorated with an amazing art collection. Ceramics and furniture too. The Baroness was well travelled, seemed to have an unlimited budget and a tasteful eye for art and home furnishings. 

 wearing my pink dress, and pink soxy beast sox. Completely a coincidence. 

wearing my pink dress, and pink soxy beast sox. Completely a coincidence. 

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 Her home took ten years to build, and it's beautiful. Parking doesn't allow for coaches, so visiting numbers are modest and it's very peaceful wandering around the villa and superbe gardens. 

Her home took ten years to build, and it's beautiful. Parking doesn't allow for coaches, so visiting numbers are modest and it's very peaceful wandering around the villa and superbe gardens. 

 Even the marble columns are pink. 

Even the marble columns are pink. 

 beautiful floral arrangement. 

beautiful floral arrangement. 

 Part of the formal gardens from the upstairs window. The fountains dance to classical music, softly and gently. 

Part of the formal gardens from the upstairs window. The fountains dance to classical music, softly and gently. 

 a door knocker for my walking buddies who have done or plan to do the Camino Trail. 

a door knocker for my walking buddies who have done or plan to do the Camino Trail. 

 The view over the Mediteranean, understated!

The view over the Mediteranean, understated!

 the ceiling in one of the dining rooms. 

the ceiling in one of the dining rooms. 

 Well kept Rose garden on the south side of the ridge. There are 7 different garden rooms. All beautiful. 

Well kept Rose garden on the south side of the ridge. There are 7 different garden rooms. All beautiful. 

Moroccan Farinata and Nic's challenge letter F

here am I thinking a farinata is a bean dish. Quite excited about trying this dish in Nice I head off from Cannes ready for my farinata. The plan: arrive at one of the restaurant strips along the waterfront, park, decide which cafe to eat at after checking menus, go for a swim, come back order my farinata and eat it in the sun to let my swimming clothes, ie dress, 

execution of plan: choose my restaurant strip in Nice, opposite uncrowded beach with a few luxury hatches and cruise ships moored on the bay. See moto parking sign and park in shade by another bike in front of cafes. Great. I'll be able to keep and eye on bike and gear.  

 Lucy's family name is Bourchier, close enough for me to make this a good omen. Francios Boucher was a painter in 17C France. Some of his work is part of the collection of art work in the Rothchilds Gardens.

Lucy's family name is Bourchier, close enough for me to make this a good omen. Francios Boucher was a painter in 17C France. Some of his work is part of the collection of art work in the Rothchilds Gardens.

 milky waters of bay in Nice

milky waters of bay in Nice

 Harri minds my bag and riding pants inside out trying to dry them from swim in Cannes earlier in day. 

Harri minds my bag and riding pants inside out trying to dry them from swim in Cannes earlier in day. 

 

Back to my chosen cafe. It's Moroccan, ok, great for me. They have a bean dish, not quite a farinata though. It's a tagine of beans and artichokes, yum. I haven't had a tajine since Morocco. And of course I order Moroccan tea to have as well. The waiter poured the tea at the table, usual ceremony of pouring glass then back in the pot and pour again, several times. The tea was beautiful, lots of fresh mint and not too much sugar. 

The tajine was awesome, all veggies and smooth Moroccan spices. So I sat at a sunny table overlooking the Mediterranean in my wet dress having a lovely time. 

 

 my bean tajine was served with feather light cous cous. Parfait!    

my bean tajine was served with feather light cous cous. Parfait! 

 

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If you look closely under the red awning you can see a municipal police car and two police men. They were looking at the bike. Nothing unusual about that. With my TAS rego plate the bike gets a lot of attention. Back to enjoying my tea and tajine. Oops. I think he's touched my bike!  I fly out of my seat and yes there is a green slip of paper neatly placed under my helmet visor. Monsieur  Monsieur , Je Sius Australien, moto is australien! I show them the sign for bike parking, oh! It's got an arrow on it.😩  They chat briefly with me showing me where to park, retrieve the green slip and get in their car and drive away!! Gotta be happy with that. 

Back to pay my bill at the cafe. or was it my cafe!! 

 

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Oh, I didn't realise my dress had only partially dried. Waiters name was Mohammed! More jokes about mountains followed.  

Now I can tell you that a farinata is a flat crispy chickpea pancake. And yesterday in St Tropez at my fave lunch and dinner cafe for two days, after dinner on the second day they brought me a little dish to try. They explained it was a local delicacy, and it was. Light and crispy, and cut into triangles. I loved it. So quite unknowingly I've had my farinata but in st tropez not Nice. How about that!!  

 

 

 farinata a la st tropez!! 

farinata a la st tropez!! 

some history to the Farinata, or Socce as its locally known.

It's most likely this chickpea pancake originally came from North Africa. As the Moors sailed around the Mediterranean it became a staple dish and the north coast Mediteraneans adopted it as there own. It most popular from Cannes around to Genoa and the locals call it Socce translating to dish of unity, as all the ports and early explorers shared the Mediterranean and referred to it as "our " sea. 

I expect that I'll be able to have Socce in more coast towns as I move around the coast.  Looking  forward to that.  

my bnb host from Garessio saw that I had farinata written on my map, I was thrilled that he could share his local knowledge with me. Thanks. Maxi.  

French Riviera - Cote d'Azur

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I've swum/snorkelled at all four main beaches of the French Riviera.  

Starting from the southern end at St Tropez I spent a couple of days mooching around, found a nice pebbly little cove for snorkelling and long sandy beaches for swimming.  

 I love this photo. I was a bit thrilled to find an old wooden boat called St Stopez.  

I love this photo. I was a bit thrilled to find an old wooden boat called St Stopez.  

 A beautiful pair of old anchors in the breakwater.  

A beautiful pair of old anchors in the breakwater.  

 Moi looking through the anchor. Refer postscript at bottom of page. ❣️ 

Moi looking through the anchor. Refer postscript at bottom of page. ❣️ 

 How fabulous is this. A Sant Troupes boat!!  

How fabulous is this. A Sant Troupes boat!!  

 

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Private pebbly cove near st tropez, perfect for me.  

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Hey, I'm snorkelling in the Med!!  

 

 riding north- east along the coast I come to Cannes, convenient moto parking. 

riding north- east along the coast I come to Cannes, convenient moto parking. 

 Lovely little beaches and bridges all along the coastal road.  

Lovely little beaches and bridges all along the coastal road.  

 Swimming in my dress at Cannes  

Swimming in my dress at Cannes  

 Drying off a little before I head off to lunch in Nice.  

Drying off a little before I head off to lunch in Nice.  

 Cannes sculpture

Cannes sculpture

 Cannes Carlton. No sign of Margaret or David. I wonder what they are doing now??  

Cannes Carlton. No sign of Margaret or David. I wonder what they are doing now??  

 My reflection in Mr Zippy's Merc.  

My reflection in Mr Zippy's Merc.  

And on to Nice.  

 A pebbly beach just across from a cafe strip. My blue bag being minded by Harri.  

A pebbly beach just across from a cafe strip. My blue bag being minded by Harri.  

More about my stay in Nice in Nic's "farinata and Nic's letter challenge F"  

and then the richest of the rich seem to hang out in Monte Carlo.  

 Someone from the yatch club, I'm thinking not the Commodore.  

Someone from the yatch club, I'm thinking not the Commodore.  

 Swimming in Monaco, Water craft of all shapes and sizes along the coast. This cruiser was not even one of the big ones! and didn't fit into the marina! 

Swimming in Monaco, Water craft of all shapes and sizes along the coast. This cruiser was not even one of the big ones! and didn't fit into the marina! 

 Harri sunning himself at Monaco.  

Harri sunning himself at Monaco.  

 On this beautiful little cove just along from the Monte Carlo Marina.  

On this beautiful little cove just along from the Monte Carlo Marina.  

 Parked outside the Monaco Yatch Club, this Roller may belong to the Commodore.  

Parked outside the Monaco Yatch Club, this Roller may belong to the Commodore.  

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Monaco Yatch Club building is the multi-storey building in left of photo.  

 The black hulled water craft are really eye catching.  

The black hulled water craft are really eye catching.  

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Just inland from St Tropez is the village of Saint Exupery. I was wondering where the little prince might be when I rode past a hotel. " the petit prince". Cool.  

And now for the hat story.  

I'm walking home from the beach, clothed, but maybe with a cheeky grin, wearing my dear old red hat. Well it was red when I bought it in 2006 at the Henty Field Days. It's now faded to pink! Four young guys walk past and one says something about a Bon chapeau to me. We chat briefly and I say the only French phrase I know, thanks to Mitchell, whom I've been practicing this phrase on for five years  

Bon jour Monsieur, que'l belle barbre.  

He's stoked and goes off with an extra spring in his step. Meanwhile I continue back to my guest house and attempt to relay the conversation to my friendly host. From what I can understand, the young fellows were wishing me a pleasant day, and I guess the intention of my well practiced phrase was exactly the same. 

 

Marseilles and the Greeks

tbc ❣️❣️

Marseille, would have to be the oldest port city on the Mediteranean. Ihas been a crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 B.C. I would expect Socce to be on many a menu, but I didn't know that when I passed through Marseille. Not being a fan of big cities I had attempted to skirt around the city on my way to Cassis, but alas, a combination of Me misreading the GPS, road works and fate I ended up in the thick of it. Hmmm Time for a cuppa. I park infront of the Windsor, got to be safe there!! 

 the Windsor!!!  I walked across the road to a sweet little cafe and while I waited for my fresh orange juice and almond croissant I noticed lots of people with wheel trolleys, like the ones you take to Vic Market, but these people seemed to have all their worldly goods on board. Across the side street was an impressive set of steps. 

the Windsor!!!

I walked across the road to a sweet little cafe and while I waited for my fresh orange juice and almond croissant I noticed lots of people with wheel trolleys, like the ones you take to Vic Market, but these people seemed to have all their worldly goods on board. Across the side street was an impressive set of steps. 

 The set of steps up to the railway station.   I asked the waitress about the building at the top of the steps, nothing less than the Saint Charles railway station. She suggested I take the elevator to the top for a view of the city and then come down the steps. She would mind my helmet and jacket while I did that. Super!!

The set of steps up to the railway station. 

I asked the waitress about the building at the top of the steps, nothing less than the Saint Charles railway station. She suggested I take the elevator to the top for a view of the city and then come down the steps. She would mind my helmet and jacket while I did that. Super!!

 this plan was actually on the wall in the cafe. 

this plan was actually on the wall in the cafe. 

 said station! 

said station! 

 rail map for Marseille 

rail map for Marseille 

 Picasso exhibition in town. 

Picasso exhibition in town. 

From the top of the station you could see right across the city to the Sea and quite a few of the cathedrals. The main one being Basilica 

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The. It has a huge museum, built over many of the Greek ruins. At the time that was quite a contentious issue.

 Greek influence is reflected in this statue on the steps of the Station. 

Greek influence is reflected in this statue on the steps of the Station. 

 There were half a dozen of these beautiful sculptures on the station steps. 

There were half a dozen of these beautiful sculptures on the station steps. 

 beautiful flowering tree at the bottom of the station steps. 

beautiful flowering tree at the bottom of the station steps. 

 More of the cityscape form the top of the station.  

More of the cityscape form the top of the station.  

My solstice swim and Jamie's challenge letter S


St Tropez despite all he glitz and glam still has a village feel about it. I parked my bike in the cafe strip, cafes on one side, whopping great boats on the other!! Wandered around up to the old clock tower/ fort building and back down again looking for the Olive Restaurant. Found it, but it wasn't opening until later. So now to find a beach for Jamie's challenge. Stevie A had mentioned some of the quieter beaches are a bit further round the coast. That will suit me. With no photographer friends in sight I had to be a bit creative with this shot. I managed to take a few selfies, most of which are quite appalling. I sent the best of them to Tash and asked her to wave her magical wand over them. This is what she's done. Very clever!! 

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Seven cradle summers ago Tash taught me to snorkel in Dove lake. Since then I have had several winter solstice swims in Dove Lake, and if that's not been possible, Bass Strait and the Derwent River have been great spots for a quick winter swim.

This year of course I'm in St Tropez. Parc Naturale, I always thought was French for National Park and there are plenty of them along the French coast. It turns out that Naturale is as in Nature or Nude. So it's a sorry day when you don't learn something. Swimming and Sun baking without clothes is what the French like to do. Easy to find a beach, Parc Naturale , that's for sure so off I go with by snorkel and mask. 

 

 

 I saw lots of little fishies

I saw lots of little fishies

 and they saw me!!

and they saw me!!

I spent most of one day beach-roaming around St Tropez and got to thinking about the Moroccans and what they might wear swimming.  

 

 Tuareg style, with the wind like it was in the Sahara.  

Tuareg style, with the wind like it was in the Sahara.  

 Moroccan Muslim style lying on my new sarong.  Sarong side up. 

Moroccan Muslim style lying on my new sarong.  Sarong side up. 

 And then there is towel head after washing my hair in the shower!!  

And then there is towel head after washing my hair in the shower!!  

Bouquets all 'round.

Not a brick bat in sight and Annie celebrates with a beer!!!  

 guichard moto in Montpellier, Royal Enfield and IndIAN dealers 

guichard moto in Montpellier, Royal Enfield and IndIAN dealers 

For the last week the key in my ignition has felt loose so after some email discussion with Rick the Royal Enfield dealer in Tassie, I decided to contact the Royal Enfield dealer in Montpellier in southern France. A few emails later and a phone call to them, prompted by Bernie and Shayne, I have the bike booked in and a guarantee they have the replacement ignition.

 outside the dealers waiting to go in

outside the dealers waiting to go in

Easy ride to the dealers and they ride the bike through their showroom, mostly Indians, to the workshop out the back. One hour later, all done and I'm on the road again.

 they ride my bike through the showroom to the workshop at the back 

they ride my bike through the showroom to the workshop at the back 

But not for long, the bike stalled, I started it again with difficulty, went another 500 m and it stopped again. I'm on a freeway!! No phone and no one looks like stopping. After about 15 mins, and it felt like 2 hours, a car stopped. Oh gosh!  My knight in shining armour steps out, phone in hand, and he's speaking English. Jackpot. And I was thinking thank goodness I have a sleeping bag because I could be here all night. 

 knight in shining armours chariot!!

knight in shining armours chariot!!

He rings the French automobile association, I gave him the number as I am a RACT roadside assist member I can get help in most European countries. Eventually after Police, highway breakdown and auto association all got involved the bike is taken to the nearest bike shop. Jackpot. While waiting on the roadside I discover my knight is a paratrooper in the Army, part time McGyver and Ducati owner who knows the guys at the nearest bike shop. 

 oh well??

oh well??

The Royal Enfield guys said they'd come and get me the next day, it's already 7 pm by this stage. Frederique from Moto34 said he'd store my bike overnight and asked the mechanic to run me around to the local motel. Jackpot. they had wifi and I spent the night emailing Rick again, bodyguard George and Dr Rob to try an second guess the problem and possible solutions, then I went to sleep, sort of!! 

I walked back the next morning and went with the bike back to the Royal Enfield dealer.. the first thing the mechanics did was open the fuel cap, and a big whoosh happened. Jackpot. When they replaced the ignition barrel they also replaced the lockable fuel cap and the lockable under seat access so I would only need one key for all three locks. 

It was very funny when I pointed out my bike has a carburettor, they had fun trying to pronounce that in French, then I showed them my choke, well they'd never heard of one of those on a motorcycle. All bikes in Europe have to have fuel ignition, not carbies. Ten minutes later my bike was ready to go, with the original fuel cap. All done. 

 one of the happy crew at Guichards 

one of the happy crew at Guichards 

So bouquets to

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Rick at Mountain Engineering

bodyguard George on the Gold Coast

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Dr Rob in Rome and

my knight in shining armour who shall remain nameless

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Frederique and his mechanic at moto34

Bernie and Shayne for making me make a phone call to Guichards to confirm booking 

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Virginia, the English receptionist at RE dealer, that was a stroke of luck when I made the call

Eric and Max at Giuchard Motos who were involved in initial emails

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the happy guys out the back, including the young fellow who picked up my bike

and  Thierry, Guzzi riding in-house upholsterer, who bought me lunch and a beer!!! (Alcohol free) 

 Thierry and Virginia, and my beer is the little one. 

Thierry and Virginia, and my beer is the little one. 

 

SPOT the difference

During the planning stage of my trip I resisted the suggestions to travel with a SPOT, an SOS gps locating beacon. The short version is that I am now travelling with one, and glad of that. Dr Rob and other Hobart friends pooled resources and presented me with my SPOT just before I left.  

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now you see it

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And now you don't! 

 

Riding the country roads partularly in northern Spain, every time deer scarpered across the road in front of me I was pretty glad to know my SPOT was in my jacket pocket.  

 

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now you see it?  My bandana detected itself from the fifth floor clothes line and floated down to Thi first floor porch roof. 😟

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Now you don't! 

 

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now you see me!

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Now you don't  

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That's because I moved over here to enjoy the view across the Spanish country side.  

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Now you see the mirror

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Now you don't. This beautiful little mirror was part of the Moorish inspired decorations in Anahids bnb in Ronda 

Sunday at Catalunya.

what a day!! It started well with morning coffee at the track with Dr Rob from Hobart and Adrian from Mildura. Rob arrived from the wheels and waves festival in Biarritz via the trans euro trail across the Pyrenees and Adrian has been roaring around Europe on his Hyabusa having a great time catching up with mates! Including moi!

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Winners are grinners, we didn't know then of course that Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo would win moto Gp and Adrian is sporting a collectors item, Jack Miller cap. And I'm just me of course. 

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Rossis fan club do a great job waving their flags, this is on the warm up lap today. During the race they do not wave their flags so as not to distract him. 

 Rossi was coming fourth behind Lorenzo, Marquez then Dovi. Dovi fell off after lap 10 then Rossi progressed to third position. These three then made up the podium. Lorenzo was so strong all weekend he had to win!,   lots of action in the remaining riders including one bike catching on fire.  

Rossi was coming fourth behind Lorenzo, Marquez then Dovi. Dovi fell off after lap 10 then Rossi progressed to third position. These three then made up the podium. Lorenzo was so strong all weekend he had to win!, 

lots of action in the remaining riders including one bike catching on fire.  

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Rossi stopped by his fan stand for a big wave after the race finished. He and most other riders carried #77 flags on their victory lap and as a mark of respect for the tragic death last week of a junior champion rider as the result of a crash here at Catalunya no champagne was used on the podium.  

 celebrating in the hospitality area with two Swiss Rossi fans. One of them mentioned his Dad used to race at Isle of Man.  Check out these guys at the bottom of the page. They sent me this vid!!! 

celebrating in the hospitality area with two Swiss Rossi fans. One of them mentioned his Dad used to race at Isle of Man.  Check out these guys at the bottom of the page. They sent me this vid!!! 

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My turn to celebrate a podium win for Rossi.  

 Then back to the hotel and short walk to the beach for a swim in the Mediterranean.. 

Then back to the hotel and short walk to the beach for a swim in the Mediterranean.. 

So I've been to a MotoGP outside of Australia and had a wonderful day, and weekend really so now it's off to France to catch up with Aussie friends in southern France on my way to Davos in Switzerland. 

Saturday at Catalunya


 

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Mixing it with all the rich and famous in the gp village.  

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Of course little Harri had his ticket too.  

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The hospitality tent was very great. Lots of food and drinks, seating, shade, music, close to track with great view of big screens and our own grandstand next door.. 

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Our seats were right at the start of the main straight. Plenty of action to watch on this last corner before the riders power on down the straight. The main grandstand is massive. The anticipated crowd for Sunday is expected to reach 150,000.  

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Marc Marquez on the big screen recovering from an enormous knee scraping slide. 

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Rossi leading the way in one of the practice sessions

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And at the top off the leader board for warm up session this morning.  

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panorama from our grandstand seat. 

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And someone forgot to spray the thistles!!! 

Friday at Catalunya.

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I was up early this morning and road to the track. Privelidged carparking!! My riding gear securely tied to my bike while I wandered around in shorts and a tee shirt. 

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sitting in the main grandstand, large enough for 4000 fans!! From here I could see right into Rossi's garage. The medical centre is to the right of the very tall building. It has med centre, hospital and helipad for emergencies. 

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I've not seen one this big for a long time!! 

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Rossi on the big screen. Big screens are placed all around the track. 

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Fans queuing up to get into Rossi's mega store. 

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Rossi giving us a wave. Yes, we did wave back!!!

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Rossi's garage all quiet during the pit walk. 😩

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Rossi is the second bike. 

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this fan is wearing a very old Rossi t shirt design. 

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this fan isn't even wearing a Rossi t shirt, just ear plugs. 

To wear earplugs was the best tip all weekend, but it was weird eating with them. You can hear all the crunching noises!!! Then you adjust to the noise and you need earplugs for your earplugs!! 

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and then I bumped in to Adrian from Mildura. 

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we were having a rave with Jack Miller. 

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selfie with Jack!! 

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Adrian and I standing on the the finish line!! 

Catalans and Saint George

George, Jordi and Jorge (pronounced Hor-hay) all the same name  

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once upon a time ( in the 15th Century) in Catalan country there was a princess to whom Jordi was attracted. The fair maiden didn't really take much notice of keen young Jordi, so to get the maidens attention and maybe win her heart he slay the dragon. The dragon had been creating havoc within the kingdom. Blood was spilled everywhere and a red rose grew at the spot where the dragon died. Jordi picked a rose ( it was red of course) and gave it to the princess.  The princessand Jordi lived happily ever after  

In Catalan, each year on April 23 Saint George's Day is a celebration of love, roses and books. .Young men give the girls a red rose ( the colour of the dragons blood) and the girls give the men a book. This is a touching tradition. Saint George's Day is also the anniversary of the death of Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes ( author of Don Quixote). Many authors rely on Saint George's Day to boost their book sales. 

While I was staying in the guest house in Oliana, just south of Andorra, the owners grandson explained this tradition to me. I had noticed earlier in the day while perusing the book shop next door that a local author has written and illustrated a beautiful children's book, in Spanish reminding the children of the legend. 

 

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Yellow is the colour the Catalans have chosen to represent their quest for independence. They  are wanting independence from Spain. It seems this struggle has been going on for many centuries. Four years ago a group of Catalanians organised a huge street march in Barcelona wanting the government to allow a referendum. It didn't happen, and many of the leaders were arrested and imprisoned. Some did leave Spain to avoid arrest and are in Belgium, France and Italy. The yellow ribbons are to remind everyone that these imprisoned leaders need to be released without charge. The Catalanians are very passionate about this plea. 

 

 in the restaurant 8 frequented for three nights running while at the Catalunya MotoGP I was thrilled to see this tile work hanging on the wall. 

in the restaurant 8 frequented for three nights running while at the Catalunya MotoGP I was thrilled to see this tile work hanging on the wall. 

 The restaurant is owned by Jordi and his son Jordi, who explained the legend of St George and their passion for Catalanians independence. Jorge Lorenzo won the MotoGP, kind of in keeping with the theme of the times. 

The restaurant is owned by Jordi and his son Jordi, who explained the legend of St George and their passion for Catalanians independence. Jorge Lorenzo won the MotoGP, kind of in keeping with the theme of the times. 

 yellow flags and ribbons are everywhere in north east Spain, ie Catalan province. Even on this church. 

yellow flags and ribbons are everywhere in north east Spain, ie Catalan province. Even on this church. 

 on many homes, well most really. 

on many homes, well most really. 

 signs in public squares and roadsides. 

signs in public squares and roadsides. 

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 and even on the road!

and even on the road!

 in plazas

in plazas

 railings

railings

 the Oliana guest house make sure a special effort to celebrate Sant Jordi Day each year. 

the Oliana guest house make sure a special effort to celebrate Sant Jordi Day each year. 

 roundabouts 

roundabouts 

 this little girl was a bit shy about our Moroccan St George. Jo, if you are reading this can you please explain again! To me why's and wherefore of celebrating Saint Georges Day in the Christian calendar please. 

this little girl was a bit shy about our Moroccan St George. Jo, if you are reading this can you please explain again! To me why's and wherefore of celebrating Saint Georges Day in the Christian calendar please. 

 PortaRose guest house in Garessio, Italy. The legend of love and roses continue. . . .

PortaRose guest house in Garessio, Italy. The legend of love and roses continue. . . .

My first night in Italy and I am lucky enough to be staying in the PortaRose guest house in Garessio. The original building, two towers and a drawbridge, was the main entrance to the medieval village (Borgo) in the 12th Century. The remaining tower is now part of the guest house. Their is an old medieval legend telling of the story of the lady of the Rosa bridge. She threw an enemy knight a red rose from a loophole in the tower. the knight hesitated a while then he mounted on his horse and picked up the rose drawing it near to his heart. but a quick hiss was heard: an arrow hit the knight, the red of his blood blended with the red of the rose. . . 

 Beatrice Rothschild had dragons and red hearts in her tiled floor of the central courtyard.  

Beatrice Rothschild had dragons and red hearts in her tiled floor of the central courtyard.  

Storm in a tea cup, Andorra style.

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I'd read about this sculpture and of course I had to see it. 20 km up an Alpine pass in the rain, and it was cold at almost 2500 m up in the Pyrenees in Andorra. At least it gave my new Pirellis a work out and I'm very happy with them.  

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When someone reads your tea leaves and there is a bike in the bottom of your cup, what does that mean??? 

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It's a beautiful piece of work and I was hoping the cup would roll around in the saucer, but it's welded into position.  

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It was raining. I had the heated grips on coming up the mountain, so it made sense to slip my gloves over the handlebars while I climbed around the teacup.  

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I miss my Moroccan tea.  

 

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the view was a bit inclement, ski runs in the background. 

 

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horses grazing in the paddock. It's a very steep paddock for them, that's why they are all facing along the slope not up and down it. 

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The very pretty little ski village of Pal, halfway up to the teacup.  

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lovely little village of Pal.