Italy 2018

via Italy 2018

We are in a process of uploading our 2018 Touring Gallery. The journey took us from  Ferrara in Italy through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia to Bulgaria. An incredible experience it was.

Follow the link Italy 2018 if you wish to see the images from our brief yet beautiful Italian journey from Ferrara to Gorizia, before entering Slovenia. Enjoy ✌🏼🚵🏽‍♂️🚵🏽‍♀️

 

Made Up Things

Île de Ré and Back [Part 1]: Sunday 20 August 2017

14:55. Mixed emotions today. Beautiful get up and hop to the coast. Top breakfast again – as the sea discreetly reclaimed the shoreline. Great stretch. Some chat with some local dogs and local folk – and away we went!

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Over the three-kilometre bridge linking mainland France with the Île de Ré. Pure exhilaration. Couldn’t get the smile off my face – don’t know what it is about crossing expanses of water on my bike, but I am usually so full of emotions that I have no idea how to express them.

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And the island that awaited was – beautiful!

Maybe I was always going to flatten out a bit after that – I was still high, but didn’t know it in comparison to the earlier buzz.

And though this clearly isn’t lowest-common-denominator holidaying or breaking, it’s still entertainment-by-numbers: paths to be followed – although many you’re not strictly allowed to (?!), restaurants to be sat at, and donkeys with trousers (?!) to be ridden. Beautiful place, for sure, but devoid of heart, and designed only to part people from their hard-earned on things.

Spontaneity channelled down predictable tourist tunnels.

I can’t see the light!

I can’t see the light!

Even touring round the coast is mapped and therefore a little depressing, as I just feel like I’m on one of those farm trails – rather than one of my own design. For the first time since we set off at the end of June I feel a word rumbling to be used, one that I thought I’d kind of forgotten about: ‘bored.’

I felt bored.

I did find €10 though.

And leave the poor fucking donkeys alone!!!

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Synchronised Rhythm

Corn Field 12k beyond La Tranche-sur-Mer to the Coast around L’Houmeau [Part 2]: Saturday 19 August 2017

12:40. A hyper Utile! More supplies. Near L’Aquillon (I think). Lovely chilled decamp. Am loving this sense of freedom from demands, needs or expectations other than our own; and we’re not really expecting that much; just going with our flows and responding to needs when they occur.

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Yes, we do love it, but it is something that we’ve worked very hard for; and is something that requires constant work. We love it because we more consciously chose to do this than maybe any of the other choices made in our previous lives, but that doesn’t make it easy – though it does (if that makes sense).

We accept the difficulties because we have chosen them as part of our lives – and the benefits and freedoms arising out of living largely to your own rhythms outweigh any of them by a considerable margin; and in relation to our other lives, make them not that difficult at all; although this appears to be the default setting visible to most or many, and an unfathomable lifestyle choice, going by reactions we encounter along the way.

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Though many outside the age of certain lifestyle choices betray a more genuine feeling akin to our own: “Cool!” 😀

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Where some see deserts, some see life thriving in the cracks in between – as it speaks of possibility for us all.

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Synthetic-on-Sea

Corn Field 12k beyond La Tranche-sur-Mer to the Coast around L’Houmeau [Part 1]: Saturday 19 August 2017

6:52. France isn’t all: ‘my-camera-isn’t-good-enough-for-these vistas’, ‘insouciant chic’, and ‘effortless cool’.

As we made our way along the much-longer-than-it-appeared-on-our-mapping-application D747, our in-union-with-our-sense-of-self-within-the-world-around-us was torn asunder, as every crevice of calm was assailed and invaded by the monotone roar of machines belligerently missioning from there to there, regardless and heedless, oblivious and dangerous – to life.

To all life,
That is all.

Cars, cars, and more cars, and trucks, and lorries, and camper-vans, and caravans, and engines, and wheels, rowing and rolling and pushing, racing, bursting great holes through the fabric eternal; no longer eternal, but victim to the cold caprice of disinterested cogs in the wheels that steal anything life.

Finally, we got off the main thoroughfare of coastal dashers to enjoy the paths, lanes and trails running along the dikes threaded through this land once reclaimed from the sea.

Lovely.

Even here, though, sanctuary was shattered by the sound of holiday camps pumping manufactured enthusiasm through inadequate systems, creating that perfect sense of jarring disharmony you feel when something is out of synch with the Living World.

Camps where kids are sent for a fortnight of enforced frivolity and fun-by-numbers, which must be fun for some – but is clearly none for some.

Definitions of ‘fun’ are as varied as those of ‘interesting’, ‘tasty’, ‘quality’, ‘beautiful’, ‘ugly’, ‘sexy’. They’re just words invested with meaning by the speaker, then invested with a slightly different meaning by the beholder.

Other words announce themselves as I reflect upon yesterday.

Plastic.

Synthetic.

Again, two words that hadn’t applied to our French sojourn so far.

We exited the marshland and continued along a lonely lane, tailwinds enthusiastically assisting us along our way.

And,

lost in a breeze

We got lost.

Well, not lost, but off track,

so we had to re-route

Back on the 747.

Caravan parks to the left of me. Caravan parks to the right. No-one allowed in or out. Concentration camps of conformity, where fun is synthesised down to its lowest common denominator and mass-produced on cost-effective scales out of garish materials born not of this Natural World; and born never to return to it either.

Hollow sounds, which ring tragic in the ear, carrying within them the absence of feeling that fills a joyful expression announced of spontaneity and free-wills expressing themselves.

“We are on holiday.
We are here to have fun now.
And fun we shall have. Goddammit.”

And they are everywhere around the Le Tranche area. People farmed out here en masse, deprived of the money they have worked hard for, to spend on this idea they have bought into, which seems to rob most all of their dignity and virtue, as they are subject to bombardment by the slightly off-colour, slightly out-of-tune, not-quite-the-same-tasting world; where individuality is quashed and a human becomes a mob; where frustration is released through enforced hilarity; where cries are released as alcohol numbs; infusing these simulacra of happiness with strains of terror, of anger, frustration and anguish, and a self-consciousness that this is a situation not really born of one’s own desires, but of choices made by another – and not really for your own benefit.

And it saddens me.
And it’s tragic.
And it’s sad.

which is why I’m here, and not over there,
where we all are

Who am I
the judge?

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Pit-Stops

La Roche-sur-Yon to a Corn Field 12k beyond La Tranche-sur-Mer: Friday 18 August 2017

12:20. Another large E.Leclerc in La Roche-sur-Yon, to the South of the city this time, as that’s the direction we’re headed, but it’s still massive! Bit of a ridiculous size for us to do our shopping for the day, but it was exactly on the way, with little inspiring us to deviate – in this weather.

Pissing
it
Down

Temperature’s pleasant enough – 21º – so the bare minimum of layers is possible under the proving-ever-so-useful poncho, which will enable us to dry out more quickly when the rain does cease.

If

Our second point of call today will take us to La Tranche-sur-Mer, and a campsite there to meet a guy, Robert, who’s going to give me a hand with, and a second opinion on, tuning my front derailleur – thanks for putting us in touch, Sue.

I’ve been given a great step-by-step by the ever-supportive Rob from Rob’s Bikecenter, but it’ll be nice to have access to a stand and some more tools should I discover something unexpected.

It’s also a lovely ride to and along the coast there, and doesn’t add any k to our way, in terms of Bordeaux, so why the hell not make contact with another kindly soul?

And, from his last text, I get the impression the weather’s going to pick up.

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Discarded Items #2

La Roche-sur-Yon: Thursday 17 August 2017

Unnecessary items amounting to some considerable weight have been identified and discarded today, and are hopefully finding their way to a relevant charity centre, courtesy of the receptionist at our hotel:

– rain-shoe covers
– watch
– jacket
– t-shirt
– trousers
– long-sleeved top
– diary
– ‘tray’ of magnesium tablets
– shades-case
– rechargeable batteries
– WD40
– recorder cleaner
– skin-repair cream
– running top
– running shorts
– wristbands
– padlock
– tape measure
– shirt
– indigestion tablets
– bite spray

Since the previous item-discarding celebration, the following two items have also been deemed burdens, surplus to requirements, and have fallen by the wayside:

– measuring spoons
– egg box

The streamlining continues: we’ll soon have it down to one slightly soiled sock and a used zip-tie.

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