There is no doubt that some of my friends and family who might be considered “serious cyclists” are getting pretty frustrated by their local rules which impose cycling close to home. The loss of a right to roam is taking … Continue reading →
I recently made a flying visit to Lisbon, capital of Portugal. It was what is called a “technical visit”, where I went for two days to work with some walking experts to advise the city about some local projects. That … Continue reading →
The test of a good short break is when you are already planning to go back again before you have even made it home. That was certainly the case last weekend when we followed a Belgian trend by renting a … Continue reading →
I fulfilled a small Belgian ambition yesterday. Ever since I went cycling in Limburg last summer and discovered the beautiful region of the Haspengouw I have been looking forward to going back in spring to see the blossom season. We … Continue reading →
As we almost reached the end of the Australian leg of our journey we spent two days in the wonderful Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Running right down the Eastern coast of the Australian continent is a range of … Continue reading →
Another of my short gallery posts from Australia, this time leaving Melbourne to visit Fish Creek, two hours south-east from central Melbourne in the farming region of South Gippsland. This could so easily have been a cycling post. Having arrived … Continue reading →
If I lived in Rimini I would spend a lot of time in the Café Delle Rosa.
I am a morning person. (If you regard mornings as a torture inflicted on you personally by the devil you can probably ignore the rest of this post!). I wake relatively early when I am at home and in hotel rooms it is quite common that I am awake at four or five am. More than a few of these blog posts have been written in the early hours, but more importantly I think morning is the perfect time to be out in the world. The light, wildlife, tranquillity, empty roads all add up to a great time to see a place or a country. Here in Rimini the view from my room to the mountains of the Marche was just so much sharper in the morning it was tempting me out immediately.
The frustration with that is that I am also a breakfast person and waking up in a hotel where I cannot even get a coffee until 7.30 am can really takes the shine off an early wander.
As a chilly morning started in Rimini I was tempted out of my hotel room by the prospect of a walk and a chance to catch the beach while it was deserted.
To my joy I discovered that close to the sea front was this wonderful 24 hour café serving delicious fresh pastries and confirming why the coffee machine is perhaps Italy’s greatest gift to the world. (More than Campagnolo?….now there’s a debate.) I needed some “me-time” and a passed almost an hour sorting out the world in my head.
I cannot imagine that I would ever want to live in a place that has 7 million visitors a year and in peak season sells its beach by the square metre. But if I did I would come down here on one of the shared Rimini bikes that have a parking point perfectly positioned in front of the café. My only dilemma would be whether to walk and cycle along the beach before or after my coffee.
I wanted to publish a small gallery of favourite photos from the Berkshire village where I have lived for the last ten years as a farewell and a memento.
I had never heard of Finchampstead when I got a job in Guildford but friends encouraged us to consider Wokingham as a place to live because of its environment and its schools. Quite by chance my wife found a house and a school place for our son out in Finchampstead. It was formerly a tiny village with origins as a hamlet in the Royal Windsor hunting forests. But in the 20th century it grew rapidly as housing was carved out of the woods but there is a real legacy of woodland with its country parks and National Trust woodland, not to mention the remaining Crown estates which provide the magnificent mountain biking at Swinley Forest, just a few miles away.
As well as all the great things that go with family life I found one really unexpected thing in Finchampstead. Don’t tell anyone but I actually started enjoying walking. The environment has a lot to do with it but of course the most important stimulant was my furry sidekick. So just a few seasonal favourites from the last five years of walks , culminating with the leading actor himself in the autumn’s leaves, our last walk before we packed the car.