11 o’clock, 11th day, 11th month. I am sitting on a bench on a railway platform in Breisach on the French German border, waiting on a train to take us north to where the wind blows after half a decade living on the calm right bank of the Old Rhine.
In May the Cote D’Azur’s Sentier du Littoral is coastal path paradise and a beachcomber’s delight. There are very few other filthy tourists and the rocky coves are piled high with driftwood. Continue reading
Posted in Beachcombing, France, Walking
Tagged angling, backpacking, bass, by the wind sailor, coastal path, coasteering, driftwood, Fishing, Janthina, Travel, Velella, Violet sea snail
Moby Dick, my Gideons bible, lives in the bedside drawer. Ahab’s Pequod is always ready to sail and carry me away on nights when sleep does not come easy.
The last time I was in Heidelberg I pinched some wi-fi from a coffee shop. If the founders of the coffee shop chain had stayed with their first idea they would have called it Pequod but in the end they decided to name it after the first mate aboard the whaler, Starbuck. Continue reading
Posted in Deutschland, England, Germany, Walking
Tagged Brighton, Brixham, Cornwall, Dartmouth, Deal, Devon, Dungeness, Harlyn, Hastings, Heidelberg, Kent, maps, Melville, Moby Dick, St Ives, Starbucks, Travel
I took a break from walking beaches to take part in this year’s grape harvest. A Winzermeister from a nearby town invited me to help and I thought a little manual labour would do me no harm. Continue reading
Posted in Alsace, Deutschland, France, Germany
Tagged Alsace, Breisach, Europe, German, grape picking, Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Travel, wine
In the three years I have spent mostly in Germany I have reached the dizzy level of a 2-year-old in my German language skills. But to be fair to toddlers I do have more screaming tantrums. What has been a surprise though is that I have started to lose track of the changes in English usage. Continue reading
In May/June 2014 I walked the west coast of the Outer Hebrides from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis. This is a brief account of my treasure hunt.
Posted in Scotland, Walking
Tagged backpacking, barra, Berneray, Eriskay, Harris, Lewis, litter, Outer Hebrides, Salmon farms, Travel, Uist, Vatersay, Wind turbine
I have enjoyed following on twitter and on blogs the planning of walkers heading out in a couple of days to walk across Scotland on the TGO Challenge. It looks to be hard going but great fun and I am more than a little envious of those stepping out.
In mid-May I will be setting out in a different direction on My (Hebridean) Way, a Munro free beachcombing walk following the west coast of the Outer Hebrides from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis.
Because I am feeling left out, and by way of thanks to those tweeters and bloggers who have entertained, educated and tempted me through the winter with their gear lists and expedition reports I humbly offer up my own rambling gear list. Continue reading
A little to the south of Breisach and some 40 km north of the Swiss border two trees grow, one either side of the towpath that runs along the right bank of the old Rhine channel. These two trees form my portal between northern and southern Europe. This gateway is where the cool north and the warm south meet, the midpoint between machair and maquis. Continue reading
Posted in Alps, Alsace, Deutschland, France, Germany, Switzerland
Tagged Breisach, Driving in Germany, EU, Europe, German, Rhine, stereotypes, Travel
Sunday morning early starts are over for the year. Last Sunday was the final pre-dawn break for the border two hours before the Shipping Forecast.
Posted in Alsace, Deutschland, Flea Markets, France, Germany, Switzerland, Uncategorized
Tagged Alsace, Breisach, Driving in Germany, EU, Europe, flohmarkt, German, German humour, humour, puces, Travel, vide grenier
On 22nd October 2012 Dominic Jung from Wetter.net gave the German weather forecast in which he said: “Teilweise tanzen dann sogar im Alpenvorland die Schneeflocken bis ganz runter vom Himmel.“ I ran a Google translate of this forecast and the result was better than I could have imagined,
In the summer of 1982 I took my first flight to Greece. I was sitting in a starboard window seat reading a new travel guide, the first edition of the first Rough Guide by Mark Ellingham, when the clouds below cleared.
We were high over a confusion of jagged sharp crystals. The Alps were scattered below us and far into the distant haze. Continue reading
Posted in Alps, Austria, Deutschland, Germany, Italy, Walking
Tagged Alpine Hut, Alps, Bolzano, cycle touring, E5, Europe, German, Hut to hut hiking, Huts, Oberstdorf, Travel, Via alpina
David Cameron has pledged to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the European Union. Well he can take the day off and annoy his family as I have defined suitable terms for him. Continue reading
Posted in Cycling, Deutschland, Flea Markets, France, Germany
Tagged Breisach, Driving in Germany, EU, Europe, flohmarkt, humour, stereotypes, Travel
Like the grizzly Manxman on the Pequod I was born ‘in the little rocky Isle of Man’. I confess that neither have I his ‘preternatural powers of discernment’ nor was I ‘taught….by the old witch in Copenhagen’. But I can spot a salmon or a stereotype on a good day at 20 paces. Continue reading
Posted in Deutschland, Flea Markets, France, Germany, Isle of Man
Tagged Alsace, Breisach, flohmarkt, German, German humour, humour, kitchenalia, puces, Rhine, stereotypes, Travel, vide grenier
This week my trusty but not rusty Marin took me for a ride to celebrate its 14th birthday, and we had a ‘smashing’ time. Continue reading
Posted in Cycling, Deutschland, Flea Markets, Germany, Switzerland, Uncategorized
Tagged Alps, Ötzi, Bolzano, Breisach, charity shops, cycle path, cycle touring, German, German humour, humour, Iceman, Rhine, Travel
On the drive back down the autobahn the large suitcase lay unopened in the boot. An hour’s drive during which we enjoyed sparring over what priceless treasures we had smuggled from under the noses of the other bidders. Continue reading
SILVER TOURISTS – PAST AND PRESENT
In 2012 two Atlantic salmon, the first for over 50 years, managed to swim their way up the Rhine to Switzerland. The Upper Rhine is still blocked by French EDF dams and these fish had to sneak through the locks beneath the barges heading upstream to Basel. Continue reading
Posted in Deutschland, France, Germany, Switzerland
Tagged Alsace, angling, Basel, Basle, Breisach, fish pass, Fishing, German, German humour, humour, pike, Rhine, salmon, Travel, zander
Germany is always ‘dead fucking last’ on any British list of places to live or places to holiday-home. As the only Manx person living here on purpose I offer you the skeet – the good, the mad and the ‘same as it ever was’ of 18 months living on the bank of the Rhine in southern Germany a short paddle from France.
The story of my cycling endeavours – who brakes loses
Posted in Cycling, Deutschland, Flea Markets, France, Germany
Tagged Autobahn, Breisach, cycle touring, Driving in Germany, Freiburg, German, German humour, humour, Travel
For the first time I cut down a tree this year. Tall weak and spindly and the tree was little better. But neither of us are yet lost causes. At 24 feet taller than me it was always going to be a challenge to get the 30 foot fella to fit in this low ceiling-ed apartment cell.
With the first frosts of winter I have explored the forest of Baden-Württemberg and Alsace either side of the southern Rhine. More precisely I have scratched around the dead ground, for that is the ground that the spiky blackthorn loves best. Continue reading
Posted in Cycling, France, Germany
Tagged Alsace, blackthorn, Breisach, forest, German humour, humour, Rhine, self-sufficiency, Travel, walking stick, wild food