Its one of those random odd photographs, riding for a few hours and stopping to tumble off the bike into the meadow grass and flowers, kicking back to take of my jacket and boots in the strong alpine sunshine, rehydrating from a bottle of water and eating a snack when I hear the shutter of the Nikon clicking away – turns out the weight of my Hein Gericke jacket has pushed down the release and taken a series of random images – this one just captures the whole day for me, all that’s missing is the smell of the grass and wild flowers and the continual drone of insects as they forage for pollen.
Riding the Grossglockner enthused me to try the Nockalmstrasse in the pouring rain… this is a ‘lower alpine pass’ which turned out to be a good move as it was a quieter yet much more technical ride and apart from the usual cattle and horse hazards new ones on me were little tubby Marmots and these youngsters oblivious to the traffic…
A long days riding which saw a complete set of seasons was capped by a lunch of nectarines and cherries at the top of the pass overlooking Lac de Vouglans. The reservoir provides power for the hydro-electric power station at Vouglans on the River Ain. Warnings of a severe storm are everywhere – lets see what the new day brings but the forests today were glorious, damp and primeval, its only when you ride a bike can you smell the changing surroundings – actually smell the earth and the rain soaked canopies.
Taking the opportunity for a few days R&R I am about 15 miles north east of Filipstad in Värmland County – surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of forest. I stumbled upon Västerbotten cheese (Västerbottensost) which is aged for 14 months and is absolutely stunning and in limited supply outside the region – its a softer Parmesan style salty, sweet and bitter – a really complex set of flavours, now all I need is some Surströmming.
Managed to squeeze in a break before Christmas to come back to Edinburgh, I had forgotten just how beautiful and cosmopolitan this city is and without doubt one of the most welcome, clean and dynamic cities in the UK. The Gothic architecture and sense of history and civic pride is all pervading and with eclectic corner café’s the city culture is vibrant.