Markets and Colours in Provence

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Cheese pleez

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What is the one food in your fridge that is never wasted? Never left till mushrooms pop up, or it turns green and evolves into a lower life form. For us, it’s cheese, cheese and cheese. Yellow, red, green full of nuts, bearing blue strata or just nice and smelly.Cheese pleez!

Predating even fridges, yes that ancient, cheese has always been with us. In France the cheese was great. Whole sections were set aside for this product in homage like manner. We would buy about eight unknown varieties and sit down with a fresh French stick and a glass of red vinegar for a tasting. Wonderful. Only one cheese was beyond hope. Upon opening it a safe containment zone was imposed. Essentially me running it out of the room at speed. Strong is not the word! The rest was delicious.

Cheese for the uninitiated comes from, milk. What did the first man to milk a cow think he was doing? Anyway, cheese is to to be savoured with relish. Even some scientists are swinging back round to saying that its health benefits outweigh the negatives. Bless them.Let not a day pass without cheese, for that will be a sad day.

Now its time for a tasty toasted cheese sarnie. Smacznego:-)

 

Whitby Goth Preparations

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As  posted earlier, in late October we are off to Whitby. ‘’Where is Whitby, exacxtly’’ asked my lovely wife.

I replied ‘’Coordinates: 54°29′09″N 0°37′14″W / 54.4858°N 0.6206°W / 54.4858; -0.6206.’’

She smiles by way of reply.

Whitby is a small coastal settlement in Yorkshire, just up t’ road from Scarborough.  Picturesque cottages have been redefined as lovely from their former status as ‘mean’ hovels for the lower classes to live in. Picturesque it is, cold it certainly can be! Along the coast another worthwhile place to visit is Robin Hoods Bay. But this is Yorkshire I hear you exclaim, go on, exclaim. Better? Good. Well in fact, as much as we can glean from history, Robin was a Yorkshire man. Which explains a few things!

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Anyway, Whitby is going to host a Goth rock music and general dressing up weekend to tie in with Halloween.Should be nifty. Wife planning clothing. What do I go as? Anyway, simply have to fly into one airport, hire a car, drive on the wrong side of t’ road, with steering wheel on wrong side of car, at night. Party and parade whilst trying to stay warm, go to the gig, drive back in t’ dark to another airport. Pay extra for the privilege and all in one weekend. Not so dusty.

(t’ = the).

I haven’t told anyone yet, but they must learn the words to the following song before being allowed to leave Yorkshire. A one, a two, a one two….

Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee, ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at

Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee, ah saw thee?

Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at

Tha’s been a cooartin’ Mary Jane

Tha’s bahn’ to catch thy deeath o’ cowd

Then us’ll ha’ to bury thee

Then t’worms’ll come an’ eyt thee up

Then t’ducks’ll come an’ eyt up t’worms

Then us’ll go an’ eyt up t’ducks

Then us’ll all ha’ etten thee

That’s wheear we get us ooan back

 

I foresee no foreseeable problems.

 

Afternoon Sweet Treat

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Apple fritters as a treat for the family this afternoon.

Usual ingredients – eggs, flour, pinch of salt and not too much sugar. And mix. Slice apples and peel then dip in mixture and fry in olive oil until golden. Into a preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Coat with icing sugar and throw on some blueberries. Blueberries are a great anti-oxidant, soource of viatamin K and C, and simply taste scrumptious.

This has been devoured with a cup of Rosie Lee, with a splash of cows juice.

Simply enjoy.

 

Cycling and Sustenance

Today we did about 50km by bike. Now I know, to some that is a nothing. But this was not like how the crow flies. I’m talking about rain sodden country paths churned by tractors. Paths so narrow that the leaves keep thwacking into you, and roots so old and shiny that tires side slip on them. It was tiring, and basically it went to build up an appetite.

Gratefully we hauled into a small old boat on a lake, grandly called a barque, for a spot of lunch just as the heavens poured their generosity on us once again. First up was foie gras  – goose, which was okay.IMG_2637

For the wife the starter was a lot better, tasty spicy chicken. Selflessly I helped her with it;-)

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Next up for me Lamb chops. Tasty but a cream dressing or even a gravy was substituted by the overuse of oil. But all in all tasty.

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For the apple of my eye sandacz, which was served with a very hot spicy sauce. Delicious!

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All in all a tasty repast which helped us back on our way, and which we burned off and arrived home, again just before the rain. All in all a beautiful ride and good vittles.

 

 

Further Southwards into France

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Went into Avignon by bus which was cheap, clean and let me have a good gander as I was not driving. I did ask, but the driver said, ”Non”. Avignon was home to the pope between 1309 – 1377. Well he had one advantage then, the walls kept people out. They are still an impressive sight. However Avignon was beset by hoardes of tourists, they swept all before them. Really it was too much. Souvenir shops for instance. A few tacky shops are okay, however Avignon had its fair share. Nice bridge too, but when will it be finished?

Took in Aix-En-Provence which was a combination of the beautiful and the slighty grubby gracefulness. Prices for food were bad. Basically what we will pay in Polish Zlotych cost the same in Euro’s. The best way to negotiate this thorny problem was to stop and buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the roadside stalls. Great food from under the provence sun, and far better prices. Even managed to get service with  smile.

Headin’ down we drove through the Camargue. This is one beautiful place, truly. Low lying and flat, none of those pesky mountain passes with inches to spare! Driving past rice fields and then the most beautiful white horses. There are plenty of places to stop take in this area. We alighted in Cassis. Cassis in the sun is great. A long sweeping esplanade with a great beach and a free pissoir in the car park. What more can you want! Although there were tacky shops the place had a wonderful feel to it. Just walking along the roads one could see it was well looked after, with splashes of colour from beautiful flowers thrown in for measure.

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Pottered around and went to the most unhelpful information lady in history. Her Gallic indifference and shoulder shrugs were superb and her English, well, bazik. Anyway we discovered that safaris into the Camargue cost around 120 Euro for the four of us. So no thanks. Eventually we plumped for the cruise which was about 12 Euro for an adult and discounted for the children. The ferry trip went up the mouth of the (Lesser/smaller?) Rhone and although we draw close to some beautiful views, it was all a bit distant. The chop on the sea as we took in the swell of the sea on the return trip was pretty cool for me. Onwards and along the coast…

 

Sweden and Back to Poland

Not stopped by a gate as in Sweden we loaded up and headed to our hotel. Which was in fact a hostel. A blues bar and club with a side line in well priced accomodation. With nowhere to store our bikes with the car the friendly staff arranged for us to leave our bikes in their shop next door. Big thanks for that, guys!!

Cycling. Their are many good cycle paths and we spent some time at the beach in Gdynia. The beach is good and a fine park for the children to play in, as well. Good exercise for me too, as I had to push anything and everything that could swing. No, I’m not a swinger;-)

Then cycling along the seafront which was super. A beach and rocks blocked our way. The next part was a little wearisome as we trudged up the steep roads to find the connecting path into Sopot. But once we found it we sailed along across and then down into Sopot. The party two of the Three Cities.  Food, super tomato soup, which is well priced and consumed along with gofrys and ice-cream then back we went. Such is the wildness of parts of the forest along the cliff tops, that a family of boars ran across our path. Wonderful!

Back to the Blues club for a well earned drink and more low calorie, high fibre food. To cycle around Gydina, Sopot, didn’t make it to Gdansk, was a real pleasure. The cycling was good, plenty for the children to do, and prices must be a dream for those visiting from Sweden. All in all a great trip. Next off to Malbork for camping, which we decided to do on the spur of the moment…but we haven’t a tent!

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!

Memories of Java. Pictures in the Mind.

Mid 1990s. Flew from Singapore to Jakarta. From Jakarta headed straight out by comfortable train to Bandung. Couldn’t sit with my lady on the train and her sister, so I sat opposite a young local man who chatted to me. He told me to put away the copy of Schindler’s List, which I was reading, at least whilst in public.Then he mused upon the fact of how wonderful snow must be. I didn’t want to disabuse him of this line of thought.

Then we got down to the nub of his conversation. Upon my return t the UK he wanted me to send him a copy of Mayfair or Penthouse. I dutifully took down his address. Dutifully put it in my pocket, and dutifully lost it. So I  never sent the material. Hope he wasn’t too disappointed.

Bandung hailed into view. Checked in to a cheap hostel and went for a stroll with the girls. Smiley faces everywhere, people arm in arm, arms around shoulders, men too. The girls felt safe. Nice atmosphere. Remember a barber’s shop. Men in a row having their hair cut by barbers in a row.  The barbers stood out as they wore surgical masks and gloves. Strange. Ate the most delicious sweet pancake type of food. Served from a small glass topped hand cart. We became obsessed, couldn’t get enough of our food fix.

Next destination Yogyakarta for a soupçon of culture.