Page 3 of pn76 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido June 9th 2018

Saikuringu was to be the focus of the next chapter. With John from the ‘Gong’s carbon framed yet touring type slick-wheeled bikes, we would be light, even if laden with drink, and for P2, a camera bag slung across his shoulder. The penchant for dedicated cycle roads/ paths was growing in Hokkaido, like elsewhere in Japan, and with the benefit of P2’s research on A and B road trails near Furano, we set out for Tokachidake on day one. It was to be around 80km. Aware of a climb before us, not the calibre of one of our Northern Spain experiences, we set off as early as we could muster, as recommended. It was 21C at 6.30am and the sun well risen. 16km later we had travelled a long straight road with barely a hillock of ... read more
Blue pool

Asia » Japan » Ishikawa June 4th 2018

I blame the Air NZ specials. With affordable return fares from NZ to Japan, we set about on my 8th and P2’s 3rdtrip here, but this time, in late spring. Narita as our favourite overnight stop upon flying in won again in convenience. A delayed arrival was met with a speedy transition through the customs area, and new high tech automated finger and passport scanning equipment being installed. Olympic 2020 developments perhaps? Seasoned locals now, we had ample time to meet the #16 bus stop shuttle and engaged with the enthusiastic driver whom slung our super light 8.9kg and 12kg bags into his compartment. Half an hour later, rain falling, and well behaved local rush hour traffic, we met Kamikura san, the same guy, one year later, of the Radisson staff. In perfect English if we ... read more
Nosy neighbours

Europe » Spain October 30th 2017

Solsona it turns out was a very passionate city when it came to the issue of the day, Catalunya’s independence. Lucky for us, the crowds were few and far between, with our late morning stroll into the old town quarter from Hotel Freixera a cosy affair, between open bars, small tiendas and several plazas. The town is known for its 15th century status, as in the fountain, and the church being quite a bit more ancient from the 11th century. The sun symbol on the church in Plaza Palau caught my eye, acting as a sun dial it seemed, with numerals in a back-to-front clock arrangement. This edifice was begun in the 11th and the main part from the 12th Century’s. Incredibly well preserved, and a good spot to ponder life of then versus now, as ... read more

Europe » Spain October 25th 2017

There is something about having an arduous but scenic bike trip followed by a night of relative luxury comfort wise to make everything feel that much better. The thighs knew what had gone before and our heads were aware of the quality yet modestly priced wine, for our celebratory meal. Sardinero beach continued to roar with dangerously large surf. Come 9am when I ventured out to Marisma aquatic centre for a brief swim, the rain began but the joggers were not curtailed. Either the Spaniards were seemingly fitness lovers, or the reverse, sipping wine from about 11am onwards in the combined cafes/ bars, and approaching what, according to the newspapers, is an obesity problem much like other Westernised countries. We packed up the Jeep renegade, drove out via the elevator access point with great care in ... read more
Haro apartment zapatos morados - 10/10 service and location
Heron? Haro
Wine central

Europe » Spain October 17th 2017

The Picos, or Peaks of Europe, presented us with a great opportunity for some varied hiking terrain. Curly roads leave Potes, from the picturesque centre, accessing the many valleys surrounding it. Our first choice was an hour and half away, and after some swift re-planning, P2 arranged a nearer hike based from Fuente de. Early that morning I'd woken to smoke smells in our room and it didn't transpire until leaving that ash on the windows of our car was from pastoral fires. Approaching Fuente de, the haze hung over the summits of the whole valley, and the crest over which we'd be walking, barely visible. Switchback after switchback, we trudged upwards and with a few breathtaking (aka photo) stops, an hour and half had passed. Crows crowed and eagles soared. Mysterious, and still hazy. Cresting, ... read more

Europe » Spain October 12th 2017

Being at the bottom of a valley, our exit from the ‘French Village’ had to be climbing somewhere. Nestled alongside a river, with a cathedral, castle (that a Spanish composer resides in part of) and both San Francisco and Santiago’s Iglesias above the quaint town square, the market was in full swing on Tuesday morning. Cool air at 5C, low but bright sunlight, and grapevines dripping over stone walls made for a pretty picture. After having a brief look at town and a rather rapid check out, we bid adios to Louis and set out around midday towards our next town, Rabanal. The cycling ahead was flat and began curving through endless vines and fig trees. A distant smoke smog hung over the area, a feature of the fires that had been recently occurring, and gradually ... read more
Leaving Villafranca del Bierzo
Molinaseca, before our big 15km climb

Europe » Spain October 9th 2017

Colchester to Gatwick was possibly going to be a hairy trip at peak hour. Fortunately for us, after spending the middle of the day with relatives, we left in ample time, confirmed our Dartford crossing charge, and got to the South terminal for dropping off our Europcar rental, with a monorail taking us to the North. Never ones to be so early as one day, we casually waited in the departure area, having checked in a week before with our paper tickets, for what I was certain was the evening of the 3rd. The drop off curfew was distant and our airport picnic hit the spot. Placing my bag on the carousel, we were informed that the check in time had not eventuated. Then it transpired that the booking was faulty and intended for the 3rd ... read more
Madrid centre

Europe » United Kingdom October 2nd 2017

Where were all my Spanish learning efforts and Patricia’s night classes moving towards? Thinking of options to develop this beautiful language, we chose Spain, the (apparently) third most visited country in the World and distinct to last year’s Central and South America effort. Nine months since booking comes around so quick (that then became 3 months, then one week and then one day). We had reached a state of slightly frazzled unprepared preparedness for our UK whistle stop tour (for family), and the logistics of a self-guided and self-sufficient cycle tour across the Northern provinces. Flying for nearly 30 hours never is complimentary to the appearance! Nor one’s ability to lock their seatbelt into the adjustable lie flat seat correctly that they needed help for a jammed buckle, just as we were about to hit the ... read more
THat sign

Europe » Spain September 11th 2017

September 2017 has approached fast and we are about to face a few firsts - a self guided, self sufficient cycling tour in Northern Spain, driving on the right in a European country, and a month of communicating in Español! In the UK for the first week, we enter Spain at Galicia in Santiago de Compostela, and track eastwards by bike once we get to grips with panniers, GPS and any weather the 'rain in Spain' throws at us. From Leon, it is north via two key national park areas (Picos, and Somiedo) in a rental car, and once in Gijon, getting another set of bikes, we then mount them for another 3 days of touring to Santander along the Atlantic coast. With trained thighs by this time, we will hand over our bikes to Ibero ... read more

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido March 14th 2017

Unlike arriving in unknown territory, the Furano area didn't demand a map. Picking up where 2016 left off, we collected our snow shoes and had a short test run near one of the fairways at Furano golf course. Still in deep snow, ones ball would definitely be invisible here, and the 19th hole was closed. Johns shoe gear with the heel bar that flicked up was to prove invaluable for the next days climbing plans. Our verdict was its superiority to Myoko gear, and we left Alpine Back country Rental pleased to put a face to the name of his wife Lucy, the email contact from the visitor centre . Restocking the hotel fridge with supplies from Ralse mart, we found ourselves at a nearby one-lady-band ramen outlet. Putting aside our thoughts on the slowly burning ... read more
Winter markers, ascending from Fukiage onsen

Tot: 3.468s; Tpl: 0.037s; cc: 9; qc: 92; dbt: 0.0736s; 3; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.6mb