Baggage Allowance

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Whitby bound soon. Flying to Newcastle, and later out of Leeds, with Ryanair. Some wags say that is the best thing to do with Leeds. Fly out.

The luggage allowance is so low with Ryanair that I can only pack my emotional luggage. Could still be tricky! Must check how many pairs of socks I can fit on my feet?

Memories of Koh Samui

Arrived via a small ferry. Chose a place to stay from the hawkers at the quayside. Onto the small van like vehicle and away.  Accomodation. One of six, or maybe eight small chalet style places in a neat row. Think I can still spot them on Google Earth search. Clean inside with a backroom with a hole in the ground and a tiled mandy for washing. Great.

 

Hot, hot hot. And don’t forget humid. No namby pamby aircon for us. Budget constraints meant we had only a fan on the ceiling. On reflection on the floor would have been rather troublesome.  Fan, you were lucky! Okay but a fan so slow the flies hopped on for a rest. Our neighbours were German lads with their ‘temporary’ Thai girlfriends. True love runs deep.

 

The beach, (Lamai I think), was a little stroll away. Somebody told us that it would be even hotter when we got to Indonesia. It was not. At that time Koh Samui was not overly commercialized. Plenty of hippy style chill out places to doss and chill. I remember  one good hotel with one good pool. The problem. The clientele was entirely German. We snuck in and tried to blend around the pool. However  the hotel staff saw us for what we were, thin and poorly dressed, and we were forced to scuttle away. We left heads held high, and feet higher.

The girls with me adopted a little doggy. She was sweet and they christened her Lucy,  They fawned on her. I remember them being heartbroken on the day we moved onto Penang in Malaysia.

Food was sadly western if required. I remember eating a super hot soup which had the words crab and hot in the title. I liked it, my body not! When ill there was a well equipped medical centre. Nearby weer shack like phone booths for that call home, to reassure you why you were there1

Nightlife was fantastic. Well certainly after a few glasses of Mekong whisky. The full moon party was full on craziness.  Starting with the almost embarrassed tipping of small amounts of water over people, it rapidly grew into a frenzied water battle. Then dance the night away. Magic.

Eating crabs on the beach at a barbecue, watching the sun rise. Great stuff. In the end we left Koh Samui, but Koh Samui never left me. After Koh we needed a rest.

Karlskrona Sedate or Sedated?

The ferry was okay, well it didn’t sink. It also had reassuringly expensive prices. Up at the crack of dawn, and off we go. Well actually we had one holdall that was to be stowed in a locker at the port. This meant we could not cycle. Just as we approachd the gates, they shut. Closed. Locked. I had to shimmy around to the entrance gate, explain the problem and were allowed to exit via the in gate.

Off we went in the sun. Just over 11km into Karlskrona along good cycles paths. Actually it took longer than anticipated. Children stopped for tired legs, aches unspecified or to argue that one has got something better on the their siblings bike, and off again, and again. Karlskrona is pretty in an understated kind of way. A large bay spotted with small bridges and people doing indefinable things with small boats.Some of the houses are very colourful and all is clean. I don’t know whether to say whether Karlskrona is sedate, or sedated? Cue the Ramones!

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A wonderful marine museum was enjoyed by all. We scurried over ships of varying vintage. Inside a hall one can scuttle about the former Swedish subamine Neptune. At around 1,100 tonnes submerged, it confirmed my love of claustrophobic tiny spaces. How 19 officers and crew spent time at sea in such a craft is beyond me. But they certainly deserve respect.

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More cycling and more expensive food and an amiable cycle back to our waiting long ship. Here to be boarded first and haul our oars back to Gdynia. Would cycling be more fun in Gdynia, Sopoat, than Karlskrona? Wait for the next thrilling instalment of…carry my backpack, pleeeeze!

Ochre and Lavender Blue of Provence

The colours that house the people of Provence come from nature and thus are beyond merely pleasing on eyes that seldom settle upon such vivid colour and light. Shutters, how can one become so smitten with shutters? Well their rustic nature coupled to painting them blue, lavender blue or navy blue is astonishing, that’s how! Set against the ochre walls they are a delight.

 

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It is obvious that where the ochre comes from, and the blue of darker shades is harvested from the skies. The lavender blue from the fields of lavender that enliven this region.

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The clear blue of the sky against the ochre cliffs of  Rousillon, for example,  is such a wonderful combination that is transferred into the environment of the locals. The colours of life. The colours of Provence. No wonder Van Gogh was drawn to the region.

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