To Ride is to Live: Jonville to Isigny-sur-Mer (Normandy, France)

Tuesday 25 August 2015 (Day 93 of my midlife gap-year) 9:25 am, Camping Municipal de Jonville Today’s ride will bring me closer to the landing zones of D-Day – I’ll be following Utah Beach much of the day. This campground is filled with holidaying European families, including some German-speakers. There’s a dissonance in that. Over a …

Flag of France against a blue sky above the city of Cherbourg.

Back On My Bicycle in France – Riding from Cherbourg to Jonville

Bonjour (again) France Sunday 23 August (Day 91 of my midlife gap-year) 11:35 am , Cherbourg YHA:  I woke to the ferry-wide announcement that we were soon arriving in Cherbourg. It was raining;  perhaps I wouldn’t start riding straight away after all. Waiting for my passport to be stamped and returned to me, the driver …

In Northern Ireland the Troubles Still Bubble Beneath the Peace

13 – 15 August 2015 (Days 81 – 83) Thursday 13 August 4pm, Connect Hostel, Derry Small cities, I should only visit small cities. It’s 4pm, I’ve done the lot and feel I’ve given everything it’s due. It’s been a gorgeous and sunny day. I started things off revisiting the Guildhall – where President Clinton …

In Ireland They Offer Chips with Your Chinese Food: Tuesday 11 August 2015 (Day 79)

9:10 pm: A Chinese Restaurant, Kilkenny I may regret this but I’m so hungry. I’ve ordered sweet and sour chicken – it’s like battered and fried balls of chicken in the usual flouro sauce. It’s Ireland: I had the choice of rice or chips. Being here, in Kilkenny, is becoming normal. I run into familiar …

Poetry, Light, Ice Cream and Friendship on a Beaut Irish Summer Day: Monday 10 August 2015 (Day 78)

11:20 am – The Gourmet Store Café, Kilkenny We are finally getting a run of sunny and warm days. Cornelia says this sort of day is exactly what one hopes for when thinking of an Irish summer’s day. 7:30 pm – Zuni Café I’m feeling like a local. I know where everything is and I …

Coffees and Jews in Dublin: Wednesday 5 August 2015 (Day 73)

11:50 am Wednesday 5 August – Kaph A lot – Dublin reminds me of Melbourne a lot. Maybe because they are both river cities with dubious weather. But they have Sydney’s pedestrian-crossing system, though, same buttons, same sound – which is strange. This is the café suggested by Baz – it is not like Melbourne. …

At the Graiguenamanagh Tinnahinch Regatta: Sunday 2 August 2015 (Day 70)

We had lunch at the Step House Hotel in Borris then visited the Graiguenamanagh Tinnahinch Regatta. The regatta entailed, mostly, young people who looked very cold for having spent time in the Borris River while swimming, splashing, diving, etc. There was a brass band with an average age in their late 60s, an excitable announcer …

Starting to See How People Get Stuck in Ireland: Friday 31 July 2015 (Day 68)

Friday 31 July – Cornelia’s (Day 68) I understand how Jim gets stuck here, in Ireland. People are welcoming and, as Cornelia’s guest, I get invited to things. Tonight, there was a barbecue. We dropped Cornelia’s daughter Isabel off there first and went on to Osbornes – a pub in the tiny village of Rathanna, recently …