Category Archives: FRANCE

PARIS: COP21,CRITICAL MASS, CLIMATE JUSTICE MARCH

The security is very tight here in Paris.  I’ve been on about 20 airplanes in the last couple years, I’ve never had my luggage inspected like I did after landing in Paris.  There’s a no gathering or protesting restriction in place in Paris.  I’m here for the march, marking the final day of COP21 meetings.
I decided to go visit the COP21 meeting location on my first day in Paris.  I was surprised how little security there was compared to other places I’d visited. Continue reading

MICKEY MOUSE LOVER STANLEY IN ROYAN, FRANCE

I met Stanley, when he was bike touring  in Portland 6 years ago.  He joined us on our annual Oxbow Park introduction to bike touring camp out.  I toured Europe in 2011 with The Dandy Warhols, I had to have my Euro-Rail sent to his house in Royan.  Stanley’s  mom didn’t want any guest, so I rented an apartment from their friend. We’ve been face-book friends and last saw each other in Prague, Czech last summer. I always seem to hit the ground running, when visiting friends.  Stanley bought a little house in Morocco and has learned to cook Moroccan style. So we packed the car (yes car) and brought  all the ingredients to  Christophe’s house.

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HE TREATED US TO CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES COOKED IN A CLAY TAJINE

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                          SEBASTIAN, CHRISTOPHE AND STANLEY

I ask Stanley if we can just walk around town a little, OK.  They had a great farmers market  everyday I was here.  We walk around Royan, which I don’t think Stanley does very often and probably most of us don’t walk much around our cities.either? I love walking through the shops just to see what I can see THERE WAS AN ECLECTIC ART SHOP WITH THESE BIKE SCENE TILES.  SUPER NICE!. IMG_2955 IMG_2954 IMG_2953 I usually like to write about biking but that said walking can be a great way to explore a new city.  We walked along the docks, shops, a sardine shop, and the super farmers market. Stanley told me his mom didn’t want me in the house and he would bring me coffee in the morning.  OK? I  guess.  But by morning Mom came around and welcomed me into the house.  Mom ended up extending a very warm welcome, she cooked us several dinners, authentic French Food. We go biking on these Fat Tire bikes, which made riding on the beach sand,  AWESOME! AND FUN!

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            I HAD JUST ENOUGH CLOTHES TO NOT BE COLD.

People were constantly staring and asking questions about my bike, in French of course ( go figure).  Stanley said it was fun for him the first couple times, then he said he started to just ignored them, so
I took his advice and just kept on riding.

. IMG_2980IMG_2981 THESE ARE FISHING HOUSES ALONG THE BIKE PATH IN ROYAN, FRANCE, A SUPER RIDE I’m staying in an apartment attached to the house, it’s basically in the backyard.  Stanley got his mom to agree to make an Air B&B out of the apartment. I guess I won’t be staying for free anymore. But Good Luck anyway. So my 25 years of landscaping skills kick in and I see where I can make a difference.  I love giving back to my host, it’s makes my traveling adventures more meaningful.

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                                                  THE BEFORE PICTURE

I’m an early riser, so I’m up and start working my Yardtamer magic on this yard.  It takes me maybe 2 hours?

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                                THE AFTER PICTURE (you can see where the ivy was)

Stanley’s Mom  asks me where I got all the stones?  They were there all the time, just buried.  Then she got excited about what we could do.  She wanted these thorn tree branches cut off, (French Style trimming).  I hate ivy so cutting it is always good,  it was growing into the shed and starting up the side of the house.

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                                 EVERYONE GOT IN ON THE ACTION, IT WAS A REALLY FUN TIME.

We had cut the thorn tree first, then attacked the ivy.  Were standing there and Stanley asked for my camera?  He takes a head shot of me? What?

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WHEN I CUT THE THORN BRANCHES ONE BRANCH BRUSHED MY HEAD AND LEFT THIS THORN. i WORKED FOR AN HOUR WITH THE THORN IN MY HEAD. THANKS FOR THE PHOTO STANLEY.

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FINISHED AND REMEMBER TO NEVER PLANT IVY

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FRENCH STYLE TREE TRIMMING, REMOVE ALL THE BRANCHES

Mom cooked us dinner every day so, to give her a break, I went to the Farmers Market and bought Spanish Seafood Paella for us.  I also bought a window cleaning kit at the Farmers Market.  I was skeptical at first, no solution, just water with a scrub pad and bamboo cloths.  I did 2 windows testing it out, it worked great.  Now I have my traveling window cleaning kit.
Active travel is hard work and I’m getting tired.  I don’t want to be dead when I meet Natasa in Lisbon in a few days.  I opt to stay in Bordeaux before flying out to Lisboni say my goodbyes to Stanley and thank him.

I TAKE THE TRAIN TO BORDEAUX AND STAY AT THE ONLY HOSTEL IN TOWN.

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HOSTEL BEDS WITH PRIVY CURTAINS , I’M #2. (I’ll survive)

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I REPORTED TO THE FRONT DESK THAT SOMEONE HAD STOLEN THE TOILET SEAT LAST NIGHT! YOU SEE THIS ALL OVER FRANCE,

IMG_2997I RARELY SAW ANY BUILDINGS THAT WERE PAINTED AND IF THEY WERE IT WAS SOME SHADE OF STONE OR CONCRETE.

Walking around Bordeaux I can smell coffee roasting, I ask at the Hostel and they tell me where it is.

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I’VE STRUCK GOLD, 25KG BAGS OF: GUATEMALAN, COSTA RICAN, BRAZILIAN, MEXICAN, NICARAGUAN and MANY MORE–ALL “FRENCH ROASTED”. I BUY SOME GUATEMALAN. 

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WHILE WALKING I DISCOVER THIS PART FLEA MARKET PART ANTIQUE MARKET.

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SOME AFRICAN ART MASKS

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I WAS TAKING THIS PHOTO AND THE OWNER CAME OUT AND WANTED ME TO PAY TO TAKE THE PICTURE, I JUST WALKED AWAY.

I’m flying Easy Jet to Lisbon, which means you can only bring 1 small bag, nothing more.  The last day I packed my bag early to see if I had room for some more coffee. If your in Bordeaux, visit cafebastouil-alvarezetfils  for the best coffee I have found in Europe. IMG_3060 IMG_3062

SHE DIDN’T SPEAK ANY ENGLISH-NONE, BUT THAT’S OK THE COFFEE’S GREAT!
Thanks for reading and by the way, Stanley-“I Love Mickey Mouse too”
Jeff

NEXT? After 3 weeks of solo travel I’m finally meeting Natasa in Lisbon, now the fun really starts. coffeef1 coffee2 coffee3 coffee4 coffeef

HANGING WITH CAROLE IN POITIER, FRANCE

I met Carole in Portland when she married my friend and past employee Corey.  She was originally from Poitier, but was now married and living in Portland.  Like half of marriages, they separated and she moved back to Poitier, close to her family.  I always liked Carole, if I was at a party in Portland and she was there, I immediately went over and talked with her.  I had planned my visits with Vincent and Stanley (next post), as an after thought I thought maybe Carole lived nearby?  Coincidentally they all lived with 100 km of each other, AWESOME!
Vincent and I meet Carole for lunch in front of Notre-Dame-la-Grande,

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IT MAY NOT SEEM LIKE MUCH FROM A DISTANCE

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BUT, UPON A CLOSER LOOK, IT’S AMAZING!

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AT NIGHT THEY PAINT THE CHURCH WITH COLORED LIGHTS

We walk and talk, it was super great to see Carole and how good she’s doing.

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WE WALK THROUGH THE PARK, THE FRENCH TRIM THEIR TREES “WAY BACK”, Interesting.

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WE CIRCLE AROUND AND BACK TO THE CHURCH AND THIS STRING BAND, WITH ATTACHMENTS IS PLAYING,

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EATING REAL FRENCH FOOD COOKED BY A FRENCH-WOMEN. WHAT’S A FRENCH MEAL WITHOUT A BAGUETTE!

The next day we walk, what feels like, the entire city of Poitier.  Anywhere you walk in Poitier it’s hills– everywhere.  If you’ve read this blog you know I Love the E-Bike.  You wouldn’t bike here very efficiently unless you had an E-Bike. I had suggested we rent an E-Bike, so we called the city sponsored program and all the E-Bikes they had were rented out, to residents.  They using a locally manufactured E-Bike, it’s good all around!
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THE OLD BUILDINGS IN TOWN WERE VERY RENAISSANCE 

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THIS WAS INSIDE A COURTYARD NEAR THE UNIVERSITY. IT CONTAINS SO MANY INTERESTING FEATURES.

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FRANCE GAVE AMERICA THE STATUE OF LIBERTY THAT’S STANDS IN NEW YORK’S HARBOR. AND WELL POITIER HAS A MINIATURE REPLICA IN THE PARK, MAYBE 3 METERS HIGH.(10ft.)

Carole’s mom invited us for dinner.  I met both her and her aunt during the wedding celebrations in Portland 8 years earlier in 2007.  They rented the house next door to me for a month during the wedding visit.  They said they actually remembered me, I’m feeling special now.

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CAROLE, her aunt MAURICETTE, ME and her Mom-CHARLETTE

There is this weird tradition that the French have which is after every meal they have a plate of different cheeses.

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CREAMY, SMOKEY, MOLDY AND HARD CHEESES FOR AFTER DINNER.

Being the American that I am, an after meal desert is something with sugar! and France is the best place to accomplish that.

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WE CUT THE DESERTS INTO 4 PIECES SO WE COULD TRY THEM ALL

Visiting people and places is awesome and having a local guide is great too.  But the biggest reward for me is to give back to my host.  She lived on the 6th floor with a great view of the city but through dirty windows.
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I HAD CAROLE TAKE ME TO THE STORE WHERE I BOUGHT THIS WINDOW SQUEEGEE
(I had to show my best side)

It’s farmers market day, another great activity to do in a new city.
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Europe is full of immigrants from all around the world and Poitier is no different.
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THESE TURKISH WOMEN ARE MAKING TRADITIONAL VEGETARIAN WRAPS

IMG_2947WE HAD AN AWESOME FARMERS MARKET LUNCH: OLIVES, FRESH APPLE JUICE AND TURKISH WRAPS
When I wasn’t looking Carole bought some turkey for dinner, little did she know that turkey is my favorite meat (if I’m eating meat).
COOKING QUAIL EGGS FROM THE FARMERS MARKET.
 CAROLE IS COOKING A FRENCH DELICACY WE GOT AT THE FARMERS MARKET       SMALL QUAIL EGGS

It’s my last day and Carole offers to do a small village tour loop–with the car.  After walking up and down hills for 2 days, I’m ready to just sit and enjoy the sights.

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                                   THIS IS KNOWN AS SMALL VILLAGE PUBLIC “ART”

IMG_2935CHATEAU DE DISSAY, THIS IS WHY EUROPE IS MORE INTERESTING THAN AMERICA, HISTORY.  THIS CASTLE IS 500 YEARS OLD.

IMG_2948IT’S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE, THANKS CAROLE FOR HAVING ME AS A HOUSE GUEST.
 Now Carole can get back to the hitting the books, preparing to take the teachers test. Good Luck.
Thanks for reading
Jeff
NEXT? MIICKEY MOUSE LOVER STANLEY IN ROYAN FRANCE

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WHERE THE HELL IS AIRVAULT FRANCE?   DON’T ASK THE FRENCH CAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW EITHER.

I’m came to Airvault because that’s where Vincent of Albania and Greece bike touring fame lives.  We also exchanged many corresondences  after we parted ways 

Vincent moved out of his parents basement, so I moved into the basement, super great place.  Both of his parents are interesting, gardening, cooking and some travelling too.  I had a gardening business in Portland for 25 years, so I know how much work their yard is to maintain.

  

THIS IS FRANCOIS (VINCET’S DAD) WINTER GARDEN OF LETTUCE, HE USES THOSE PLASTIC COVERS TO SUCCEED 

                        THIS IS MARIE-JEANNE (VINCET’S MOM) PICKING SPRING DAFFODILS. 

The next day, Vincent and I biked around the forgotten villages of the French countryside.  We passed through one village and Vincent said “this is where my Dad grew up”,

                                                                         HE ONLY GREW SO FAR!

Marie-Francois spoke a little english, Dad? nearly none.   Vincent said it was killing his Dad because he loves to talk.  They asked me to help Vincent quit smoking, Dad ran marathons, so go figure.

Vincent got us a couple bikes so off we go.  We explored places you couldn’t find on your own without a local guide like Vincent.

  

    I’M GETTING FAT-HOLY SHIT

THIS LOCAL GENTLEMAN GOT US THE PHONE NUMBER FOR SOMEONE TO LET US INTO A HISTORICAL BUILDING.

  

                          WE CROSSED THE RIVER MANY TIMES  ON A DIFFERENT TYPE OF BRIDGE EVERYTIME

                                            I TOOK THIS PHOTO FROM THE “NEW” BRIDGE

I ASKED VINCENT IF WE COULD RIDE OVER IT, EASIER SAID THAN DONE,, I WALKED THE BIKE , IT WAS ROUGH..

 

VINCENT IS A GREAT TOUR GUIDE, EVERYTIME WE FELT A LITTLE LOST, HE GOT OUT THE MAP AND SORTED IT OUT.

                     THIS IS THE WALK  FROM VINCENTS HOUSE BACK TO HIS PARENTS HOUSE.

                            THIS CASTLE HAD THE  MOET COMPLETELY AROUND IT, JUST LIKE A REAL CASTLE!

WE WERE GOING TO TAKE A GET HIGH BREAK, THEN CROSS THIS STONE BRIDGE AFTER, I DECIDED TO TAKE MY BIKE OVER BEFORE,THEN VINCENT CHANGED OUR ROUTE.  HE VOLUNTEERED TO RETRIEVE MY BIKE.

GETTING VINCENT TO QUIT SMOKING WON’T BE EASY..  NATASA TOLD HIM HE WAS A PERFECT GUY, BUT JUST NEEDED TO QUIT SMOKING.  I HOPE HE DECIDES TO!

  

                                       TYPICAL FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE STONE BUILDING

VINCENT TOOK 10 PICTURES OF THIS SHEEP IN THE FIELD, SO TO MAKE HIM FEEL BETTER, I’M POSTING IT.

                             THIS IS A SPECIAL BREED OF DONKEY THAT IS NATIVE TO THIS REGION

                                                               SOME OF THEM WERE SUPER HAIRY

                               THIS IS THE NOW CLOSED AND FORGOTTEN  AIRVAULT TRAIN STATION  

  

ALL OF THESE TREES ARE COVERED WITH ENGLISH IVY.  ENGLISH IVY, AN INVASIVE PLANT, IS EVERWHERE.  THERE NEEDS TO BE A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO STOP IT FROM SPREADING.  YOU CANNOT BUY IVY IN OREGON.

Vincent bought us some tickets to see Portland’s band, THE DANDY WARHOLS, in La Rochell..  There’s an island outside of La Rochell, called Ile de Re.  We pack up the bikes and head to the island, for several days of cycling.

WE’RE KILLING IT ON THE ISLAND

  I SPRAWLED OUT AND JUST WATCHED THE CLOUDS FLOAT BY AND REALIZED I LUCKY I AM TO BE ALIVE.

 

THIS  IS A WALKING PATH, NO BIKES ALLOWED!! BUT “OFF” SEASON TRAVEL HAS IT’S PERKS, WE HAD THE ISLAND TO OURSELVES.  YOU CAN SEE THERE’S NOBODY HERE,  JUST DRESS WARM!

  

THIS IS THE SCENE OF THE CRIME, VINCENT WAS TURNING THE CAR AROUND AND CRUNCHED THE REAR FENDER, BAD.  I TOLD VINCENT TO TELL HIS PARENTS HE QUIT SMOKING SO THEY WOULDN’T CARE ABOUT THE CAR.

  WE SAW THE DANDY’S IN LA ROCHELL,   I’VE SEEN THEM MAYBE 12 TIMES,, I KNOW ALL THEIR MUSIC INSIDE AND OUT.  THERE WERE TIMES I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT SONG THEY WERE PLAYING, THE SOUND WAS BAD. 

  

            THE BIKE PATH MEANDERED THROUGH THE SALT MARSHES THAT WERE FULL  OF WILDLIFE

            THE BIKE PATH AROUND THE ISLAND WAS OFF ROAD AND ALWAYS NEARLY CAR-FREE WHEN WE HAD TO USE A ROAD.

BICYCLE DOOR MAT,  I WANTED TO BUY IT. BUT FLYING EASY JET THEY DONT LIKE EXTRA STUFF.  I PAID $500 EXTRA TO SEND MY BICYCLE & CAMPING GEAR A COUPLE YEARS AGO. MAYBE THEY LIKE EXTRA STUFF?

HANGING OUT OCEANSIDE WITH MY GOOD FRIEND AND BIKING BUDDY, VINCENT. IT DOESNT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS.

  

EVERY RESIDENTIAL BUILDING LOOKED LIKE THIS, ONLY MAYBE WITH DIFFERENT COLORED SHUTTERS, THAT’S IT.

II SWEAR 1/2 THE FRENCH AT ANYONE TIME ARE WALKING AROUND WITH A BAUGETTE IN HAND, IN A BIKE BASKET TOO!

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES OF THE ISLAND FROM A LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER..                                                            We never actually visit La Rochell, maybe next time.  Were back in Airvault

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                                  THIS IS VINCENT’S NEW UPSTAIRS BEDROOM, FROM THE PARENTS  BASEMENT TO THE SECOND FLOOR, MOVING ON UP!

It’s our last day in Airvault,, Vincent’s asking biking? hiking? I’m beat, I tell him I just want to wash his parents cars,, they were dirty.  I like showing my appreciation for them hosting me. HIs parents served us Foie Gras, cheese fondue  with baugette!! with homegrown lettuce  salad, which was super cool.

After finishing the cars, we start  an hour walk, as were walking he mentions fixing the greenhouse.  As were walking I suggest we go back and fix the greenhouse.  I love to do that kind of handy stuff, while I still can.

                     IT TOOK SEVERAL HOURS JUST TO TAKE OFF ALL THE NAILS AND TRIM WOOD

WE WEREN’T VERY GOOD AT GETTING THE PLASTIC TIGHT BEFORE STAPLING, IN CASE YOU COULDN’T TELL. 

THE BRITISH RETIRES HAVE FOUND AIRVAULT, THIS IS WHERE THEY STORE THEIR TRAILERS IN THE WINTER.

II had a super time with Vincent and his parents.  The thing that impressed me the most were all the birds we saw and heard while on our bike ride around Airvault, WOW!   I didn’t hear that many different birds in the jungles of SE Asia.  If birding and biking is something you enjoy, you must visit Airvault,  put it on your list, NOW.

Vincent spent 6 months living on Crete and was going to return.  But upon his return to Airvault I think he realizes how compareable they reallly are.  He has a great project going on with his dad. Vincent seems to have the decsion to live Airvault, awesome choice.  Now it will be easier to visit Airvault sooner, with Natasa.  Thanks for staying Vincent, hope to see you sooner than later.

VINCENT GIVES ME A RIDE TO POITIERS FOR THE HAND-OFF TO CAROLE

                                                                    IT’S A BAR PICTURE OK?

THANKS FOR READING

JEFF

NEXT?  POITIERS, FRANCE WITH CAROLE

   

  

VIENNA, BERLIN by BIKE  AND DITCH PARIS

I’m on a 5 week tour around Europe, by train, plane, automobile and eventually by bike.  I’m visiting fellow bike touring friends I’ve meet on my journeys.  I’ll be biking with them mostly, but some walking too (my favorite).

Direct  flights from Ljubljana tend to be neither direct nor cheap.  So I’m taking the bus from Ljubljana to Vienna and staying at the “SUPER CLEAN”  VIENNA CITY HOSTEL.  They had bed and breakfast for $20 and $10 a day bicycles.  So my $61 Germanwings airline ticket to  Berlin, wasn’t until 7:30 at night.   So I  rented a bike and rode around Vienna, I’ve been here before.  I don’t know what I was thinking? Vienna in a Day!?   No Way, it’s a big city.   The City Center was designated a UNESCO World heritage site in 2001.  In 2014 Vienna was recognized as the most liveable city in the world.  There’s almost 2 million peple living here.

I did some homework on Vienna and discovered they had an island on the river, like Prauge.

 So I rented my bike and headed in that direction.

I knew when I saw this sign it was a good city.  Eating meat has a high C02 emmissions footprint they say 51% of C02 is from raising animals to eat.

 

I love taking sign photos, more than taking nature pictures

                                                     ENJOY YOUR LIFE IT’S AWESOME 

 I rode by a huge theme park, they must have 4 big roller coasters.  I finally found the island, no commercial buildings, just one wind turbine.  Traveling in the off season has it’s benefits, it was almost my own island.

 

  I LOVE ALL THE HISTORY  & BUILDINGS OF EUROPE

                                                                                                    THIS IS A METRO TRAIN BRIDGE, NO CARS 

 I still think in balance, the bicycle takes you more places than walking could

I THINK I FOUND THE HEADSTONE FOR MY GRAVE.  AS I WAS TAKING THE PICTURE THE SALESMAN CAME RUNNING OUT TO “”HELP” ME..   I TOLD HIM I WASNT READY YET. 

 I refused to use my Iphone data, to find my way back to the hostel..  I knew I was close, but I’ve been riding a lot and I was beat..  I finally gave in and turned on the data roaming ($), I was only 1kkm from the hostel, close.  Back at the hostel I get a message from Mark,,  has to leave Berlin,  but can leave his apartment keys with a nieghbor.

  I figure out how to get to his apt.  His widows are dirty, so I clean them all insde and out.  All good travellers should show their appreciation for being hosted.

I make plans to visit the Tourism Trade Show that’s happening in Berlin.. I really wanted  to go so it worked good, I had something fun to do.

                  THE BEAURIFUL WOMEN OF SRI LANKA 

 The tourism show had  representatives from every country: Iran, Cuba, Russia & America  (set up next to each other).   I sstopped by the New Zealand booth and told them I’ve visited there country and loved it.  II told her she had an easy job “”trying”  to sell New Zealand.  Then I walked a little further and there was the Pakistan booth.  He  was trying to tell my that I should visit Pakistan.  I could hardly  keep a straight face,, OK tell me.  We have K2, 3 glaciers, ahh? NO.  First that sounds cold and second? I disapprove of the way they treat women and restrict girls education.   He said his village had a 94% literacy rate,, but he agreed with my general analysis of the situation in Pakistan.  I won’t be going to Pakistan any time soon..                      THE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN OF THE MALDIVES

        AFTER TODAY I FEEL LIKE THE KING (of travel) I went to nearly every country ((booth) around the world.

 Marc was still out of town so I get his bike and ride around Berlin.. It has a great network of bike lanes, except in the core of the tourist destinations.

  IF YOU USE A BIKE TO HOLD YOUR SIGN IS IT FREE? 

 In Portland they have a pedal beer tour, you drink while you pedal.  But I saw these in Berlin and had never seen them anywhere before.

IT’S GREAT SEEING PEOPLE TRY ALTERNATIVE TYPES OF TOURING 

Marc  and I bike toured together  20 years ago in  New Zealand..  I have visited him and his parents in  the former East Germany several times over the years.   Marc is back Sunday night,, so on Monday we decide to bike the “WALL TOUR”   

 

 

  THE FAMOUS CHECK POINT CHARLIE THAT SEPARATED EAST AND WEST GERMANY

 

 THE UNTOUCHED WALL 

                      WE PUT TOGETHER  MARCS FIRST TV,, EVER!!  LET’S JUST SAY IT’S BIG!

Back at the Berlin airport and your phone is low.

THESE ARE SELF-CHARGING PHONE  STATIONS, KEEP PEDALING IF YOU WANT TO SURF!?

When travelling I ssometimes look for music and art events that are going on.  Paris had David Bowies touring collection off outfits and other memorablia.  I saw David Bowie in 1973 and really wanted to go. So I bought a ticket oonline and thought I would go since I was in Paris early.  The train ticket to the exhibit was nearly $50 roundtrip, I threw the David Bowie ticket away.

I spent 2 weeks in France, that is why there hasn’t been a blog post in awhile.  FRANCES’S INTERNET IS THE WORST IN THE WORLD!! EVEN BURMA’S WAS BETTER.

I’m in Lisbon now, picking up Natasa Saturday, at the airport.  I visited 3 friends in France  and biked and hiked a lot.

THANKS FOR READING

JEFF

NEXT? A REAL FRENCH COUNNTRYSIDE VILLAGE, WITH BARELY A CAR IN SIGHT.

   

   

WHAT WAS MY FAVORITE COUNTRY? PART I

Everyone asks “what was your favorite country?” I had never really thought about it because I had nothing but positive experiences everywhere I stayed. So the answer I’ve used several times: “I would re-visit every place again, if given the opportunity.” “If you told me you were going to Tavira, Portugal I would want to go with you.” The only place I visited (and without my bike) was Morocco, that I couldn’t make a recommendation one way or the other. It was great at times but trying at other times, the jury is still out on Morocco.
I’m going to write a small commentary on each country I visited. I hope there’s enough for you to plan a trip to one of the many places I visited.
PORTUGAL
I pace my travel in order to avoid having to return. But I spent 5days in LISBON, I left feeling a yearning for more.

20140104-105632.jpgTHE PUBLIC PLAZAS WERE ALL VERY INTERESTING AND CREATIVE

20140104-105759.jpg I RODE DURING THE EARLY SPRING BLOOMS, OUTRAGEOUSLY BEAUTIFUL

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MIGEL’S HOSTEL IN TAVIRA, FELT LIKE HOME
Biking in Portugal was so satisfying, I felt all the work in planning for this trip was paid back and I could have come home. (notice could have)
SPAIN
I’ve had friends rave about Spain, I get it now. The history, art, landscape diversity and the people were tops. I had a year for this adventure, I could have easily spent it all in Spain.

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LOTS OF AWESOME VIEWS

20140104-110930.jpgCLIFF’S HOSPITALITY WAS JUST A SMALL SAMPLE OF WHAT PEOPLE EXTENDED TO ME

20140104-112825.jpgI FOUND THE MUSLIM ART AT BOTH ALCAZAR and ALHAMBRA TO BE IN MINT CONDITION. (much better than Topeka Palace in Turkey)

20140104-114356.jpg THE VILLAGE OF COLERA HAD ART, NUMEROUS ACTIVITIES: DIVING, HIKING, SNORKELING, SWIMMING, KAYAKING. HISTORY AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON NURIA’S COMMUNITY GARDEN PLOT!
After staying at 2 “border” towns I find they have a lot of the countries uniqueness without the crowds. I would re-visit COLERA without hesitation.
MOROCCO
I wasn’t going to go to Morocco, but from Seville, Spain a round trip ticket cost 130 EURO ($169), OK I’ll go! I spent 2 weeks: SAHARA DESERT and SIDI IFNI and FEZ . I consider myself pretty well travelled (3 times around the world), but MARRAKESH ate me alive. I wasn’t ready for the continuous opportunities they found to take advantage of me.

20140104-121736.jpg I GOT SCAMMED INTO VISITING THE TANNERY DURING THIS WEEKENDS “CELEBRATION”. Remember a tannery is where they work dead animal skins, WTF!

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I LOVE AND RESPECT AGRICULTURAL WORK, BUT HERE IT SEEMED ONLY THE WOMEN WERE WORKING IN THE FIELDS

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THE CAMEL CAMPOUT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE AND A SUPER VALUE

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AWAY FROM THE BIG CITIES BIKING CAN BE SAFE AND VERY REWARDING (rented bikes are shit)

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THEN THERE’S THE GARBAGE SITUATION, TOSSED INTO THE STREET AT NIGHT, BUT CLEANED UP BY SUNRISE

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MOST OF THE MOROCCANS WERE AWESOME, BUT THE SCAMMERS GAVE THE COUNTRY A BLACK EYE
Like I said earlier, the jury is out about recommending or returning to Morocco. I have a friend building a house there, so maybe I’ll return someday?
FRANCE
The first 2 hours of biking in France, I flipped off 3 drivers, non previous to that. It was the start of their busy tourist season on the coast, everyone was in a hurry, to have fun? I was in France 20 years ago, you couldn’t hardly get a cup of coffee unless you spoke French. That’s over, they got the memo, English is the International language, not French. I felt so welcome speaking only english, it was awesome.

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MY GOOGLE CALENDAR ALERTED ME TO NEIL YOUNG’S CONCERT, I QUICKLY LEFT SPAIN AND HEADED EAST.

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THE FRENCH WERE VERY HOSPITABLE, DINNER, CONVERSATION AND LOTS OF LAUGHS
The tourist office in TENDE (another border town) recommended I visit GRANILE. The tourist office was spot on about this recommendation.

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GRANILE WAS THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE I VISITED IN FRANCE
I was so close to MONACO I decided to join the 20,000 tourist who visit daily. The country is 2km X 2km, best known as a tax haven and for gambling. I thought it was kinda of a police state too, I was stopped 3 times and reprimanded for something? (no police photos from here).

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MONACO’S AQUARIUM WAS AMAZING! BUILT IN 1910 (PHOTOS)
ITALY
I had several awesome bike tours planned. The more I thought about it and some of my other options, it came down to, no Italy. I did spend some time in VENICE. It was pretty hot, crowded and the transportation options were limited. I was kinda burned out from traveling, so I holed up in my air-conditioned hotel room.

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THE MURANO GLASS WAS REALLY AWESOME
A local told me there were three businesses that made good money: the water taxis, gondola paddlers and

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THE LUGGAGE GUYS (this guy is earning his now) I NEEDED HELP GETTING MY BIKE AND TRAILER OVER A PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, $10 FOR 1 MINUTE OF WORK (I did it myself)
I got the train out of hot Venice and headed for the cool mountains of Slovenia.

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RIGHT OFF THE TRAIN, I GRABBED THIS BIKE PATH ALL THE WAY TO SLOVENIA!

20140104-185607.jpgBUT NOT BEFORE I CAMPED ILLEGALLY AT LAGHI DI FUSINE
I really didn’t give Italy a chance to win me over, but my decsion to skip Italy proved to be life changing. Maybe Italy will be in some future travel plans. If you really must see the leaning tower of Pisa, google it.
This blog post is longer than I thought it would be, so 2 parts.
Thanks for reading (the stat page tells me your reading)
Climate Change needs your action to stop, please stand up and make a difference.
Ride On
Jeff
NEXT? WHAT WAS MY FAVORITE COUNTRY PART II

STORY & PHOTOS OF POLICEMEN & POLICEWOMEN!

I was in Portugal and spotted this Policeman who looked like the “terminator” cop. I wanted to get a photo. I asked if I could, then his friend said yes, I just wanted terminator, but OK, I took this photo

20131203-091859.jpgPORTUGUESE POLICE PHOTO WITH THE TERMINATOR COP AND HIS FRIEND
I take the ferry to Spain, there were 2 policeman who were giving me directions to the phone store , I showed them the Portuguese photo then they offered to have their photo taken.. I said “Heck Ya.” This was the start of collecting policeman photos in every country I visited.

20131203-092332.jpgTHE SPANISH POLICE WERE SUPER FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL
A friend (?) from France wrote and told me to look out for Spanish cops. I sent him this photo and asked, “these guys?”
I’m biking around France, shopped at a farmers market and spotted 2 policeman. I asked him for photo? No. I show him the Spanish photo, he walks away. He joins his partner across the street, then he waves me over.

20131203-102226.jpgTOOK SOME CONVINCING BUT I FINALLY GOT THE PICTURE OF FRENCH POLICEMAN.
My first day in Venice, Italy at the ATM I spotted 2 policeman and they eagerly agreed to the photo.

20131203-150825.jpgTHESE ITALIAN POLICEMAN NEEDED NO CONVINCING TO HAVE THEIR PICTURE TAKEN.
Slovenia was a real task, I had to compromise some with this one. First, there are hardly any police around! I had always tried to get 2 policeman together, that wasn’t going to happen here.

20131203-151409.jpgTHIS IS THE SLOVENIAN PARLIAMENTARY BUILDING “POLICE” GUARD. THAT’S THE BEST I COULD DO. There are really no police to be found and not 2 together for sure.
The Croatian policeman shot was just about as difficult as the Slovenian. I hardly ever saw the police here either. But when we were dropping off bike boxes at the ferry dock, I spotted several armed “dock” police.

20131203-152142.jpgTHIS IS THE CROATIAN MARITIME POLICE, AGAIN IT’S THE BEST I COULD DO.
The Montenegro police photo was totally by “accident.” I was only going to be in Montenegro for 24 hours, so my chances were pretty slime. The bus I was riding in got in an accident, so the police arrived to take a report.

20131203-152736.jpgTHE MONTENEGRO POLICE DELIVERED THIS PHOTO BY WAY OF AN ACCIDENT.
Albania was fairly easy, the first night in town I walked into town with a local. He convinced them it would be OK, somehow?

20131203-153123.jpgTHIS ALBANIAN POLICEMAN PHOTO WAS TAKEN MY FIRST 5 MINUTES OF WALKING THE STREETS

The Greek policeman photo should have been of at least 2 policeman. Of the four policeman, only this one agreed to a picture.

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THE GREEK POLICEMAN ALL COMPLAINED ABOUT GERMAN CHANCELLOR MERKEL’S AUSTERITY DEMANDS
This next photo of the Turkish police is the Gold Standard from which all policeman photos should be judged.

20131203-161812.jpgHOT TURKISH POLICEWOMEN WITH MACHINE GUN–YEP HOLY SHOT
It was fairly easy to get all the 10 countries I visited policeman photos, but one Morocco. When I asked maybe 10 different policeman the answer was always the same “IT IS FORBIDDEN.” So I pretended to be adjusting my music while taking a few pictures:

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THANKS FOR READING, TALK SOON
RIDE ON, JEFF