Travelogues

My travelogues tell of the countries I have visited and of some quirky happenings, as listed below. Click on the place(s) you would like to visit then click on “read” for an illustrated description, tehn on “See all IMAGES” for all remaining images (not always in the right order.
EUROPE: A Quick Tour of Britain; Portugal, Douro and N Spain; Bordeaux and Region; Paris; Cruising down the Rhone; London and Around the Baltic; Norway and Northern Russia; Turkey and Around the Black Sea; Provence; Ireland. Then a cruise on the Mediterranean calling at Barcelona, Riviera, Rome Florence, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik and Venice. EASTERN EUROPE: 1. Berlin-Budapest, Krakow-Vilnius, St. P’burg – Moscow. ASIA: Vietnam;  Cambodia; Malaysia, Shanghai and thereabouts; The Three Gorges, Nanjing, Beijing, Yunnan; The Silk Route  S. AMERICA: 1. Buenos Aires -La Paz  and 2, Machu Picchu- Galapagos;  USA: Arizona; Crossing USA; West Coast USA; CANADA: Vancouver Island, Eastern Canada. AUSTRALIA: The Ghan, Kakadu and Kimberley Coast. Scroll down the list below to the place you want and click “All images”. Apologies they do not follow the above order.  The first three (Britain, Portugal, Bordeaux) click the “read” and a new window will come up: click on the page you see and the illustrated text will come up.

A QUICK TOUR OF BRITAIN On our way to Portugal and Bordeaux we spend 11 days looking at parts of UK we haven’t done before, including climbing to the top of St Paul’s Dome. Take bus tours to Canterbury and NE York, Edinburgh and down the Welsh border, to see a newly done up Stonehenge, with Druids in action. Read: A QUICK TRIP AROUND BRITAIN See all IMAGES 

PORTUGAL, THE DOURO, ON THROUGH N. SPAIN 
We land in Lisbon visit the markets, ride a tram, on to a Disneyland fantasy castle, the university town of Coimbra, magnificent Porto to sail up the Douro with the amazing vine terraces and a medieval village. Quick bus through Salamanca, Burgos to Bilbao. Quirky things happen on the Iberian Peninsula, ending with Bilbao’s huge Puppy made from 48,000 flowers, renewed every six months. Read: PORTUGAL, THE DOURO, NSPAIN See all IMAGES

  BORDEAUX AND REGION
Crossing the Spanish border we visit St, Jean de Luz then to our destination Bordeaux. We board a boat that takes usa round the complicated wine regions bordering the Gironde Estuary, the Dordogne and the Garonne Rivers. Apart from vineyards, a castle or two, we visit a caviar factory and the town of Cognac, which lives up to its name. Leaves only a day or so to see the marvellous city of Bordeaux.As Victor Hugo said: “Take Versailles, add Antwerp  and you have Bordeaux.”  Read: BORDEAUX AND REGION See all IMAGES
 
NORWEGIAN FJORDS and ARCTIC RUSSIA
We visit beautiful Bergen and  Grieg’s house, then to Hellesylt-Geiringer fjords and cross the Arctic circle. At the Lofoten Islands stockfish are hammered into edibility, then to Tromso and North Cape the (almost) northernmost point of Europe. In surprisingly warm Archangel and Murmansk, we get a touch of post-Soviet nastiness. Back to Norway, Kristiansund and the Atlantic Highway, finally Haugansund. I have learned how Scandinavian countries have got it right politically (well, mostly).
 Read: NORWEGIAN FJORDs ARCTIC RUSSIA  See All IMAGES 
Paris A QUICK TOUR OF PARIS
We have a brief few days in Paris prior to a cruise down the Rhone (see below). We have a hair-raising ride in a 2CV, guided tours of the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower (what else?) and a Gourmet Tour of the Latin Quarter. We quickly learn that the best value for food and wine is not  to be found in the First Arrondissement where we are staying.
 Read: A QUICK TOUR OF PARIS See All IMAGES   
S France SOUTHERN FRANCE BY RIVER BOAT
  To Chalon to board our boat — and go everywhere by bus. The river is flooded and can’t go under the bridges. Beaune, Beaujolais, Ch. Cormatin, Macon, Lyns. We we change to another boat. Wine, scenery, ancient cave paintings, Chateauneuf-du-Papes, Avignon and much more. Sorry the images are out of sync with the text (thank Google).
 Read: SOUTHERN FRANCE BY RIVER BOAT See All IMAGES   
 0960 LONDON AND AROUND THE BALTIC
A refresher of London thence to Amsterdam and the Rijks Museum, through the restful Kiel Canal to Bornholm (Danish) and Gotland (Swedish), both warm and charming islands with dark pasts. A wet Stockholm, but an impressive archipelago, to interesting Tallinn. We revisit St Petesburg but so much to see, then Helsinki and a small village spoilt by weather  and conclude this stage of our trip in Copenhagen. Although Mary was out we see how she takes the kids to kindy.
 Read: FROM LONDON AND AROUND THE BALTIC   see All images    
 1056 AROUND THE BLACK SEA 1: Turkey
In Istanbul, we see iconic sites including the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, what Daniel Craig left of the Grand Bazaar. We bus through Anatolia to other places that cradled our civilisation including Gallipoli Ephesus, Pergamon, Kammukale, Cappadocia. The mv Island Sky takes us along the Anatolian shore: Amasra, Amasya, Trabzon and the mountain-locked Sumela monastery. For the rest of our cruise around the perimeter of the Black Sea see Part 2.
 Read: TURKEY  see All IMAGES 
 3000 - Copy
AROUND THE BLACK SEA 2:  Georgia, Russia, Odessa, Romania, Bulgaria
Next stop Batumi in Georgia, with its striking buildings on the waterfront,most empty, then to Sochi scene of the 2014 Winter Olympics and of Stalin’s favourite dacha, Odessa and the Potemkin Steps and glorious opera house, to Dracula’s supposed castle in Transylvania and more blood tragedy in Ceaucescu’s Bucharest, finally a brief stop in ancient Nessebur and its 40 churches. .
 Read: AROUND THE BLACK SEA 2  See All IMAGES
viet VIETNAM 
We learn traffic dodging in Hanoi, then to the beautiful Sapa Highlands, stunning Ha Long Bay, Hoi An city of lanterns, Ho Chi Minh City, Phuoc Tuy (evidence of the American War everywhere), up the Mekong to the Cambodian border. Along the way we meet friendly hospitable people. They pity the Americans for they lost and the Vietnamese regained their country. With Luke Nguyen’s help we find out something about Vietnamese cuisine.  Read: VIETNAM see All Images
cam CAMBODIA
Mv AMALOTUS takes us up the Mekong to Phnom Penh, a very pleasant city in the middle of an election campaign; Pol Pot’s astonishing murderous reign as preserved in the Genocide Museum, in stark contrast peaceful villages and local crafts, and Angkor Wat. Oridnary Cambodians and Vietnamese are amazing friendly and gentle after what they have gone through.
Read: CAMBODIA see All Images
kim THE GHAN, KAKADU and KIMBERLEY COAST
Two of Australi’s must-do trips in one: From Adelaide to Darwin in the Ghan, a day or so in Kakadu, then we board the OCEANIC DISCOVERER that takes us from Darwin right along the WA coast to Broome.  We see much indigenous art and wildlife on islands and up remote gorges. . Read: GHAN, KAKADU, KIMBERLEY COAST   see All images
Santorini CRUISING THE MEDITERRANEAN
We join Celebrity Cruises’ massive Millennium and its massive passengers. Our floating hotel takes us from Barcelona to Venice, via the Riviera, various Italian stops, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik and finally Venice.
Read: Barcelona-Riviera-Tuscany-Pompeii-Capri
Read: Santorini-Athens-Dubrovnik-Florence-Venice  See all images
Shanghai at night SHANGHAI and Thereabous
We join what we thought was a Hong Kong based tour to Shanghai, Hangzhou and some very interesting towns in between. But things don’t run particularly smoothly.
Read: SHANGHAI   See All Images
Machu Picchu SOUTH AMERICA 
Buenos Aires, Rio, Iguassu Falls, La Paz, Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, the Amazon, the Galapagos, Santiago … all in one brilliant package. Who could resist?
Read: Buenos Aires-Iguassu-Rio-La Paz
Read:Cusco-Machu Picchu-Amazon-Galapagos  See All Images
Inside the Kremlin EASTERN EUROPE
From Berlin through Hungary, Poland, Lithuania to Russia. We see the horrors of Auschwitz and the wonderfully restored cities of Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, Vilnius, St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Read: Berlin to Budapest
Read: Krakow to Vilnius
Read: St. Petersburg to Moscow  See All Images 
Heading towards the Gates CHINA’S THREE GORGES
We travel the Yangtze in 1993, before the flooding began. Now some wonderful villages and monuments are drowned, over one million people displaced.
Read: THREE GORGES  See All Images
A bird in a bamboo cage wishing it wasn't THE BIRDS OF NANJING 
A quirky story of how I attended a conference where I meet some very attractive ladies but end up like one of China’s famous caged birds … promises, promises, but not what you’re thinking!
Read: BIRDS OF NANJING 
The Great Wall at Badaling BEIJING
I am invited to Beijing but my host has already left. I attend a meeting where George H. W. Bush Sr’s musclemen take control. I am propositioned to no avail and end up dancing under the stars instead … just dancing.
Read: BEIJING 
YUNNAN
Catherine and I join a minibus tour of Yunnan, a beautiful and still unspoilt part of China in 1990. Yunnan is home to many of the nonHan minority ethnic groups such as the Bai, Yi, and Na Xi people. We visit Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, then our bus driver pulls a few tricks …
Read: YUNNAN   See All Images
ARIZONA: ON GUNS, GOD AND TESTOSTERONE
A visit to Phoenix Arizona, soon after the Brady Gun Laws have been promulgated. Testosterone everywhere but some stunningly beauitful desert countryside. I come across what seems to be the father of Rosemary’s Baby. I end up at the Grand Canyon.
Read; GUNS, GOD AND TESTOSTERONE   (best images in text)
a street scene at Buckskin Joe's CROSSING USA
Oh dear, more violence! This time it is rather older. Catherine and I are driving across the USA and we keep coming across reminders of the Wild West and the American Civil War and …
Read: CROSSING USA  See All Images
VANCOUVER ISLAND: On Motorcycles but not on Whales
I attempt to meet two ambitions while on Vancouver Island: to ride a Harley and to see a whale. I have a wonderful time doing neither …
Read: ON MOTORCYCLES …   See All Images
PROVENCE
Catherine and I attend a conference in Aix-en-Provence, but find our surroundings rather more attractive than the conference. We visit some breath-takingly beautiful places, with food and wine to match.
Read: PROVENCE   See All Images 
IRELAND 
After a conference, we have three days to do Ireland. Ridiculous but we do our best: the West and Dublin, using the great hop-on/hop-off Dublin bus tour. But wherever we go, we meet road works and Guinness (independently). And we find out what “Dublin coddle” is.
Read: IRELAND IN THE SUN  See  All Images
WEST COAST CANADA AND USA  
We start in Vancouver with a clash of cultures over environmental issues; then it’s round the Olympic Peninsula to Seattle, where we are surprised at contrasts. We rip down the coast through Oregon and California, taking Yosemite in on the way. To San Francisco and its contrasts again: we live at one end of the scale while others barely survive at the other.
Read: DOWN US WEST COAST  See All Images
 EASTERN CANADA
Starting from Kingston Ontario I head East through some striking countryside to explore Anglo- and French-Canadian, and American-Canadian, relations. All is resolved as I eat my way round Old Quebec City.
Read: EASTERN CANADA   See All Images 
MALAYSIA
We are in Malaysia for a conference and afterwards we have a few spare days to see what we can. Not nearly as much as we’d like, but the contrasts: modern KL, old world Malacca steeped in multicultural history, and the Cameron Highlands, where amazingly the British sun still hasn’t set.
Read: MALAYSIA  see All Images
THE SILK ROUTE 
We do the Silk Route (one of them) by train, starting in Beijing, through Louyang, Xi’an, north of the Taklamakan Desert into Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and ending up in Russia. Brilliant, but we wade through a biological minefield that rather spoils things.
Read: SILK ROUTE   see All Images