Easter treats – the boulangerie is open

Every sporty cyclist knows the importance of proper recuperation and diet after a ride. After a hard day watching De Ronde Van Vlaanderen it is vital for the full Belgian experience that we keep ourselves in shape.

Only one shop in town is open, but it is the most important. Gorgeous.Patisserie BelgiumRixensart Boulangerie

Well that was good!

TaiwanWonderful Taiwanese hospitality today with the family of Hsin-wen Chang, head of the Bike-Friendly Environment Planning Studio project at Chung Hua University in Hsin Chu, about 100km from Taipei. She is not only a great enthusiast for cycling but a really welcome host – what more can one say!

First a tasting of Taiwanese tea with full ceremony and then an ever expanding meal at a favourite restaurant. Plenty of dishes I have never seen or tasted before washed down with more tea and rice wine.

A great way to relax after the intensity of the Taipei Cycle Show. More to come on tea, food and cycling in Taipei when I get back and sort all the photos and stories.

Meal in Hsin Chu, Taiwan

Taking tea, Taiwan style

What else would today’s Belgian train be made of other than chocolate?

Brussels Midi stationBrussels Midi stationBrussels MidiJust walking through the main Brussels station, not really paying attention because it was early in the morning and I was off to the Netherlands.

So I did an almightly double-take when my path was crossed by a huge model train, in fact two model trains with absolutely wonderful detailing. Made of chocolate! And a world record apparently, over a tonne in weight and 30 metres long.Brussels Midi station

Now that is how to celebrate your national obsession with chocolate. I’ll have one of these for Christmas please Santa.

My best day’s photography ever? The light of Venice

My old camera died last week, probably battered to death by the constant bashing in and out of pockets when cycling. A sad end to a regular companion of nearly eight years, but I can never say that I didn’t get value from it. Birthday coming up, so the present is decided.

It seems amazing to me that I have only been blogging for less than a year and already I can see a change in my photography, thinking of more interesting approaches and images than I did before so I can describe my travels. I feel quite embarrassed when someone asks about how I took a shot or what camera I use because I really cannot compare to the work that I see on the web and I am using a small eight year old camera. But there are shots from earlier years that I am quite pleased with and I thought I might put together a self-indulgent set that deserve to join more recent ones in the blog to close the door on that camera.

However when I was looking I came across just one set of shots that stood out above the rest and deserved a post of their own. So indulge me – RIP Fujifilm Finepix E550.

Spring three years ago I went to Venice for the first time.

We arrived on a horrible wet day and stayed in a hotel on the mainland. In the evening we took the train over to the island city. I must admit I was completely underwhelmed as our hosts dragged us through a maze of dark, rainy and graffiti strewn alleys to a restaurant and then back in the evening. Clearly a place that was over-rated and ruined by its own reputation.

However I went back on the Saturday morning with a free day and the most extraordinary light burst from a cloudless sky, especially out on the ferries from the Grand Canal into the surrounding lagoon. From a photographic point of view the best opportunities I have ever seen, and a small chance to capture why Venice is “Serenissima, Queen of the Adriatic”. Possibly my best day with a camera. So far?

VeniceVenice Grand CanalVenice