Monthly Archives: May 2013

CYCLING LAKE CONSTANCE, DAY 5 – a wet finale in Konstanz

On a day like this, all colour is welcome.

On a day like this, all colour is welcome.

Sometimes it’s better not to know what’s ahead until it’s behind you. On a cycling tour we check the weather forecast several times a day of course. The past two days have been perfect, but today: “Konstanz – rain, max 10 deg, headwind strength 3.” Not ideal cycling weather.

Thanks to my correspondent Ken for reminding me of an excellent story about Lake Constance that is vaguely relevant here. It’s worth a clumsy segue to tell it… Continue reading

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Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling

CYCLING LAKE CONSTANCE DAY 4 – Willkommen in Osterreich!

Water, greenery, snow, alps and sun.

Water, greenery, snow, alps, sun and a car-free cycle path.

One of the pathetic little attractions of this circum-lake-ution for those who keep count of countries they’ve cycled in (yes, I’m afraid I really do) is the chance to cross lots of borders. We’ve managed three so far, will do another two tomorrow, and we’ll rack up ten by the time we’ve slipped into Liechtenstein and back, as we’re planning to do on Friday.

No passport is required, so no extra stamps are handed out, I’m afraid. Continue reading

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CYCLING LAKE CONSTANCE DAY 3 – sunshine on Meersburg

We can see snow for the first time.

That white stuff is snow on the mountains. It probably fell yesterday.

What a difference a bit of sun makes! Nearly seventeen degrees today, so off came the Goretex jackets (though they were kept handy, just in case.)

It was a day for a leisurely 38km on the flat, with vineyards on one side and the Bodensee on the other. It was a day for a long lunch with a generous glass of local wine, without getting too schlossed. It was a day for browsing a couple of museums and a compulsory gloomy castle. And finally it was a day for sitting by the water with a Greek dinner (‘my cousin live in Brisbane’) with a Zeppelin buzzing lazily overhead. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Germany

CYCLING LAKE CONSTANCE, DAY 2 – Stein to Uberlingen

There were so many villages I lost track. Is this Mannern or Steckborn? Maybe somebody knows.

There were so many villages I lost track. Is this Mannern or Steckborn? Maybe somebody knows.

It was the coldest May day in 30 years, some other shivering cyclist told us. I doubt it got further than 8 degrees, with a vicious wind chill factor.

We were very lucky, however. The icy wind was at our backs for most of the 50 or so kilometres we rode and the rain didn’t set in till we could watch it sweeping across the lake from our hotel window.

It was a day for riding on the Swiss side of Lake Constance, between fields and farms, rolling on the cycleway beside the railway line (putting the bikes on the train was always an option if things turned nasty), and passing through half-timbered villages. Continue reading

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CYCLING LAKE CONSTANCE – Day 1.

We're not the only cyclists on this particular road - for good reason.

We’re not the only cyclists on this particular road – for good reason.



I’ve had my eye on this trip for years. The circuit of Lake Constance, the Bodensee to its German-speaking friends, is supposed to be Europe’s most popular bike ride.


It’s easy to see why. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Switzerland

SHOOTING FRENCH ALLEYWAYS – my photography tips

TIP #1 - Colour above, and something happening below.

TIP: Colour above, and something going on below. Location: Nice (well, of course it’s a nice location. I mean the city, Nice.)


I’ve turned the camera vertically to take shots of narrow French alleyways so often during the past couple of weeks I’ve almost become an expert.

When the subject matter is so inherently appealing it’s hard to screw up, though, like most amateurs, I usually manage to do just that. Too dark, too bright, too much contrast, moving people blurring the shot, being too slow to catch the hilarious peeing dog…I made all those mistakes, often.

Every now and then I got a photo I liked. Continue reading

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Filed under France, travel photography

IT’S ALL DONE WITH MIRRORS – Marseilles

Norman Foster's mirror

Norman Foster’s Ombriere. You’re almost under it before you notice it.




After nine months of construction, re-routing of traffic and a rumoured EUR45 million bill, visitors to Marseilles’ Vieux Port can now photograph themselves upside down.

Norman Foster’s Ombriere, a huge flat mirror supported on poles above the terrace in front of the Vieux Port, reflects the colourful fishing boats, the buses, the beggars and hawkers, the school excursions, the petit trains and the visitors who cluster in this hub of Marseillaise tourist life.

I hope this mirror thing doesn’t become a cliche, like the giant ferris wheels sprouting on groovy, go-ahead, ‘wow, look at us!’ city skylines. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, France