zurich
 

2016

Countries/territories visited: .eng, .ch, .fr, .es, .de, .dk, .se, .fi, .ru, .ax, .es, .pt

The year commences with me in Totnes in Devon - with that classic Devon weather.

Then there is a short visit to Bristol to see the M-Shed, a panto (not very traditional) have some good food and create an animation at the Ardman exhibit @ Bristol.

Bristol Docks from the M-Shed

 

Animation

And Bristol is, of course, the home of Bansky. One of his original works was on the side of a ship. It was later removed and is exhibited in the M-Shed - yep, one of the plates from the ship.

Bansky's Grim Reaper

10-FEB

Back to

Switzerland

First to Geneva to visit friends and also take a trip to Milosh's dog breeder in Pierre de Bresse in France. It looks like there will be a new puppy in the Summer sometime.

Then to Zurich to stay with my son for a few days and to get the usual "servicing" done, eyes, body, teeth. Visting friends is also a delight this time of year, something to brighten up things even if the weather is pretty poor.

Zurich Opera House

The Old Town

Geneva is next on the list, to see friends. This year I also get to go to The Geneva Motor Show for the first time in many years.

Yes, Mr Rees, it is the original.

The original, followed by a discussion of the correct color for the new design:

DB11

But there is also a sweet little runner on view:

Fiat Spyder Nice!

Smile!

Fiat Spyder, would be interesting to have one on a trailer.

Then off to the South - where there should be sun to lift the mood.

France

A quiet night in Beausembant

Beausembant Rest Area Very nice stop, free. 45.21846 4.833264

And a cold night in Agde.

Agde Rest Area No services, near the port. 43.28614 3.51741

Spain

After a night at a motorway parking (very quiet with hot coffee and Wifi in the morning) I visit a Honeywell colleague in Torrevieja before heading further South.

A few days at the campsite in Motril.

Playa de Poniente Campsite Good facilities by the beach, a little dusty. 36.71812 3.54715

Included was a bike ride around the town,

Then on to Cabopino for a few weeks.

Cabopino Campsite Excellent facilities at a reasonable price if you stay long enough. 36.48989 4.74275

A visit to Màlaga is also part of the programme. Three museums with a bite to eat too.

Bits of Chalk

Some Coloured Sticks

Pots

 

The Beach

And, there is a great Irish guitarist making some cool sounds too.

Then back to Motril to see friends.

Playa de Poniente Campsite Good facilities by the beach, a little dusty. 36.71812 3.54715

On the way I pick up a friend.

Furry Friend

Next Stop is Sitges

Aire Sitges Free, no facilities and sloping. 41.25085 1.81406

Then by the C31 along the coast and around Barcelona. Then to Jonquera where the wind is quite strong for a rest before heading into:

France

This turns out to be a long drive (no toll roads) with a great deal of wind and many trucks to Méze where the aire is pretty full.

Méze Aire Dusty, but a grey water disposal and plenty of rubbish bins 43.44102 3.59418

Over the hills to Beausemblant aire again.

Beausembant Rest Area Very nice stop, free. 45.21846 4.833264

and then to see the old town in Cremieu which has an aire which is quiet during the night until the commuters arrive.

Cremieu Aire Nice stop, free. 45.72549 5.24641

Then I decide to take another look at Clermont-Ferrand and go up a delightful valley which used to have a single-track railway (probably for extraction purposes) with that bright Spring, green in the leaves. to the campsite at Auroy.

On the way is a small resturant in the hills - delicious French food at a most reasonable price - €12.5

Food Stop

Auroy Campsite Quiet, beside a stream. Good facilities, friendly staff. 45.70080 3.17017

Then on to a few days in Clermont-Ferrand.

Clermont-Ferrand Parking OK, limited facilities. Right adjecent to the tram - 5 stops North to Auchan and 19 stops to the city. 45.77685 3.08166

This city has been home for Michelin for many years. A visit to the "Michelin Experience" is well worth it, the story of the radial tyre. The company patented the technology in 20 countries and made a name in other areas such as aeronautics and racing cars. It still invests a lot in research.

First they won a bike ride

Then a car race - they finished

The first electric car - 2 tons, 70 Km/h and then 100 Km/h

The first Electric Car

And, of course someone cant be forgotten:

Swimming Pool

Over the years he has changed:

Bibendum

"Nunc Est bibendum" (Now let us drink!)

There are several test vehicles, including this DS - 2 x chevy V8s - haha!

DS with 10 wheels

The latest Bibendum has tyre eyes.

Bibendum

Radial Technology

And then on to the "Vizsla Farm" for a short visit. Only 6 around this time, but oh my, what a welcome...

Two

One

Then I get to see a french hospital for a couple of nights. What would we do without anti-biotics?

Belfort Hospital

Germany

Then it's off to the dealer near Freiburg, but I have missed the appointment, so will have to go back in August to have all "the little things" repaired.

There is a really good (though busy) site near Heidelberg:

Nesslewang Campsite Next to the river, very green and good facilities 47.62005 10.49812

Then off to the North with a stop just south of Hamburg.

Luneberg Campsite Owned by the members. Very good site - including "luxourious services". 53.22517 10.08735

The ferry at Puttgarten takes me to

Denmark

For a couple of nights at Mons Klimt, the cliffs are impressive as are the rolling hills.

Mons Klimt Campsite Owned by the members. Very good site - including "luxourious services". 53.22517 10.08735

Mons Klimt cliffs

And on to the site just North of Copenhagen, right on the coast.

Charlotten Fort Campsite Owned by the members. Very good site - including "luxourious services". 53.74613 12.58659

The Fort

A few people actually swimming - ah!

And I get a few visits:

Ducks like seeds

Then on to

Sweden

For a quiet night at Grimeton, site of a Low-frequency transmission station - all nicely preserved. A World Heritage Site.

Grimeton Parking No services, but quiet and a great location. (Hint: no people.) 57.11264 12.40618

Grimeton at Night

Then waking up to this delightful sight.

Grimeton Dawn

The day simply gets better with a cream-pink Volvo on the motorway - haha. And I listen to Tom Hanks on DID. What a delightful human he is, and I receive a take-away: "Loneliness is one thing, but solitude something else."

The night is spent next to a huge hole:

Falun World Heritage Mine Parking No services but quiet. 60.60155 15.61681

Off early the next morning to Härnösand, parked by the river.

Härnösand Parking No services. 62.63610 17.93805

parking by the lake Härnösand

And then off to good friends in Lulea where it is still a bit chilly even when the sun breaks through. It is light most of the day even if this isn't in the Arctic Circle.

A visit to the Retro Café is a must

The Retro Café entrance

Retro Café

And we see this beauty. Steve would have been proud.

Ford Mustang

And one of the best presidents the US of A has had is in Japan giving a moving speech.

President Obama

IMHO this is the best place for them

Burka Bin

A final view of Lulea from a sports area. 18:00 and it is still 22 degrees. I can see why the vast majority of Swedes are slim:

Hill Running

Then off to the Arctic Circle

The Arctic Cir le begins here.

Then into Jokkmuk and up to Porjus to see the dams built to capture the waters of the rapids which are no more, instead 1300MW of Hydro Power.

The Porjus Rapids

Porjus First Dam

Gällivare no longer has a Mining Museum, well it's closed so I find a place to sleep at Stenbron

Stenbron Parking Water services with the background rush of water. 67.10525 20.89920

Stenbron Parking

Then a long drive on a terrific road surrounded by Silver Birch in that New Spring, yellowish-green. Even saw a few Reindeer.

Finland

To Oulu, why does this city always seem so vibrant and fresh to me?

Oulu Parking No services, but a great view. Quiet. 65.01882 25.46251

Oulu

Strawberries and Peas from the market for supper. There is a strong wind, but the sun is warm, unlike other parts of Europe.

4-JUN - today is Finnish Flagday with a military gun salute in Oulu.

Finnish Flag Day

The beach is not popular because it is cold and the school holidays have yet to begin, but lots of people-friendly installations.

Oulu Beach

And then it's off southwards past a few places I remember from the journey in 2011 with Miloŝ, to Pori and the Yyteri for a couple of nights and to inspect the site and it's surroundings.

Yyteri Campsite A tree-filled site (no TV for me) with friendly staff and good services. A bit expensive. 61.56958 21.52621

It is still cold but the beach is beautiful.

Beach Hut

And there is a visitor to the campsite:

Hare

After two nights it's then on south to a place I like a lot, Hangö. The café on the point is a place I usually sat with Miloŝ. It is windy here, with a view of a distant lighthouse.

Café Mug

Old Fart

And I spend the night - practically none of those "annoying youngsters in powerful cars with boom boxes".

Café Parking No services, just the wind 59.82428 23.00754

Then on to see good friends for a delightful lunch.

On the way to the capital I spot another one of those package delivery centers.

Posti

And on to one of my favourite cities:

Helsinki Vatten

Where the industrialists started so much.

Stockmann

Where the trees are at full speed. Ladies without clothes and trees with - must be art!

Decorations

Helsinki (Rastile) Campsite A quality site with all the services except free Wifi. Right next to a Metro station for access to the city. 60.20794 25.12141

And back again the following day for more sunshine and cold wind.

Then the Alice Neel exhibition at the National Gallery.

Alice Neel

And in the permanent collection some beautiful renderings of this country's landscapes and culture:

Death of a Child

The Water The lakes

And back on the Metro - on the wide-gauge Finnish Railways tracks.

The Helsinki Metro

In the Scottish "National" there is this:

Scotland

It will be good to go back there, though I doubt I will experience this type of meeting, just the midges.

Off to Heinola in the country.

A local artist, who died recently was a specialist ceramics designer and sculpurist:

Anja Jurri kkala

Fish-themed Plates

In the Sauna

The Fire Carrier (In Heinola)

Anja

And a day spent "At The Races" in Kouvola with dancing girls in the wet:

Dancers at Kouvola Races

The Spanish horse Trébol winning the main event - Olé!

Trébol

A side trip to

Russia

23-JUN A first for me.

St peter Line

With a show on board

Princess Maria Showtime

Arriving at the port

Arrival

Straight to a boat ride on the canals

Canal Boat

With a view of an original - department store

Department Store

The church of the Spilled Blood

Blood

And a Mosque

Let them pray

The following morning to the Hermitage - The Winter Palace. Lots of stuff in this city from the time of the Zars.

Hermitage

Some amazing articles, pictures and floors.

Blue Marble

Floor

And in the evening there are fireworks and the sailboat with the red sails drifts by, but there are huge crowds.

Then Neptune

Columns

and the Naval Museum

Dreadnaught

And a Russian Cruiser - built by Brits

Barrow in Furnace

Combined Forces

The final day of the 72 hour visa-free trip includes the Erata Art Museum with a Babuscha Iron Maiden - seriously.

Iron Babuschka

The Cafe

A special exhibition of photos by intrepid Russian climbers

Up

Time to leave. Lots of Soviet-era buildings

Departure

Finland

Bewick Swans:  (Eurasian Sub-species of the North American Tundra Swans)

The Eurasian sub-species of the Tundra Swans, the Bewick Swans, are found in Russia and migrate to parts of Japan.  The Bewick Swan is a close relative to the Tundra Swan and has not been recognized as a separate, distinct species of swans. 

This swan has a higher, straighter, yellow and black bill, which is more angular near the base and has a longer yellow patch .  The pattern of black and yellow bills of the Bewick and Whooper Swans’ are unique to each bird and can be easily misidentified.  

Average body length is 48 inches long with a 64 inch wingspan.  The Bewick usually has a clutch of 3-4, off-white colored eggs.  The clutch size is the smallest of all swan species.  Incubation lasts about 30 days. 

Swans on the Lake

Mother and Cygnets

Freshly picked Finnish Strawberries - yumm!

A Bucket of Strawbs

A visit to one of the Country Estates on a lake - the Urajärvi Manor Museum. Ex-German, Swedish Aristocrats - Lilly and Hugo von Heideman.

The County House

Greek Culture perchance.

And some cool jazz in the Japanese Pavilion.

Stella's Sunday

A boat trip to Lahti

Heinola Bridge

Locks

Approaching Lahti

And the return by steam train.

Steam Locomotive

And then from HEL to LGW

England

6-JUL Summer has come to Totnes

Boats in Totnes

Camping at The Caravan Club site Totnes

A side trip back to the school I left 50 years ago:

Class at Grove School

And a cruise ship at Stokes Bay

Cruise Ship in the Solent

And a long-awaited visit to the Martyr's Museum in Tolpuddle

Tolpuddle

Totnes has some new renewable energy - Achimedes would have been pleased.

Totnes Weir

Back to Tolpuddle to see the Festival for a day. What a mixture of folk.

Tollpuddle Festival

And a trip to Lyme regis - my first visit.

Lyme Regis

Where a saxaphone band is playing - Beethoven, yes really.

Saxaphone Band

The Dragon Boat races on the Dart.

Dragon Boats

Haven't been to Brixham for decades, not too interesting, but I did see this:

Banksy

27-JUL - today went to Hallsands where some friends bought a derilict house many years ago for £25. It is still standing after many, many holidays there. The view is towards Start Point, one of my favourite places.

Hallsands and Start Point

30-JUL- today is a sad day, one of the family, my dear brother-in-Law finally gave in. I will always remember his wry smile and many, many exceptional times.

It's a mystery. In all the years I have been coming to this area, I've never been to Greenway.

Agatha Christy

This American lady, born just 9 miles from this house is known by a huge number of people on the planet.

Her house, with a view of the Dart river:

Greenway

Murals depicting some of her travels:

History

The production system:

Remington

The facilities, anon back in the day.

Karsi

Then it's back to LGW for a flight to HEL

LGW

Finland

After a night in the local Holiday Inn (so many years since I first stayed in one in MA) back to HEL to catch the bus back to Heinola.

HEL in the morning

Heinola is still lovely, but it's then off to

Åland Islands

for some island hopping from Kustavi to Kumlinge

The Islands - Map

MS Viggen

A night spent at a quiet place on Kumlinge - organic breakfast - yumm!

Hasselbo Camping Quiet, friendly. Electricity and hot showers. Organic food and lots of "wild" hens. 60.25862 20.83114

and then the main island of Äland, and from there by a great ferry,

Lunch - yummy

to

Sweden

A long drive from Grisslehamn to Kalmar

Kalmar Port Parking No services, good location. 56.66345 16.37090

Kalmar Port Kalmar to sea

From there it's down to Abbekäs for a delightful meal with friends. Then over the bridge to

Denmark

and on the motorway to Rødby and onto the ferry at 11:00 to Putgarten in

Germany

The motorway goes all the way past Hamburg, Hannover and Frankfurt to Freiburg and the overnight stay

Freiburg Parking No services, good location. 47.99940 7.82566

Out of the site, turn right and try the deserts at the Gelateria.

Desert

Ruth the van needs some work at the dealer in Bad Krozingen where I see the next van - well when the Lottery finaly delivers that is;

Hymer 4x4

before I go to

France

Where "I" becomes "We" again.

Zoltan 1 Zoltan 3

Then back to

Switzerland

to meet up with son Barney and his new Beagle puppy.

Meanwhile Zoltan is having a fine time back in France. (Including swimming - I think not!)

Good morning Zurich

Zuriberg

There is a view of the Säntis on the way to Arbon for the night

Säntis

Arbon Harbour Parking Shower because we had the code for the harbour services - thanks to the Open Air 47.51308 9. 43950

Breakfast at the Wunderbar - what a great place.

Wunderbar

Then off to Regensbeg to buy puzzles of course, for cold Winter nights.

Regensburg Puzzles

A well-preserved old city.

The Museum

Then to deepest Allgäu

Isny in Allgäu Campsite Delightful site, very friendly, natural pond for swimming and very, very quiet. 47.67720 10.03080

Son #2 with Asi

Isny Woods

Barney and Asi - Kaffe und Kuchen

Asi, resting position

Then, after searching for places beside the lake, we give up and head into

Switzerland

And a site with a view in a working farm.

Manser
Campsite

Lots of fun for kids and healthy food for grown-ups as well as walks and a view of the lake. Free Wifi. 47.51036 9.36207

Manzer Farm St. Gallen

Then back to Zurich via Wildhaus

Wilhaus with Säntia

Great food at the Alpenrose, been a few years since I was here. Makes man hapy

Hapy one Happy Too

Back to Zurich - well Stäfa - before doing some chores, meeting friends, watching a couple of films and then heading off back to

France

Zoltan gets picked up from the breeder, a seriously good breeder near Beaune.

We visit an old friend in the upper valies of the Loire and his lovely wife for two days where there is a huge garden full of flowers (yep, lavendar too) and vegitables. Free-running hens too.

French hens

3-SEP-2016

Miloš would have been 13 today, but Zoltan is here, and he is a delight. As the morning bells sound for 07:00 the donkey in the field nextdoor brays his sorrowful tune, the sun rises and all is well with the world.

Morning

Leaving we take in the source of the Loire at Mont Gerbier du Jonc - a wonderful scenery all around - and the stars!

The loire Source

Source of the Loire

  No services, just a place to park 44.84175 4.21970

Then on for an overnight at Mezé

Mezé Parking

Just a free stop, scruffy water and rubbish disposal. 43.44102 3.49118

before heading down the coast to get some provisions and a couple of nights by the Med at Le Barcares

Le Barcares Parking

A new venture (it seems to me) by campingcarpark.com. €10 the night with Wifi, no showers. 42.80153 3.03259

Traditional boats in the harbour

Boats

 

Then up into Moltig les Bains to see friends for a couple of nights before heading to

Andorra

For some cheap booze and Deisel - € 0.865

Spain

A long trek across to Lleida and Zaragossa - so many blocks of flats. The N-234 is a delightful, almost deserted road between Calatayud and Soria. So many fields of drooping sunflowers, distant hills peppered with windfarms turning majestically, and the occassional flock of sheep being held in check by a shepard and his dogs..

We pass a line of huge hills with a rolling escarpment

Rolling Hills

and the Duero river(yep, the one that exits the continent through Porto by then called the Douro) before getting to a campsite by a lake. I have great expectations, but it turns out to be less than average.

Camping Urbion

  Not worth a visit.    

The following morning we drive over the escarpment and on to the N-122 which is also a great drive. We then complete the journey into

Portugal

with the final destination of Angeiras where it is 10 degrees cooler because of sea mist. But the sun does come out.

Orbitur Campsite Angeiras

Vers nice staff and the facilities have been updated. A really good site. 41.26758 8.72012

Time to have Ruth checked out - annual leakage test and a few other issues to be addressed, mostly by FIAT.

Then Sunday comes around

Sea Bass

Then back to FIAT and the outstanding problems seem to be fixed. Then Zoltan has a ball on the beach drinking water coming from the land:

Beach

And I get me feet attended to, special too.

Orange Feet

And here is where it was done.

To show how Orange really is this years' colour take a look at these sheep.

25-SEP - After a night of mostly rain, the sun shines brightly in the morning. My 67th birthday, Ruth's 2nd and Zoltan is exactly 5 months old. A grand day, off to the beach for a grilled fish lunch methinks.

Yummy Lunch

The local baker has some delicious rolls, white (unhealthy) ones and brown, both of which are pretty good.

The Baker

And as the usn goes down

The beach

Algeiras

And 60 years after the Hungarian uprising, one Hungarian is on the beach. Oh, and he also gets surprised by a wave - laugh!

And I get down to business.

Puzzle

8-NOV - And then it's off to see a bit more of the country after a walk on the beach by the refinery at Matosinhos. Up the Douro valley past a large tourist boat and onto to M1119 into the hills to the dam.

Barragem Do Vilar Parking By the shore of the lake 40.98568 7.53866

The night is full of stars, the wind gets up, but the morning is sharp with a walk along the lake.

The Dam

Then it's over the dam and down to the main road to a walled town - Trancoso

Trancoso Gate

Trancoso Walls

and down to a large plain and to Monsanto.

Panorama

Monsanto

Monsanto Monsanto

Food is good - lamb chops and then back to the coast at pedrogao.

Pedrogao Parking By the shore 39.91682 8.95485

There used to be more places, but a large area has been closed to camper vans, still plenty of room. What a delight. Long walks on the beach, surf's up!

Pedrogao

Pedrogao

A couple of nights at the orbitur at San Pedro De Moel with a walk to the lighthouse and a couple of runs in the park.

San pedro de Moel Orbitur Campsite Good facilities, quiet 39.758607 9.0264865

Down the coast to the Natural Reserve with a great restaurant (Cabana Do pescador) and a run on the beach - the mouth of the lagoon.

Foz Do Arehlo Parking By the lagoon, €3 a night. 39.42769 9.21947

The Lagoon at Sunrise

And then to the old walled-town of Obidos.

Obidos

After an "interesting" drive through some of the narrow streets of Lisbon - following and encountering some of the old trams - such fun, we arrive at the next campsite. The sun shines and above is the perigee-syzygy.

Orbitur Guincho Campsite In the dunes 38.72229 9.46697

Zoa seems to be enjoying the beach.

Guinho Beach in the Morning

And playing at Sphynix

Look at Me!

And one night spent overlooking the ocean with the waves craching. The night walks are full of light, no need for a torch.

Guincho Parking By the cliffs 38.72789 9.47590

Through a quite Lisbon early in the morning to a lovely, quiet village full of single-story houses with gardens and some chickens.

Comporta Parking Nice little village and a site just for camper vans 38.37847 8.78578

Nice walks behind the village in the woods. The drive takes us to the motorway and onto the N263 followed by the N123 down from the plateau. In one of the villages we see this washing place - well preserved.

Washing

For the night we stop at:

Barragem de Santa Clara Parking Terrific view and almost silent. 37.51295 8.44046

Window View

Down from the dam to the coast for a bit of shopping in Lagos

The Cat Flat in Lagos

before entering the campsite.

Turiscampo Lagos Campsite Some of the best facilities at any campsite. 37.10216 8.73463

Sunshine and walks behind the site.

The Barragem de Bravura is well worth a visit:

Bravora

Bravura

Bravura

And so is the Alloro in Luz - for Pizza - yumm!

Alloro

On the 25-NOV we head off for a few nights wild camping, well sort of in Portimao - €7 for 2 nights hard standing.

Portimao Parking Lots of vans, near the marina and a long, sandy beach with one dog on it. 37.11959 8.52954

The on-site café have found a use for old transport pallettes:

Decking

And the setting sun at the beach:

Portimao Beach

Parque Do Rio Parking Silves Renovated, now with Wifi, water even showers. Special offer €25 for a week, then €30. 37.18498 8.44525

Next door to the site is the municiple swimming pool - 20 degrees! €3 for a swim, sauna and jacousi if you are a pensioner.

Silves Pool

Silves Pool

It rains a bit and the thunber and lightening is impressive.

1-DEC - today is Portugal's Independence Day, so I celebrate:

Viva Italia

4-DEC - time to move on to Albufiera where there are better walks for Zoa, a really practical shopping center, abeach and restaurants in the old town and the new.

Albufiera Football Club Parking A bit greener than it was in the past. Free wifi, usable services. 30 nights for €220. 37.09851 8.24313

There is rain.

Great news. The swimming pool is now heated 27 degrees. Insurance card €8 and then < €2 for a swim. All we need now is some sunshine.

6-DEC Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää!

Finland Flag

How terrific it would be to be able to show the Saltire in the same way in a few years.

Go and see "Allies" which is most enjoyable. And Zoa gets to play with a huge Labrador - a serious eater this one - over 40 kilos.

Albufiera


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