31 May 2016

Camino: Ferry & England, day 10

Yes, although we loved riding through France & Spain, it was nice to have (more or less) a whole day on the ship - with nothing more to concern us than should we have nuts, or crisps with the next drink!

The crossing was smooth, the ship had great facilities, entertainments & the shop was particularly well stocked with wine. Sadly, space is limited on a motorcycle so the "grape juice" had to stay in the shop :0(.

We arrived back in Portsmouth around 2pm, and the usual mad panic ensued with dozens of bikers piled in to a small space on a car deck trying to load up luggage / unstrap our bikes. I hate those ratchet straps: seeing your pride & joy bike being ratcheted into the deck always fills me with horror! Still, seems to work I guess.

Although the weather back in Blighty was dry it was incredibly windy & the bike was getting hammered on the M27 on the way home!

We soon arrived back in Denmead & although we had a fantastic trip, as they say, there is no place like home. Especially when you have a Calli wating for you, peering out of the window!

30 May 2016

Camino: Spain & Ferry, day 9

We had a great stay at Villa Auristela, Villapedre which although the sign outside shows two stars, we thought deserves more!. The building design is incredible, & kept immaculately clean, well presented. The couple who owned the hotel were so attentive & very hospitable. Breakfast was great - a good extended continental one, the serrano ham was especially worthy of note!

The weather stayed dry & sunny for our journey to Santander, which was a blessing - as riding in the rain is not the best way to enjoy a motorcycle!

We rode through Villapedre, Gijon, Torrelavega, to Santander. While on the coastal motorway, to our right was the Picos de Europa mountain range - a stunning landscape. To our left, we could often see the sea, which looked so blue & inviting!

After 3 hour great riding, we arrived at Santander - along with dozens of other bikers!

Our ship for the return journey (Santander to Portsmouth) was the Pont-Aven which is significantly larger & better equipped than the one outbound ship (Portsmouth to Caen) Normandie. We had a nice room, made ourselves comfortable & in the evening enjoyed a film at the onboard cinema: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - which we loved, even though the critics hated it! 

29 May 2016

Camino: Spain, day 8

Blogged by Kim;

Following the slightly odd end to yesterday(!), we had a great night sleep, a good breakfast of fruit, Yoghurt, cheese, toasted bread and jams fresh orange juice, coffee, next to a warm open fire.

Room where we ate looks like a converted barn very nice.

Peregrinos had eaten on a large table and one group was just leaving.

Host was friendly and offers a free pickup and drop off service to camino route about 4 km away.

A surreal experience. If you've seen the film "The Way", I wonder if his name was ‘Ramon’ if you catch my drift...

The heaters in our room managed to dry out our clothes well. It was throwing it down when we woke up but thankfully as we left today it stopped.

It was though God had parted the clouds, there was black stormy skies on one side of us and sunny blue skies where we were riding.

We read of severe lightning storms all over Europe killing people this weekend so I said to Don look for the blue clouds and first sign of flashing and I'm stopping for shelter!

However, all was well and the ride through ‘Asturias region’ was stunning, mountainous climbs, twists and turns, picturesque villages, giant wind farms on top of the hills, we were high in the clouds several times. If the roads had been wet it would have been very challenging.
It stayed dry thankfully except for a light shower and then we saw the sea and coast of Spain.

We arrived early today only a 2.5hrs ride. Most days our rides have been 6+ hrs.

We had a fantastic welcome from the owners who were still cleaning our room - as we were so early!
They came to the car park, collected our bags and made us a hot drink with chocolates.

The hotel is 19th century and was converted in 2010. The owners don't speak English so Kim's pigeon Spanish was fine and got us by.

We walked down the road and found a cafe set on the north of Spain camino route. (There are lots of different Camino routes.)

There was about 10 peregrinos in the cafe and 1 young boy who looked about 20 was on his own and looked tearful. Motherly instincts we went to check he was OK and offered to buy him some food but he said he was fine so wished him ‘buen camino ‘ and our blessings.

Nice meal and wander around ‘ Villapedre’.

Tonight, is our final hotel stay and we will be heading to Santander tomorrow morning to catch the 3.15pm ferry back, a mini cruise, there's a Michael Buble tribute act on board. Don is so excited! Lol!

Riding update (from Don):
Yesterday we covered 192Km in fairly challenging conditions.

The total distance covered on our trip so far is: 3131Km.

Holly (our Honda Crosstourer Highlander) had been good as gold on the entire trip, never missing a beat- well done girl!

Very pleased that I got Russ Tappenden (Portsmouth's own MC tyre genius) to fit a pair Mitchelin Pilot Road 4 Trail tyres shortly before our Camino. Very sticky & trustworthy tyres!

28 May 2016

Camino: Spain, day 7

The rain in Spain falls mainly on us! 
RAIN, yes shouty rain. All of it. On us!

Had a lovely breakfast At La Lecheria (the converted dairy), and great chat with a couple from Germany & the Netherlands, who both spoke perfect English. He was also a biker so lots to chat about there. They were roughly following,  but not doing the Camino.

We left,  the rain came down in huge amounts, and our detailed itinerary for the day went out of the window. We dropped the dozen plus stops, and cut to the chase: straight to Santiago de Compostela. A sad choice to have to make but we were drowning! There were some amazing climbs & descents on route, with ears popping regularly.

Our trusty blue microfiber wipey cloth that has served us so well over our journey escaped today. Yes folks, that's right: the blue cloth blew away!

The rain stopped for a while when we arrived at Santiago de Compostela. We fortunately managed to park quite close to the Cathedral. There was scaffolding up at the very front of the Cathedral, must take a lot of upkeep, a beautiful old church like that. We entered through a side entrance and were very pleased to be back in our favourite Cathedral, and the destination of our Camino. We took some good time to walk around and absorb the beauty of the building. Stopped a number of times to pray. We visited St James' remains. All in all, a very moving, and beautiful time.

After the Cathedral,  we picked up some souvenirs and pressies, then sought out the cafe bar that we visited last time we were here: Bar Suso. Staffed by Marcus & Natalia, it is a great place to visit. Good food, drinks, and really friendly service. Great music too! Honestly,  if you find yourself in SDC, pop in & treat yourself!

We walked back to the bike, and yes, you guessed it, the heavens opened yet again! So off we set. However this time the SatNav had an inadvertent treat in store for us: it took us the reverse of the route we were meant to have used to get to SDC - so we got to pass through some of the pilgrim villages in the end. About half way to our hotel, I noticed the tell tale rainbow pattern of spilt fuel on the road,  and not a bit either - loads of it, for 100s of meters!  On both sides of the road! Then a road crew spraying something on the fuel. The spillage went on for at least a couple of Km, and looked pretty serious,  maybe an issue with a fuel tanker? Ironic there is no fuel in France,  but the roads are awash with it in Spain!

We were following the directions from our SatNav merrily, when it guided us up a very narrow & rough tarmac path. Eventually it led us to the alleged turning to our hotel, however: there was a sign on the junction directing us onwards! This vague trail of breadcrumbs carried on for ages, with no indication of how much longer till the hotel. Finally. A dirt (mud) track, parking in a field & we were there. Or were we?... No sign of anyone, or a reception area! After 10+ minutes we finally found a chap who took us straight to our room. No nosh or drink, luckily we had eaten earlier in SDC. All a bit “unusual”, let's leave it there, shall we…

As I may have subtilly mentioned earlier, the weather was "somewhat inclement", temperature low of 8, high of 18 degree C. 392Km of hard wet riding. Glad to eventually get to our hotel for tonight.

27 May 2016

Camino: Spain, day 6

We had a superb breakfast at the marvellous Casafuerte hotel. It's funny, I always thought that a continental breakfast was the poor relation of the great British breakfast. Not so. We have had some absolutely cracking morning nosh-ups in France and Spain on this trip.

We set off from Zarraton and the 1st stop was San Juan de Ortega, where we visited the church. There were many Pilgrims in the small village from all over the globe. Actually we saw hundreds of Pelegrinos over our ride today. We travelled through Burgos, past the Cathedral and headed on to Lean, then on to Astorga, passing through many small villages.

The blasted SatNav was driving us nuts again today, sending us round in loops twice, then running out of battery with over 30 minutes to our lovely hotel: http://www.la-lecheria.com/index.html which is a beautifully converted dairy!

We covered 391 miles with nice riding weather: sun, a touch of cloud, 22-ish degree C. However, the wind in Spain stays mainly on the plain. Strewth it was windy today! The day started out with very hilly sections, but the second half was fairly flat & level.

Kim & I met these three lovely Swiss ladies (Angela, Aneka & Fly the pup) at a fuel stop at Carreon de los Condes. They are walking the Camino in reverse, starting at Santiago de Compostela, and heading back home! 
See, not everyone does it the conventional "Way"!

26 May 2016

Camino: Spain, day 5

The Camino truly begins today!

We left the wonderful Manexenea hotel and set off once more for St Jean Pied de Port. We started to see the first of many pilgrims, known as Pelegrinos: many walking, some on bicycles, just the two of us on a motorcycle! We counted over 50 today.

The route took us through the stunning and at times scary(!) Pyrenees mountains: breathtaking. The odd thing was, there was no border or controls crossing over from France to Spain. In fact we didn't even notice when it happened!

We travelled through: Pamplona & Logrono to reach our excellent hotel for tonight: Hospedería Palacio de Casafuerte in Zarraton - which is very bit as grand as you would expect an ex palace to be. We were given a lovely greeting, and our room is fabulous!

We are in the Rioja region,  can't remember what comes from there: BA & TC? Scenery is wonderful, have to come back here again.

The weather is lovely and sunny, around 25C. A short day's riding today: 232Km. Minor miracle: fuel consumption yesterday / today is at an all time low of 300+Km on this tank. Surprising as there has been lots of low speed, technical riding through small villages & in the mountains.

25 May 2016

Camino: Pays Basque, day 4

OK everyone, stop what you are doing.  Leave now & travel to the Basque Country. It is one of God's little secrets. Well, the secret is out! Du Pays Basque is stunningly beautiful,  idyllic, rural, quiet, and surely the next big thing. The hotel / restaurant where we are staying Manexenea has to be one on the nicest places we have ever stayed. The restaurant is amazing. Food is truly great and portion sizes are legendary! 

As for the rest of the day we visited Lourdes, which was lovely. The weather has been warm and sunny about 25c great riding weather. Every other shop in Lourdes seems to be a gift shop it looked very commercial down the main street. The Grotte was very pretty in 1858 the virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette 18 times and many miracles have been reported.

We then travelled to St Jean Pied de Port and saw the first Pelegrinos - 'pilgrims ' - walking around the town ready to start the 750km camino . Also a few on bicycles. We wonder if the motorbike counts as a modern day 'horse'!

 We were relieved to leave the commercial city of Toulouse at the start of the day and travel the 357km with views of the pyrenees to our hotel (see photo).

24 May 2016

Camino: France, day 3

Wonderful weather, & a day of two halves!

Highlight of the day was Bordeaux: Pomerol (beautiful), & then Saint-Émilion (even more wonderful!). We had a good wonder around Saint-Émilion and a lovely ride around the area. We noticed that our fuel was running low (sound familiar?). After a slightly worrying 30 minutes we found a traditional service station (attended service) with a café bar, where we partook of refreshments. A lovely end to the better half of the day.

On the way to Toulouse, there was a guy (gal?) in a small black French car (no names, no pack drill) who was literally driving down the middle of the road - straddling the white lines! We did wonder if he had been enjoying Bordeaux famous produce... Then our trusty Garmin Zumo SatNav went massively on the blink and stopped taking power, while the battery ran out! Toulouse in rush hour is "Interesting", in the Chinese definition... Plenty of Police, Ambulances, etc! We finally got to our hotel and are now freshening up, getting ready for dins. A total of 518Km today.

23 May 2016

Camino: France, day 2

We have now arrived in Limoges and are staying at lovely hotel on a golf course: http://www.legreensaintlazare.com/?lang=en.
Rode through Cognac & Bordeaux regions, both stunning & very important to me ;-).
Stopped at lovely town called  St George's de Bailleraux which is the town twin of Denmead.

Beautiful sunny day, with 530km of fantastic riding. French roads are SO much better than UK roads, in a really good state of repair.
Pleased to report that the fuel issues seem to have not reached this part of France. Really hope this gets resolved soon. Reminds me of when we had the fuel blockades in the UK. Not good, pray it gets resolved soon. 

And with dinner: 2012 http://www.chateauvenus.com - recommended! 

22 May 2016

Camino: France, day 1

Well, what a 1st day! Lots of rain. Huge fuel problems in NW France - with most petrol stations with zero juice,  and closed! 
At one point we got more or less stuck with only 10Km of petrol in the tank. 
Nice place called Domagne, East of Rennes.  
We were blessed by these nice folks who came to the rescue with about 15 litres in a Jerry can! Thanks guys! 

Lesson of the day, fuel up whenever you can!  
We covered 520Km. Now in a nice Best Western hotel in Tours. Warm & dry once more & resting.

21 May 2016

The Camino begins!

Here we see Holly, laden with pilgrim luggage, just about to set off from home. 
From home to Portsmouth, to the Brittany  Ferries "Normandie". 
Just getting settled for the overnight crossing.

20 May 2016

Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago, is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes, to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth.

18 May 2016

Got an iPad Pro? Wait a bit before updating to iOS 9.3.2

Today, some owners of the hefty 9.7 inch iPad Pro are probably regretting their decision to update to iOS 9.3.2, finding that their device got stuck at a prompt telling them to plug it into a computer running iTunes, with all attempts to restore failing miserably. In short, it's no longer an iPad Pro. It's a very pretty but very expensive brick.

16 May 2016

Unearthing the Secrets of New York’s Mass Graves

Over a million people are buried in the city’s potter’s field on Hart Island.
A New York Times investigation uncovers some of their stories and the failings of the system that put them there.

Google to phase out full support for Flash on Chrome

Google is planning to phase out full support for Adobe's Flash software on its Chrome browser by the end of 2016.

The technology will only be enabled by default on 10 sites, including YouTube and Facebook. On all others, users will have to choose to activate it.

Watch Blue Origin's silky smooth landing from onboard rocket-cam

Between SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, powered rocket landings are becoming almost commonplace. Last month, the latter's New Shepard rocket touched down for the third time in a row, and the company has now offered us a fresh (and pretty awesome) perspective from the side of the booster as it returned to Earth.

15 May 2016

Christian Aid Week: 15–21 May 2016

Jesus calls us to love our neighbour as ourselves, and not just the ones next door or at the end of the street.

Christian Aid Week unites over 20,000 churches to put this love in to action.

Apple says it doesn't know why iTunes users are losing their music files

Apple today acknowledged iTunes users who claim the software deleted their music files, saying it will issue an update to iTunes next week that includes additional safeguards. The company confirmed, in a statement given to iMore, that "in an extremely small number of cases, users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission." However, Apple was unable to reproduce the bug, indicating it doesn't really know what's going on here.

13 May 2016

Bono & Eugene Peterson | THE PSALMS

Have you seen this conversation between Bono—lead singer of the rock band U2—and Eugene Peterson, author of The Message Bible? It’s an interesting glimpse of two very different artists discussing the ways that Scripture inspires and challenges them.

Compression tool 7-Zip pwned, pain flows to top security, software tools

Some of the world's biggest security and software vendors will be rushing to patch holes in implementations of the popular 7-zip compression tool to stop attackers gaining full control of customer machines.

If you are running the great 7-Zip compression software - it's time to update. Now!

10 May 2016

Hillyers Waverley - traditional bakers in Godalming

Hillyers are an independent craft bakery situated in South West Surrey supplying traditional breads, morning goods and confectionery to our local shops and wholesale customers in the surrounding area.
Our products are made from fresh every day, using recipes handed down the generations.
In keeping with the modern day, we have an extensive range of take away and savouries in our shops and our friendly staff can make up orders to be collected when required.
For a full production range and price list contact our bakery office on 01483 416656 or email us at: info@hillyerswaverley.co.uk.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.

09 May 2016

Shrouded in mystery - Premier Christian Radio

Justin Brierley investigates why new evidence that the cloth is a genuine relic of the resurrection is capturing the interest of evangelicals and Catholics alike.

Using Windows Live Mail 2012 with Outlook.com? Time to update your email application!

"Windows Live Mail 2012 email application doesn’t support the protocols used by this new infrastructure, you will not be able to send or receive Outlook.com email from Windows Live Mail 2012 after your account is upgraded. This means the time has come for you to upgrade to a new email application."

This is likely to affect users with email addresses ending with:
 @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @msn.com. 

06 May 2016

Windows 10 Free Upgrade Offer to End Soon

Windows 10 Now on 300 Million Active Devices – Free Upgrade Offer to End Soon.
After 29th July 2016, you’ll be able to continue to get Windows 10 on a new device, or purchase a full version of Windows 10 Home for $119.

04 May 2016

Street Pastor Song

Street pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who care about their community.
They patrol in teams of men and women, usually from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on a Friday and Saturday night, to care for, listen to and help people who are out on the streets.

STOP FOR THE ONE: Danielle Strickland's Tale of Two

Bring hope to one child living in extreme poverty by becoming their sponsor.
Give them the chance to go to school and the opportunity to see a doctor when they’re sick. Exchange letters and help them to achieve their dreams.