Travel

Alps from above

Alps from above

Views from the window of BA0369 from Marseille to London, showing principally Mont Blanc (4,808 m.) but also Monte Rosa (4,634 m.) and the Bernese Oberland Alps (Finstaarhorn, 4274 m. etc).
Moments earlier in the flight, views of Barre des Écrins (4102 m.) and Mont Ventoux (1909 m.) immediately after take-off from Marseille Provence airport runway 31R.

More photos: The Alps from above

Village Vacances « La Baume »  at La Roque d’Anthéron

Village Vacances « La Baume »  at La Roque d’Anthéron

Revisiting the Village Vacances « La Baume » at La Roque d’Anthéron which was the accommodation for the 1998 GLME Summercamp, organised by the French bike club AMA (Association Motocycliste Alternative).
Arriving here after the long ride down from London, the blocks had more than a whiff of a Stalag Luft prisoner of war camp. But the hosts and location, the company and the bike rides were all fantastic, the wine copious and included. The pool and the forest saw many games too.
That summercamp twisted my head; since then I've set up in Marseille. Finding « La Baume » again after so many years and finding it pretty much the same was great nostalgia, especially as I was able to share tales with a couple of the staff .
Rose-tinted nostalgia apart, La Roque d’Anthéron is a chic town in the Pays d’Aix between the Canal de Provence and the River Durance. I found no less than three boulangeries in operation and at least two fine restaurants. La Roque d’Anthéron is more widely known for its piano festival, which takes place in the park of one of the châteaux.

More photos: La Roque d’Anthéron - GLME Summercamp 1998

Sunset over the Lac d’Annecy

Sunset at a restaurant at the waterside of the Lac d’Annecy with my friend Arno, the destination of my journey from Provence to Savoie. I would have liked to see more glaciers but tragically, it’s getting more and more difficult. Now there are so many more screes of grey gravel, the debris remaining where there was shining glacier until so recently.

Mont Blanc, from the Col du Glandon
Mont Blanc, from the Col du Glandon

More photos: Chasing glaciers

At Marseille-Proence airport

At Marseille-Proence airport

Finally I get to enjoy the Provence sunshine and blue sky in Marseille again. It’s been a long time, many cancellations, due to the travel and health regulations on both sides of the Channel. That’s been more than a year since I was last here. My flight was from London Heathrow to Marseille Provence, then the airport bus in to Marseille St. Charles railway stationAnd I still very much like Marseille. I’ve always used the word “alluring” to describe the city’s charms and that’s still apt. There’s the colour, the energy and the tolerance so long as you are “one of us”, which I feel includes me. The blue sky and the sunshine have obvious attraction but you have to understand the French, specifically the Marseillais, to be included in the rest.

More photos: London to Marseille

The Fitz, Cockermouth, Cumbria
The Fitz (1835)

The Fitz, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Main Street featuring the marble statue (1875) in Roman style portraying Cockermouth’s notable resident, Richard Southwell Bourke, sixth earl of Mayo, M.P. for Cockermouth 1857-68. The statue was erected after Mayo was assassinated in 1872, whilst visiting the Andaman Islands as Viceroy and Governor-General of India. The statue was discombobulated by a lorry in 1964. Ben Stiokes, the cricketer, is also a famous resident but so far no statue. Also from Cockermouth: Fletcher Christian, Master’s Mate on HMS Bounty and leader of the mutiny (1789).

Cockermouth’s fine buildings remind of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries when the town was one of the earliest of West Cumbria’s boom-towns developing its water power to process then export coal and minerals from the West Cumbria mines. Cockermouth seems to have been rowdy with plenty of inns and a court-house. Sea-going sailing ships were loading at the quay first used by the Romans; there were blast furnaces roaring, a tweed mill, brewery and financial buildings. Even earlier, the Normans built Cockermouth Castle as part of a line of castles including Brougham, and Egremont defending the border with Scotland.
Cockermouth gets its name as the confluence of the rivers Derwent and Cocker, a situation that has frequently brought flooding in the town.

More photos: A quick visit to Cockermouth, Cumbria