Monthly Archives: July 2012

CRUISING PARIS – and losing my virginity on the Seine

The Viking Spirit at Les Andelys.

Now it’s over, I don’t mind telling you. That was my first time.

I’ve travelled on rivers by kayak, canoe, white water raft and once, in an hour of madness, on an inflated tyre tube, but that was my maiden voyage on a cruise ship.

You see, when I travel I like to be active, to challenge myself, to meet adventurous people and learn new things about the world. I thought cruises were for lazy sods who lounged in deckchairs sipping cocktails. I was wrong. Continue reading


Filed under France, Travel- Europe

ZANDVOORT BEACH – a ride by the ripples

The promenade above Zandvoort – better than the beach itself.

As the watery sun broke through in a watery summer, the Olympics on the telly reminded me of my recent lack of athletic activity. So I set off on the bike to ride a 60km loop from Amsterdam to the beach and back.
Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

100 FREE THINGS TO DO IN AUSTRALIA – (my ‘done that’ count: 51)

Phillip Island, Victoria. Just looking costs nothing.

Thanks to Leo who contacted me with the Tourism Australia list of 100 things people can do for free in our country.

I was delighted with all the ‘hits’ and the comments on my previous blog post about Tourism Australia’s latest glamorous ad, apparently catering to the glamorous potential visitor.

We skinflint locals know that there are plenty of things to do DownUnder that won’t cost anything but the time and trouble (okay, a bit of transport money too) you take to get there.

I love lists, so of course I picked through Tourism Australia’s top 100 freebees, ticking off the ones I’d done. I scored 51.

Here are my top 10 ‘been there, done that’ Australia for tightwads experiences, in no particular order: Continue reading


Filed under Budget travel, Hiking, Travel-Australia

NOTHING LIKE AUSTRALIA – is this tourism campaign a ‘dud’?

Has Tourism Australia got it all wrong again in its latest advertising campaign?

Rubbishing tourism campaigns is a national sport in Australia. I thought the ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ campaign was rather witty, but it quickly turned into a national joke, the more so when Lara Bingle, the young lady who delivered that memorable punchline, became overexposed in all senses of the word. Continue reading


Filed under Travel-Australia

ART IN HET GOOI – furniture of the rich and tasteful

It’s really just a sofa, but very classy if you don’t spill red wine on it. Jan des Bouvrie’s Kubusbank. Wall sculpture by Levi van Veluw.

Mevrouw T and I have been visiting the area about 30 km west of Amsterdam known as Het Gooi, one of the wealthier parts of the Netherlands. They know a lot about art and design there, and have the money to pay for it.

The Singer Museum in the village of Laren is currently featuring the personal art collection of Gooi resident and fabulously successful Dutch designer Jan des Bouvrie, along with some of the furniture that has earned him an international reputation, and a fortune. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Holland

THE AMSTEL – a ride by the river

Where else in the western world are there ferries just for cyclists and walkers?

When I first came to the Netherlands, it was a while before I found out that Amstel was not only a beer, but a river, and even longer to discover that ‘Amsterdam’ meant ‘dam on the Amstel’. Maybe I’m just a slow learner.

Now I know the Amstel River very well. My cycling routes south of Amsterdam often begin with a few kilometres riding alongside it. My correspondent and fellow blogger Laura contacted me this morning and recommended a ride along the length of the Amstel from Amsterdam to where the Drecht River joins with a canal to become the Amstel at a village called De Kwakel. It’s about a 60km round trip, all flat.

Good idea, thanks Laura! I went straight out and did it. Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland