Snapshots - more pictures from our travels...
Some snaps from Guimarães, Portugal
Spanish Photo Album
Moon over almond orchard, Cabanas
Dawn over the Ria Formosa
Sao Joao da Barra Fort
The Wild Galician coast
La Coruna Celt
Galicians are proud of their Celtic heritage which is no doubt why this fabulous structure has such a prominent position.
Oradour sur Glane
Mosaic in St Sophia
Catherine's Gate in Brasov
The Black Church, Brasov
Count Dracula's castle
One man and his horse.
Cathedral in Pecs in Hungary
Arthur, Michelle, Sheila and Gilroy at Sidi Ifni
Singing in the rain
This was much much worse
Orange flavoured lamb
Freshly harvested cork
Balloons at breakfast
Czech wooden church
Trying Hungarian Bulls Blood
Looking out for candidates did brighten up some of the duller trips.
Amiens cathedral is the largest Gothic building in europe. It was badly damaged during WW1. It is pretty impressive as you can see. Apparently it was built over a relatively short period of time which means that the style remains pretty consistent rather than a hotchpotch where each new architect wants to make his mark during his tenure.
This is the Canadian Memorial at Vimy at sunrise. This memorial which has over 11,000 names engraved upon it, there were over 60,000 Canadians and Newfounders killed during World War 1 and the 11,000+ names here are for those who have no grave. Newfoundland was not part of Canada at the time of the Great War which is why they are separately remembered on these memorials.
The dome in Florence
The inside of the dome of the cathedral in Florence has magnificent paintings - mostly depicting what awaits anyone going to hell. Pretty scary stuff.
Minerve in France stands on an island which has been created by two rivers the Briant and the Cesse and the rivers also created two fabulous tunnels through the rock, this is Sheila demonstrating the sheer size of the tunnels.
Our house in Venice
No quite in St Marks Square but St Marks was only a ferry ride away from our campiste.
Home of the Bourgoisie ?
This is the 12th century cathedral at Bourges in the Loire. The cathedral is a World Heritage site but the people of Bourges are not called bourgoisie at all which is a pity.
Our home in the Camargue
We do have to stay in campsites now and again to get some of the housekeeping chores done but in Saintes Maries in the Camargue there are a couple of great aires to stay on which cost only a few euros a night but they don't have washing machines.
There is nothing nicer than a cold beer while watching the sun go down. This is a shot taken from Pedro's bar in Armaceo in December 2008.
In some parts of the world visitors like to leave their mark in the form of a pebble tower and Minerve ( France ) was one of thos places where there were hundreds of these pebble towers in the dry river bed.
The model for this charming bronze was a lot smaller than me but Portugal is full of little women like me.
The aire at Bourges
This aire was free, close to town and had water and tank emptying facilities. It also had some electricity sockets but these were in use when we were there.
Fancy a bigger van?
Motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes, we suspect that this may have been a horse box at one stage. What you can't see here is the verandah that the guy puts out when he is staying for a while. There is a big sliding door on the side and then he has scaffolding to erect the verandah.
Portuguese local transport
Portugal remains very much an agricultural country and not a very wealthy one either. We spotted this 3 wheeler in Silves but similar vehicles are not uncommon. Note the wooden chair in the back for a passenger.
On our autumn 2008 trip we managed to see a lot of rice being harvested - in the Camargue and in the Ebro delta. The machinery looks pretty similar to that used to harvest grain in the UK but rice grows in very wet fields and so the machinery needs either bigger wheels or additional traction such as you see on tanks. The little egrets and the grey heron love the paddy fields as it is obviously a good feeding ground with lots of little frogs.
These little fellers were in the tree next to the van at our site in Burgundy. We don't know what they are but the threads were as strong as silk.
The Road to Dubrovnik
It is a long road down to Dubrovnik but the views are fabulous, this was our lunch spot on our trip, not sure which of the many islands this is in the background.
Our holiday home in Slovenia
We were able to camp on the waters edge at Lake Bohinj which in May/June is wonderfully tranquil.
It is pronounced eggys hyme and is in Alsace. A beatiful little town and it is all as pretty as this.
Lady of the Lake
This is Sheila at Lake Bohinj
A rather bleak looking site in Annecy in April 2008, note the snow on the mountain in the distance and the heavily pollarded tress.
This pretty butterfly is resting on some animal poo - our knowledge of animal poo spotting is non existent but the butterfly was nice.
Meat or fish?
Near to the Rio Formosa at Olhao (Portugal) is a little courtyard with a restaurant, the smell of charcoal cooking draws you in. When we first found this place you get a very reasonable meal in there for about 5 euro (probably twice that these days) and the choice is either meat or fish and if you choose fish it is whatever has been caught that day. In this picture you can just see a big platter of fish in the bottom right hand corner - and when it's finished the man brings more.
Do these come in a larger size?
This is El Rocio in La Donana in Spain. It is an unusual place that lacks any tarmac roads and has hitching posts outside the buildings for tying ones horse up. It is also a great place for bird watching and people watching. I dont think that this was a tourist shop, El Rocio is the sort of place where you can imagine traditional dress is still worn not infrequently
Burgundy is full of ...
delightful old towns with wonderful ancient buildings such as this one, which looked as though it was nearing the end of a makeover as you can see from the scaffolding outside - or maybe it was just going up so that the top could be plastered and painted. This photo was taken in Buxy which was one of the towns along the Voie Verte ( see France page).
Never buy a showerproof mac...
this is because in a really good downpour the rain gets in through all of the seams and the mac ends up serving no purpose at all. I should have opted for waterproof but of course they are a bit warm. This photo is Burgundy where we got caught in a great downpour and had no choice but to continue to cycle through for another 10kms or so. This picture cannot show just how wet I got but I do look pretty soggy.
Tapas & rioja - the perfect lunch
Haro is at the centre of the Rioja producing area in Spain. There are lots of wineries that you can visit, plenty of wine shops and also a good selection of bars and restaurants, at this particular bar there was a wonderful selection of tapas and we had a fabulous lunch and some very nice Rioja crianza .
He's got his eye on you.
In Nazare ( Portugal) the beach had a number of wooden racks with sardines drying on them which were guarded by little old ladies in black
He's got his eye on you - 2
Some years ago Lisbon hosted the Expo and the area in now being developed for commercial and residential uses and there is a splendid aquarium, promoted as the second largest in europe and in the main it comprises an enormous fish tank that one views from several levels. This is a ray which looks as though he is interested in his audience as he spent some time against the glass wall of the aquarium.
I mentioned elsewhere on this site that we had visited Torcal in 2008 and the weather was fabulous, the same cannot be said for our first visit at the beginning of 2007 as you can see from this photo.
Obidos in Portugal is a bit of a local tourist magnet and at Easter and Christmas time this little town gets itself all dressed up for its Portugese visitors . When we went there in November they were just getting the Christmas lights out and we did not quite have the carpark to ourselves although it looks like it from this picture. Note the fabulous Roman aquaduct.
Lisbon is built on a number of hills and so there is a series of elevadores to take you up to the heigher levels of the city. Most are funiculars but this is the elevador de Santa Justa which is actually a lift which takes you to the terrace at the top where you get a wonderful view of the city and which will also take you to another part of Lisbon. At the top is also a cafe so there is barely any room for liftsful of sightseers to get their cameras out.
I think that you can walk up too, but this would be too much like hard work.
As mentioned elsewhere on this site , parts of Porto are wonderfully shabby, the backs of buildings even shabbier. I am not sure if this would fall under the description shabby chic but it certainly added to the charm of Porto for us.