<< MAY 13
  .A TRIP  


I've moved what I originally wrote here to the last item on this page, because:


WARNING : The quality of writing on this site is frequently quite poor, but the below account is about as duff as it gets - since it was written at breakneck speed for info to a few friends on where I'd disappeared to over past weeks....



When I drove around near Palud du Verdon (Grand Canyon Du Verdon) in south-east France the road was narrow and on a sheer unprotected edge of the canyon. It's actually on Google Earth . For a couple of examples: if you goto 'D23, La Palud-sur-Verdon, France' then move the little orange guy to the section where D23 is near to D71 you'll see the SCARY kind of road it is there. Then there's the overhangs on the road to Rougon: this is SCARY too: goto 'D952 Rougon, France' then place the orange guy right on the 2nd 'e' of the word 'department' and look around the road each way. The below 3-shots were nicked from Google Earth:

I left here on the Monday - 10th June - on the 14.00 ferry to Dunkirk. Got to Brugge hostel by ~18.00 (local time). Spent the next morning wandering around Brugge, which didn't take long, maybe an hour - knowing I'd take another wander there on return in 17-days' time. So at ~11.30 I set off for Brussels. Arrived about 14.00, I think, and after booking in at the hostel and grabbing a decent map went for a 5-hour wander.... forgetting to take the camera! No matter, most people have seen Brussels. Next morning took a very long drive to Gray in France. Had only two days to meet booked hostel at Palud du Verdon. Was aiming for Nancy first but felt fine so pressed on to Gray. Excellent little town. Next day continued to Aix de Bains but camped just before at Culoz where Mitterrand had unveiled a head and shoulders of Gertrude Stein back in '87 (I think it was).... that was Stein's home town/village before moving to Paris. Next - on the Friday - I reached Palud du Verdon. Wandered around the village and along some rural paths that day. Next day did the canyon stuff, then headed for Frejus where I stayed Saturday and Sunday nights. First dip Saturday afternoon... several dips, and a wander along to St Raphael too. Sunday a leisurely  drive to St Tropez - and a wander around there (no beach, though later learned there was one around the corner to the west), so returned in even more leisurely style stopping at several little bays for a dip. EXCELLENT. Next day - Monday - headed for Nice. That was another leisurely day, stopping at little bays here and there, mostly almost deserted, including an hour or so stop at Cannes, until Antibes which was superb if a bit crowded... excellent atmosphere though. Spent the entire afternoon on a fabulous beach there intermittently swimming, resting, sunbathing and nibbling bananas and some tasty bread. After taking a walk around a BIG castle there, and a couple of shots of distant Nice, did the final 5-miles. Booked in at hostel, went for a wander and another dip. Then in the morning got up early - easy in a hostel because there's always people moving about after about 07.30 - and wandered up onto the castle area, a kind of park high on the east side of Nice. Then I had to move the car.... by 09.00.... and headed for Monaco....

So Tuesday 18th I did the stretch between Nice and Menton, through the amazing 'Brave New world' section of Monaco and Monte Carlo. That was unique and very weird. But the little bays and villages on the way were quite picturesque. Stayed at Menton Tuesday and Wednesday nights - camping. That was excellent - a lazy couple of days swimming and wandering. And on Thursday I hit the road again for Italy, then after maybe 5-miles up the first left towards the Alps. Great ravines and several tunnels (one 2Km long) later I arrived at Briancon - or rather, a little skiing village called la Salle-les-Alpes. I went for a walk there across meadows solid with wild grasses and flowers that we're well familiar with surrounded by magnificent scenery. It was a bit cold at night and rained now & then, as usual in mountainous places, but as ever I left the camera in the car so have no shots from there, despite awesome scenery. Hostel closed!!! So due to dampness slept in car - which is fine, but woke early with the light. I drove off the main track in an isolated out-of-sight place but am sure no-one would have bothered me. People in France seem to ignore others, as if they're very keen to mind their own business. There's a vague sense of positive anarchy there.... I mean in some places people drive motor-scooters on the pavements quite dangerously, women go topless on the beaches.... etc. So Friday was another spectacular trip - maybe the most spectacular of all - on a road through a little place called Valloire. It was from that road where those snow shots were taken, some bits very scary, only cars allowed. From there went through Annecy and avoiding Switzerland through a little place called Les Rousses (where there's a hostel) and on through Dole to Gray again.... I just felt fine for pressing on, and Gray was so good I thought it was worth a second visit. And it would be an easy trip from there to Strasbourg on the Saturday. Then after a good trek there both on Saturday and more thoroughly Sunday, I drove that afternoon to Luxembourg. Spent the late afternoon & evening looking around and most of the next morning, but it kept raining so decided to continue - now Monday again - to Dusseldorf, which I got to in good time for a look around there and a snack by the river. On Tuesday I left about 09.30 for Amsterdam, got to a nice campsite on the eastern fringes there around lunchtime, so had the rest of the day - about 7-hours - for a walk around. Weather was excellent, warm and sunny and dry. Then Wednesday morning headed for another afternoon in Brugge. Finally, Thursday, caught the midday ferry from Dunkirk and got back home about 15.00.

One great aspect of the trip was the people one meets at the hostels, fellow travellers from around the world: ie, Germany, Canada, Taiwan, S Korea, France, Norway especially! An extremely well-spent 17-days and with 420-photos of which six below (swipe for other three):

AND that's it in a NUTSHELL.... as the saying goes! 
















At the start of June I wrote at the top of this page :

Am off on a jaunt to EUROPE.... could be two or three weeks into the month before I can get back to this little start of an observation that I guess is shared by most people but is rarely mentioned or considered except by a handful of independent journalists and commentators like John Pilger, William Blum, David Cromwell (of Medialens), etc.... (see links)


Virtually every day I hear of activity going on somewhere in the world that looks barely credible. I'm talking here about human activity, the way people operate, how they manage - or govern - themselves and (more to the point) others. The word 'primitive' doesn't come near to describing it. There's a couple of animals whose legendary behaviour - not sure if factual - might seem to come near to depicting this: the ostrich and the lemming. No, I'm wrong there. The ostrich and the lemming reputedly cause risk or destruction only to themselves. What I hear of is activity, or plans for activity, that is or will be lethal for many others, perhaps vast numbers of others.

Anyone with more than half-a-brain would immediately recognise this as insane. Unfortunately, those in control conduct themselves as though they have less than half-a-brain. It goes with the job. Only those who are half insane or capable of becoming half insane - or totally insane - are 'qualified' for selection for such jobs...

This issue will hopefully be examined further at some point.....