“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

Friday, 18 May 2018

Misc..just to keep things going

...once again, liberated from the confines of FB

I've bought myself a new camera...I don't want to look like a tourist, especially in places like Rome and Naples and want  to be able to take pix while out riding, so a compact camera is the way to go..obviously.  However unless you're taking pix in dull light those LED screens are useless and you end up literally pointing, clicking  and hoping you're captured what you wanted.  So, I've gone for a compact camera with an eye viewfinder.  There's not much choice really but I've got the Panasonic TZ80..well under $500 and with a few GST $$ tax back coming to me when I go through customs..not a bad price.

Image result for panasonic tz80

Travel hack for anyone but for me this is all about how to take just a small amount of grease and carbon paste for the bikes:

Anyone  who has contact lenses will have masses of these lying around, they come "free" with every bottle of lens cleaner so,  rather than chucking them out...

Saturday, 12 May 2018

2018...... older and slower but still striving ......

(liberated from the confines of facebook!)

It's nearly time to say farewell to the heady delights of putting a cold heart rate monitor onto a warm body and having my nose dripping the entire subsequent ride, even when training inside!  All my preparations are complete apart from bike servicing and tyre glueing. The exchange rate of 59 euro cents/$A and 52 pence/$A was definitely not to my liking, but what can you do? eat out less, buy less souvenirs?

This year's itinerary is as follows:
  • Melbourne to UK via Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris and the Tunnel (I'm currently watching that TV show on iview!)
  • stay with rels
  • Peterborough for a TT
  • York for a school reunion then back into Europe
  •  Feltre, Italy  via Reims and Sankt Johann in Tirol
  •  Naples area  for Pompeii etc
  • Sicily for Etna etc
  • Puglia for the Trulli and the Sassi of Matera (houses with a difference)
Trulli and Sassi

Once again posts to this blog  depend completely on internet access, although this year I've made a point of ensuring free WiFi wherever possible and also given last year's weather AC.  Oh and TV!!  our near Rome apartment didn't specify there was TV so I wrote to ensure we would not be denied the heady delights of watching the TdF!  Sorted!

Watch this space!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Bourg d'Oisans to Feltre via Ales and Chivasso

In the end our cabin at Bourg d'Oisans had a few issues that caused us to flee a day early.  The problem was all to do with heat and humidity plus the set up of the cabin which was in a row with other cabins and with only a narrow walk way in between.  The main windows were on these short walls with only a door and 1 window on the front long  wall...the end result...it was stifling as there was no through breeze.

The location of the park was right at the bottom of Alpe d'Huez..the km 0 post was virtually at the entrance.  Something we didn't like was the appalling smell of over heated brakes of the vehicles driven by less expert drivers!...some were gaggingly awful and we reckoned their foot had been on the brake right from the top.

Our original plan was to travel to Feltre in 1 hideous day trip, instead we broke it up into something much more sensible.  We left on  Thursday morning, visited the Chauvet Cave replica and stayed in Chivasso near Turin overnight.  That allowed us to have a short trip on Friday to arrive here midday in time to deliver a wheel to the bike shop for re-spoking!

The Chauvet Cave replica was very good  and for a change  we bought up big in the shopping trap that is at the end of all such visits!  Although sadly one of the espresso cups we bought there got broken so I'm doing a return visit on my way back to Albi  in a week's time.

We stayed the night in the Hotel Ritz (!) in Chivasso. The weather there was as bad as in France and we were delighted to have super super aircoin in our hotel rooms.  I managed to leave  our Aussie 4 plug powerboard there so that's another place I have to revisit on my way to Albi!  ..

Feltre and Palio time again and the open windows with the Santo Stefano flag is the lounge room of our apartment.  Alex leaves for Austria tomorrow but my sister and I stay for another week.

Gotta "Medievalise" modern things when you are part of a medieval festival!
we again enjoyed the Palio with it's drumming, trumpeting parading and  flag throwing displays but yet again the weather intervened and the horse racing part of the competition had to be cancelled.  the archery, tug of war and foot race  did take place and this year Port'Oria was the winning quartier.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Luchon to Bourg d'Oisans

On our decision to leave Luchon a day early and break our trip into 2 days, we opted to travel as far as Ales on day 1 allowing us to re-visit the bridge at Millau, check out the limestone caves at Aven Armand and finally traverse the Gorges du Tarn.

On day 2 we visited the replica of the prehistoric drawings of the Caverne du Pont D'Arc.  Due to the degradation of  paintings in other caves, this particular cave is not open to the public and the only way to experience is by visiting the replica.

This one of the towns  I wanted to pass through in order to get  a pix..and we did get to see it.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


We were here exactly 10 years ago and I have ridden some of the same roads.... in better times too (!) and taken some of the same photos.

I'm not over enamoured of the area..it's very grey...grey stone buildings and for quite a bit of our time here...grey skies too.  In some ways it reminds me of the Lake Dsitrict in UK...dry stone walls and Scotland with it's stepped roof edges..or perhaps that's  Belgium or Holland??

Our apartment here is very basic and I'm not impressed...yes there is a dish washer but she has left 1 cube thing only and she's also left 1/2 toilet roll, a dribble of dish washing liquid, the washing machine instructions are for a different machine and the clothes horses are decrepit.  the internet is pathetic.  But...it's cheapish and handy.

I did one huge 110km ride  with a few cols in it, then settled down to more specific TT training...actually I was too stuffed to do anything else!


We went into Tarbes one day as I managed to lose one of our apartment keys and there  were no  locksmiths in Luchon.  We were amused to see this cafe, given the incredible fuss there was in America about the use of the name Roubaix .  The internet connection was very patchy and since it was not super secure I decided to buy a personal wifi which I also sorted there.

While chatting about this and given the really hot water in our French apartment's plumbing, we wondered if anyone had tried to sue an owner for having hot water coming out of the hot water tap.

Luchon, a real tourist town has loads tourist tack shops and eating places.  We usually eat out 1/week and in Luchon came in contact with the type of waiter you'd prefer to avoid.  Firstly apparently I made a big mistake of  going to the bar to order drinks rather than sit and wait for the waiter, who was incredibly busy setting out the tables, which was apparently the protocol for if you were planning to eat there.  After being scolded(!) I obediently went back to the table and we waited and waited and waited, watching everybody else being served until finally we got up and walked away.  It reminded us of the time in Cortina when  I asked if my pizza could be pre cut in wedges like another customer had done for him....the answer was no as he was given this privilege only as he was injured!      

A Roman pile!...looking exactly the same as it did 10 years ago!
this baby hedgehog scuttled across the road in front of me

Saw heaps of these one day...we weren't the only crazies in town!

my pathetic French dictionary doesn't have the word "lice" in it in either language so I have to assume it means what it says!

Generally speaking there stones around here were fairly grey and the style of house rather utilitarian, however there were some very flash looking house with Disney world type turrets and then there was this in the foreground, where the balcony is made of  tree trunks. Sadly it was so sunny that the camera couldn't deal with the contrasts and so is not v good.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Albi to Luchon

The view of our village, Mauriac from about 1km away.  There was a chateau but we never got to it as it was only open from 3-6 which were TdF hours.

These wine makers were literally 20 m from our super fantastic gite.  We didn't really realise how lucky we were ...until we arrived in Luchon!

The incredible Millau aqueduct was a day's outing and a rest from cycling for us.

We used the  supermarket car park located laundrettes during our stay  near Mont Ventoux and also here at Luchon.

I adored this unusual re-purposing of sewing machines!

First ride from our minuscule apartment in Luchon was to St Bertrand de Comminges Castle...I was there about 7 years ago...

on the way to St B de C's castle  I passed this sign

the only good thing about our apartment here.  The blurb says it can sleep 6..could do I guess if  all were children.  The internet is non existent.  There IS a dish washer and she has left us with 1 dish washer cube thing!!  1...I kid you not.  There is a dribble of dish washing liquid but no tea towel.  There is 1/3 of a roll of toilet paper.  There are indeed 2 bedrooms but you have to walk through 1 to get to the main one.  We have had a similar experience with an apartment in Canazei, which  like this one are pretty well the same price as the truly excellent ones we've been in before.