Category: Travel

  • 11 hours lying in a Roman hospital emergency room.

    11 hours lying in a Roman hospital emergency room.

    Eleven hours have passed since falling off my bike and I’m still lying on a plastic board in a neck brace waiting to see the emergency room doctor. The flashing image of oily black cobblestones speeding up at my face continues to play while I stare at the blazing white ceiling. Ambulances bring in the […]

  • Grand Italian opening scene

    Wandering in central Rome on Tuesday – a day after the grand Italian opening – was like stepping into a vintage costume cinema set where the director had just given the command to begin filming. “Lights! Camera! Not much Action…” The Spanish steps flounced a cascade of pink and white azaleas in full bloom. Shop […]

  • Protected: Furbetto

    There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

  • Journey to Marino

    Children’s book A watercolour illustrated story for our grandchildren about an imagined visit to Marino. Wishing and waiting for this to come true very soon. Covid lockdowns are taking their toll on grandparents in more ways than one. We miss our kids! This PDF version can be downloaded and printed at home or viewed on […]

  • dwelling

    Rita dwells under our steep travertine marble stairs. The flight descends to the back road where everyone tries to park their cars. There is usually a surprise waiting for us at the bottom. Either Rita hops out of her big wooden door and yells in her husky voice something in Italian about cutting the weeds […]

  • Christmas Star

    Christmas Star

    Jupiter and Saturn, our family planets, will be close tonight. Closer than they have been from an Earthling point of view for the past 800 years. Looking up at the night sky on the 21st December brings Christmas into perspective. The light falling into our eyes will have journeyed millions of miles from our sun. […]

  • 100 thousand lights for Christmas

    100 thousand lights for Christmas

    Christmas 2020 in Rome

  • interiority


    Rome and inspiration.


    Life is one vast and intermingled creature! Flying south from Norway to Rome in a tightly packed aeroplane amid the virus turmoil makes you think about the atmospheric soup we live in. One wades through the airport aeroplankton with bated breath and blinking eyes. The air is loaded with microscopic microbes including viruses, about a […]

  • Oslo-olsO

    Writing to you from a comfy bed in my daughters spare room in Norway. After the spring lockdown at home in Rome followed by an intensely local summer we took the first edgy opportunity to jet up to the north to visit our children. Six of them altogether. Two being grandchildren, two offspring and two […]

  • Home is where the heart is …

    Back to back The great alpine divide between Italy and Germany is more than an atmospheric barricade. Our motherland, Italia, opens her arms wide toward the sunny Mediterranean peninsula, indulgently allowing her children run off and play. Whereas the northern slopes of the fatherland bend to sit the children firmly on a lederhosen buttoned knee. […]

  • Lebanon


    Diary of a trip to Lebanon.  “Hello Leanne and Simon. Terrible indeed! Here in Choueir it sounded like a fighter jet broke the sound barrier above the house. The house shook. A window was blown open. If this was the effect in this village, high in the mountains, tucked in a valley shielded from Beirut […]

  • Pandemonium


    This island is a safe place to stand -motionless – wearing a straw hat tipped  toward the milky way. Waving The rusty old ferry tub called Carloforte leaves Terracina port at precisely 9 on a summer morning. That means an early start from our house in Marino. We are always happy to catch the slow […]

  • Day 58 – Oslo

    Day 58 – Oslo

    I’m so excited to be riding into Oslo over the finish line today! So thrilled to be seeing my family again. Bright blues skies and hot. Tyrone navigated the way from Moss, passed his house in Ås, lunch in Ski, and soon we are speeding downhill into Oslo. Megs and Ste are waiting with my one […]

  • Day 55 to 57 – Gothenburg to Henån to Vassbotten to Moss.

    Day 55 to 57  – Gothenburg to Henån to Vassbotten to Moss.

    The mood at breakfast in Gothenburg is jovial. We guzzle most of the buffet. I’m so relieved and happy to have Tyrone here. Massive mossy granite boulders push up through the oats fields. Trees balance the rocky cracks. These hills are perfectly spaced for cyclists to whizz down for 10 seconds and struggle up the […]

  • Day 54 – Varberg to Gothenburg

    Day 54 – Varberg to Gothenburg

    Swedish bitters An internet-free day cycling north along the Kattegattleden 1 track towards Gothenburg. The cycle track is well signposted and easy going. This has got to be the most beautiful part of Sweden? Swathes of soft oats and mixed greens blow along the rocky coastline. Shining water dotted with islands, humble harbours and red […]

  • Day 52 and 53 – Ängelholm – Halmstad – Varberg

    Day 52 and 53 – Ängelholm – Halmstad – Varberg

    Long distance solo cycling, 3500 kms south of Goteborg on my way to Oslo

  • Day 51 – Copenhagen to Ängelholm

    Day 51 – Copenhagen to Ängelholm

    Morning came blessed in heavenly cloud. A respite from the heat. I said an early goodbye to my lovely niece Kealena in Copenhagen. My little brother, who is almost 2 m tall, escorted me out of town and north along the flat sandy shores towards Helsingør to catch the ferry over to Sweden. The eastern […]

  • Day 49 and 50 – Køge to Copenhagen

    Day 49 and 50 – Køge to Copenhagen

    Creeping up to Copenhagen Now that I’m in a true bicycle realm, Kealena and Bruce kindly gave me a crash course in cycling, thereby avoiding unnecessary calamity. Hostels are great for cyclists. But be aware that here in the north you can rent sheets and towels for an extra fee, and you must clean the […]

  • Day 48 – Rødbyhavn to Køgel

    Day 48 – Rødbyhavn to Køgel

    Part 3 Early morning hangs grey in the Danish sky. While loading the bike this morning the front door blows shut and cannot be opened again. My panniers are still inside the foyer. I have already put my key into a box at the automatic reception. A man smoking in the carpark says “oh my […]

  • Day 46 and 47 – Hamburg to Rødby

    Day 46 and 47 – Hamburg to Rødby

     Day 46 – Hamburg to Scharbeutz. It was a sunshine and birdsong day as we joyfully rolled out of town, the three of us on our eeeee-bikes. It took us most of the morning to get going. City exits are complicated. Once you’re out into the lushous countryside cycling is a breeze. This cycle path […]

  • Day 44 – 45 – Zeven to Hamburg

    Day 44 – 45 – Zeven to Hamburg

    The day began at Zeven. Cycling happily between perfectly manicured and manured farms. Paved cycle paths travel parallel to the main roads towards Buxtehude. In town the tranquil pedestrian zone is decorated with copious flower baskets. I make a reconnaissance mission into a shop to buy a lightweight jacket. It’s the first time I’ve been […]

  • Day 43 – Neubruchhausen to Zeven – Bremen

    Day 43 – Neubruchhausen to Zeven – Bremen

    In our bookcase at home is an original translation of the Grimm’s fairy tales.  Imagined it would be good to type out the true story of the Bremen musicians for you. The Travelling Musicians – Grimm’s fairy tale. An honest farmer had once an ass, that had been a faithful servant to him a great […]

  • Day 41 & 42 – Drensteinfurt to Osnabrück to Neubruchhausen

    Day 41 & 42 – Drensteinfurt to Osnabrück to Neubruchhausen

    If you write down all the little details of the day when you’re living in isolation, the page begins to take on a pattern of “I” marks. It is too easy to make this egotistical line when describing a solo bike ride, and eventually it becomes so monotonous it almost makes you cry.   That’s […]

  • Day 39 & 40 – Duisburg to Datteln to Drensteinfurt

    Day 39 & 40 – Duisburg to Datteln to Drensteinfurt

    Now in the North Rhine-Westphalia area of Germany, and trying to follow the Industrial heritage route for cyclists. My phone died just twenty minutes after setting out, so I’m on a higgledy-piggledy quest to find the way towards who-knows-where. Real cyclists would have the full kit of maps and apps. They would have done some […]

  • Day 38 – Monheim am Rhein to Duisburg – Goodbye Rhine.

    Day 38 – Monheim am Rhein to Duisburg – Goodbye Rhine.

    The sun gradually dragged the billowing sky down to the smoking chimney stacks. A giant storm growled through dinner, but not a drop of rain fell on my Erdinger sponsored umbrella at the factory food place. Getting here by cycle track from Monheim am Rhein took me through Düsseldorf, where an enthusiastic young man at […]

  • Day 37 – Bad Honnef to Monheim am Rhein

    Day 37 – Bad Honnef to Monheim am Rhein

    Each turn of the pedals becomes a brush stroke in my miniscule picture-book of experience. Spinning out of the Sankt Goar gorge with all it’s high castles and history (a testament to the terrifying past) and into the modern future. After a good breakfast with good friends of course. Magnificent riding along the river from […]

  • Day 34 – 36 – Loreley

    Day 34 – 36 – Loreley

    Simon left Rome very early in the morning and landed at Frankfurt-Hahn airport, hired a car and drove to meet me at Oberwesel. Happily freewheeled down the hill to find him waiting in the car park.  We wandered through the quaint town and milky coffee and a large slice of romantic cake at the Konditorei-caffè […]

  • Day 32 – Nackenheim to Assmanshausen to Oberwesel

    Day 32 – Nackenheim to Assmanshausen to Oberwesel

    This illustration is slightly imaginative, conjured up from memory. The poplar trees keep me company all along the cycle track on the river dykes. I hope to paint them again plein-air. Wurstsalat has been the bug on every menu since Freiburg. At the biergarten in Bingen a woman sitting near me ordered it, so I […]

  • Day 31 – Ludwigshafen am Rhein to Nackenheim

    Day 31 – Ludwigshafen am Rhein to Nackenheim

    Today the wind came up against me. The tall poplar trees along the river bank clapped their leaves. Sounds like a standing ovation – tree applause. Birds of prey skim from the blue sky over the bristling wheat fields searching for mice. A river of this magnitude begins with a twinkle on a mountain peak […]

  • Day 30 – Neuberg to Ludwigshafen

    Day 30 – Neuberg to Ludwigshafen

    2000 kms Jesolo eis happened to be at the 2000 km mark. There a lovely young lady called Kira kindly served me a trophy pistachio and fresh kiwi sundae to celebrate. This morning I woke up at seven in Hotel Sonne in Neuberg feeling a little guilty at the tardiness. Gulped a quick breakfast and […]

  • Days 28 and 29 – Erstein – Strasbourg – Marienthal

    Days 28 and 29 – Erstein – Strasbourg – Marienthal

    Today I rode passed an army barracks onto a narrow path in the woods. A regiment of soldiers came jogging at me in single file. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good look as I was forced to concentrate on the necessary avoidance manoeuvre. Narrow paths can be treacherous with tufts of thorny blackberries and hidden […]

  • Day 27 – Freiburg to Erstein – Cycling

    Day 27 – Freiburg to Erstein – Cycling

    A bicycle has two sides to it. Not only is cycling a mood altering activity but is virtually harmless to our Earth. It also cures diseases of the body, mind and soul. Better than yoga, better than pills, even better than a glass of wine. You can pedal elegantly along at thinking speed or beat […]



    HELLO everybody, I have been happily illustrating and writing about the cycle ride for 25 days now. Only a quarter of the way in distance – which gives you an idea of how long the long distance ride was. After some thought I’ve decided the story can be divided into three parts to prevent OVERWHELM. […]

  • Day 25 and 26 – Karsau, Basel, Freiburg – 114 kms

    Day 25 and 26 – Karsau, Basel, Freiburg – 114 kms

    No sign of the famous Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte so far. Maybe the world-famous Black Forest Gateau will make an appearance at my next destination, which would be Freiburg, although I doubt I would make it that far in today. The world famous black forest is looming on my right (north). That’s where they make the Kirschwasser […]

  • Day 24 – Waldshut Tiengen to Karsau – bedbugz.

    Day 24 – Waldshut Tiengen to Karsau – bedbugz.

    The only men I attract by my appearance these days, are those with noisy machines. Mowers, tractors, builders and lorry drivers. Even the rubbish truck man made a comment after a near hit. I don’t think it was complimentary.But the hoteliers usually always shake my hand when I leave, which is comforting. My ebike has […]

  • Day 22 and 23 – Rorschach to Tägerwilen to Waldshut

    Day 22 and 23 – Rorschach to  Tägerwilen to Waldshut

    My paper supply has run out so I had to use my colour tester blotting page for the illustration today. Jumped on the bike at 7:30 this morning to find only 30 kms of battery life on the display…of course I could pedal without power, but it’s going to be like riding a cow instead […]

  • Day 21-Stuben to Rorschach-going down

    Day 21-Stuben to Rorschach-going down

    Dropping down from the arms of the lovely mountain today, with the Alfenz stream happily cascading at my side. From Stuben to Bludenz to Nenzing to Feldkirch. Dropping as a spider does, black wheels spinning below the Scots Pines. White water widens into a deep teal river and you can see the trout. As the […]

  • Day 20 -Landeck to Stuben – the Arlberg pass

    Day 20 -Landeck to Stuben – the Arlberg pass

    The thought of cycling over any Alpine pass makes me nervous, especially this one, so I delay it and dabble with my paint-box instead. Sitting flat on the road in the still sunshine and painting the river bank full of chaotic lupins, dandelions, daisies and the bright water. I’m trying to have poetic thoughts but […]

  • Day 19-Burgusio to Landeck-Austria

    Day 19-Burgusio to Landeck-Austria

    The room has no frills. A small writing table and chair. Eleven electric plugs in the space of three square meters to charge up all my appliances. Other than the battery, there is the phone, the camera, the laptop, two extra lights, and a little recharger for the phone. Up the slope from Burgusio is […]