I’m on a Mission

I’m on a mission. To find a bridge. Not any bridge. But a particular one that attracted my dad’s attention over 50 ago. In the 1930s the author Dorothy L Sayers wrote a murder mystery about artists. She based

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Blow holes and beaches

Coast lines always deliver secrets.  I was following the narrow gauge railway line and it went alongside the beach.  There was a wonderful booming noise and spray everywhere. Of course such things are tide and weather dependant.  And there I

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Vineyard Valley

“Make sure you follow the road right down to the bottom…..” Said my hostel host.  Bellasar is worth a visit. I was enjoying a pleasant descent which became a 10 kilometre free wheel whizz down through the trees and

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Winter Camino

There are lots of different routes to Santiago de Compostela.  I’ve been on the way of the Plantagenets, the way of Tours, the way of Vezelay, and through Spain on the Camino Frances.  But now at Pontferrada there’s a

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Animals on the camino

This route passes through lots of rural Europe so you can expect to see animals along the way.  I’ve seen pilgrim donkeys, but this was a first. Sheep sharing the road with me.  Lots of sheep!  Unbelievable!

Entertaining the pilgrims

Every person you pass calls out: “Buen Camino!”  Which translates as ‘good trip.’ It’s a really encouraging greeting and makes you feel like you are doing something special and worthwhile.  “Buen Camino,” we all call to each other. I’m

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Rioja country

I am constantly thrilled to see the changing landscapes each day and over each hill.  How could the world vary so much?  But it does.  As Navarre gives way to Castile the big ring of mountains surround an enormous

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Foothills of the Pyrenees

The undulating rolling foothills of one of Europe’s great mountain ranges….  It’s a joy….. Until it rains biblical rain.  This is a winter which doesn’t want to end and the weather has it in for the cycling artist.

Delightful Dax

It’s a city that dates back to Roman times when they discovered the healing power of the thermal waters. Today it’s the thermal capital of France. The cathedral had undergone some changes over the centuries. It’s a baroque wonder

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In the Alberge

Along the chemin de St Jacques there are Alberge for pilgrims.  Inside is a kitchen, bathroom, great shower, and a beam lined dorm with sheets pillows blankets. They cost a few token euros a night, I arrived late into

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Everlasting trees

The ride through the uniform lines of trees is extraordinary.  All the pine trees in all the world appear to be grown in South West France.  Black trunks, grey green pine needles, the smell of pine, it’s amazing… And

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The Ancient Fortress

All around France are ancient fortresses like this.  Citadels they call them and they all have a similar look.  Designed by the great military engineer Vauban they are a legacy of that French king who excites derision and admiration

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The journalist

Daniel came to interview me for the regional paper.  He arrived bringing macaroons and when asked what he’d like to drink said ‘Pernod please’.  Crikey!  The interview naturally went swimmingly….

Chinon Castle

It’s only another 45 mins away.  But it’s in the wrong direction.  Of course I went! I’m standing across the river in awe at one of the great fortress / palace of history.  The yellow stone glistens in the

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Thanks Komoot

Navigation is always an issue in a strange place.  I like maps.  There’s a logic to them and browsing over them you can plan and dream and wonder… What would it be like going that way?  Now with GPS, you can

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“Where will you stay?”  That is a question I’ve been asked a lot and I ask myself each day…. I have a list of suggested accommodations from the Pilgrim Organisation in France. However it’s early in the season and things

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