Monday, November 4, 2013

Hawaii 2013

While in Hawaii, the phrase "Aloha Spirit" came to mind and stayed in my consciousness for the duration. It can be described as an embodied Hawaiian trait, an enduring native expression from its past personified by people, both old timers and newcomers alike, who call the "islands" home and is emanated in the form of informal charm, warmth, friendliness and sincerity toward others. Now I can't say that I ever found my "Aloha Spirit", but I do feel that people living in Waikiki and Honolulu, as busy and crowded as these places can be, especially on the roadways, do embody a level warmth and friendliness above most larger cities. Kay and I spent three week in Oahu during the latter half of October, renting an apartment on the 31st floor of the Waikiki Banyan, which is located on the east end of Waikiki near Kapiolani Park and within easy walking distance of shops and eateries, the beach, and the Ala Wai canal. This trip turned out to be all about trying new eateries as well as some old favorites and staying active enough, be it walking, hiking, cycling or snorkeling, to keep up with all the dining out which was all good but with some real winners, to name a few, like Helena's for Hawaiian food, "The Alley", a local diner within the Aiea Bowling alley, and Tenkaippan for ramen. To see my photographs from our trip along with some narrative, click on the link below the picture.
From Hawaii 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pictures from Waikiki

Kay and I are here in Hawaii finding our aloha spirit and spending quality time together far from the demands of the home front. Aloha everyone!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

European Bike Tour of 2013: The Complete Photo Journal

During the summer of 2013, nine friends and friends of friends, five from the UK and four from the US which includes me, did a self supported bicycle tour along the Eurovelo 6 route through France and Germany with short jaunts into Switzerland, traveling about 1,400 miles with major segments alongside three of Europe's largest rivers; the Loire, the Rhine and the Danube. The Eurovelo 6 route, which travels from Nantes, France near the Atlantic Ocean to Constanta on the Black Sea, is one of the 14 routes within the European Velo Network created by the European Cyclists’ Federation in 1994. After an overnight ferry across the English Channel from Portsmouth, we started our bicycle tour in St. Malo in northern France on July 16th traveling southward for 3 days until we crossed the Loire River to join the Eurovelo 6 route which travels in a nonlinear but easterly direction alongside countless canals and rivers with short stretches into the adjacent hillsides, where upon we ended in Passau in southern Germany on Aug 19th at the border of Austria. As always, it was a wonderful way to see and experience these countries' food (and drinks), culture, history and natural surroundings. Many thanks to my friends for getting this trip together and for handling all the logistics which included bus shuttles, ferries, trains, cycling schedules, accommodations, and being trail bosses, as such a trip would have been impossible for me without all of them. I divided my photo journal into three groups as represented by each of the three pictures below. To see all of the photographs within each group, click on the link below the pictures.

Portsmouth, UK to Sully Sur Loire, France
From Eurovelo Tour: Portsmouth, UK to Sully Sur Loire, France

Sully Sur Loire, France to Reidlingen, Germany
From Eurovelo Tour: Sully Sur Loire, France to Reidlingen, Germany

Reidlingen, Germany to Market Harborough, UK
From Eurovelo Tour: Reidlingen, Germany to Market Harborough, UK

Monday, August 26, 2013

Home Bound

In the Birmingham International Airport with my last English breakfast which I always enjoy due to the variety of items on the plate: over easy eggs, sausage, thick slice bacon, baked beans, mushrooms, half tomato, and potato paddies. It will be good to be home, but first, I have a three part flight.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hanging in the UK

Hanging in Market Harborough with Shirl and Lee, and with Veronica in Leicester until my flight home Monday morning. Pictured below, from Veronica, are Scottish Eggs which have chopped hard boiled egg centers surrounded by sausage meat, rolled in crumbs and deep fried. Tasty! Then let there be ice cream in Market Harborough. Thank you so much Shirl and Lee for your hospitality.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Safely Home

After two days of travel, four trains, a train delay, a ferry crossing, and a late evening bus shuttle, seven of us are all back in the comforts of our homes and our wonderful tour of France, a small part of Switzerland, and Germany becomes a memory as we readjust to daily life and all that entails. The adventure for Frank and Eileen continues as they are off to Iceland from Munich for another adventure. Thanks Lee and Adrian for getting us all home. Traveling is also about adjusting as we go since we can't always expect things to go as planned. In the end, we got a few extra hours in Munich and Paris, and we are all safely back home. Job well done and another tour of a lifetime. Pictured below is Lee and the can of tuna he found in his panniers when we got home.  If you ride with Lee, you know there is food around but you have to get it from him.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bikes on Trains

Seven bikes and panniers; space is a little tight on the train.

The Road Home

The road home back to the U.K. was not actually smooth. The overnight train was late arriving in Paris so we missed our connecting train. We rescheduled for the mid-afternoon and delayed our ferry crossing. On the positive side, we got to spend a few hours in Paris near the Nord Train Station.

Exploring Munich

We took the early train from Passau to Munich so we would have some time to exploring Munich before our overnight train to Paris which departs at 10:50 pm. Munich is the largest city we have visited during our entire tour and the crowds of people we encountered is a testament to its status as a major metropolis. We had time for lunch and beer and a quick visit of the sights. Pictures from Munich below.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Passau

A view of Passau from the hill, along the Danube River, and late night jazz with Kirk Lightsey on the piano.

Roaming Passau

Based on the Weather Channel, rain is expected again in the afternoon so I set out early to explore Passau which included a short organ performance at the cathedral, a real sleeper. Met up Adrian and Doug and had lunch at SensAsian, their motto, "you'll never wok alone". The food was good but I'm not real sure what Asian cuisine they represent, a little of everything I guess. My lunch is Ramen with roasted duck.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Out and About in Passau

The rain finally yielded to a great evening dinner with the gang to celebrate the successful conclusion to our tour with plenty of beer (wine) and food. Pictured is my entree of Pork tenderloin with mushroom sauce and spatzl. Other pictures are Passau at night.


We are in Passau, the designated ending place for our tour and we finished our last ride as a group staying together rather than separating into our usual smaller subgroups. The rain returned last night and we rode our last day under cloudy skies with the slightest of sprinkles. No time to explore Passau yet but we are settled in a hotel, the Altstadt and the room is pictured below. A steady rain started soon after we checked in and continued for about 5 hours. Last picture is our room view. First three pictures are from the city of Vilshofen. Time to clean up and dry things out, and for some beer.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another Beer Garden in Deggendorf

Fifty plus miles to Deggendorf during a warm day where we again, camp in a beer garden along the Danube River about a mile plus from the town square. Doug and I do a quick exploration of the town centre and return to camp for dinner and beer with the gang. 2.60 euro for a half liter of good beer in a great value and unheard of in France. I am sad to say that tomorrow is our last day of riding and we will reach Passau but also looking forward to some more comfort since we have camped a lot on this tour. However, it has been a wonderful way to visit France, Switzerland, and Germany.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Day in Regensburg

After some morning chores around camp tending to our bikes and laundry, Adrian and I spend the day exploring Regensburg and rendezvoused with the gang at 5:00 for dinner and some beer. Below is the Regensburg Minster and the historic stone bridge.