France on foot…

The first three stops (two if you don’t include the day in León) of my trip were spent in southern(ish) France, in Clermont-Ferrand and Grenoble specifically. Slightly off the normal touristy beaten path, they presented some excellent photographic opportunities. Check out the gallery linked below.

France on Foot at Pictures of the Long Road to Nowhere


Train over the Alps…

Welp, left France, am now in Italy. Took a train that cut over/through the Alps. Mountain tops shrouded in clouds, glistening blue and green rivers tumbling over rocks, trees of green as far as the eye can see. Yes, yes, all very romantic and beautiful. Not that romantic, actually, given that the train was very crowded and noisily full of people.

And confirming my earlier comments RE stereotypes, there was a crowd of loud, fat, obnoxious Americans hooting and howling at one end of the carriage. Apologies to my many American friends, for I know very well you’re not all like that, but the 10% of your country that elects to get a passport and leave your shores is really letting the rest of you down.

Now I understand…

When I was in Clermont Ferrand I often times saw locals walking around with full French sticks of bread in a long bag in their hand, eating it as a snack. This I did not comprehend at the time. Bread has never struck me, on its own, as a particularly snacky type food. Then I walked into a shop where they’d just baked some fresh loaves, and immediately it all became clear. So I bought one and ate it for lunch. The whole thing. Om nom.

Also, the Photodump has been updated with some more random shots.


I’ve created a photodump album which will be used to dump random travel pictures into, some that I’ve post-processed and some that I’ve not. Take a look from time to time.


But some examples for ya anyways:

My view from the train.



This photo is taken from the starting point of a walk I took. The red arrow highlights the finishing point. Then, of course, I had to walk back.

Not sure if madness… or genius…

So I arrived at my hotel in Lyon. The journey was… well… a journey. There were buses, trains, planes, all your usual modes of transport. Of course there were loud children as well. N.B. to future parents who may be traveling with me and have young children with them – keep your children under control and at a reasonable volume when in the very close confines of a lot of other people. Or I will do your parenting for you and quiet them myself.

With a brick.


The guy checking me in at the hotel was lovely and smiley, and explained that since I’d just been walking for half an hour with a pack that weighed near enough 20kgs on my back that he’d kindly put me on the third floor, up a winding spiral staircase. Fair enough. He was attempting to explain the facilities of my room to me and I became very confused. Apparently I will regard a box in my room that is the place you store your clothes, and if you push it will become your shower and toilet. Yes, I made the exact same face you’re making now. I also realise that explanation will do nothing towards helping you work out what on earth he meant, so I’ll provide a pictorial journey through my discovery.

Yes that’s right, folks. The wardrobe is the shower. And the toilet.

Still not sure if madness… or genius. Saves space, I suppose. I’m not sure what crapping and showering in the exact same space would be like though. Thankfully I didn’t take a shower there as I was only staying one night and felt it an unnecessary experience to partake of.

Lyon itself was, eh, it was alright. I’m glad I only elected to spend one night there, ’cause had it been any longer I would have gotten bored. The evening I spent walking around I saw pretty much all the interesting things my research turned up. Oh, and they have out-door swimming pools on the banks of the river. Now, to me that smacks a tad of redundancy, but hey.

Off to Clermont Ferrand.