Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jersey - coastal walks

I was surprised that I ended up spending eleven days on the small island of Jersey, but, as it turned out, I just loved all the variety of the coastal walks.
In the south-west corner of the island lay Corbiere lighthouse. You could walk out to see this at low tide (like when this photo was taken), but the path was all covered with water as the tide came in. There were alarms (that I never heard) to signal to people that the tide was coming in and they needed to get back to shore.

On the north-west corner of Jersey it was more bleak and windswept. I went walking on a day when rain was threatening all the time. This coast was the closest to England and there were many gun emplacements etc that had been built by slave labour for the Germans in WW2.

This last shot is on the east coast above Gorey Harbour. This was a much more heavily touristed part of the island. The bay was beautiful and this castle certainly added some historical interest to the scene.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Corippo, Valle Verzasca

I visited the village of Corippo, Ticino, in the south of Switzerland, as my Scettrini ancestors came from there. This is the path I walked up from the PostBus stop to get to the village.
There are few people still living in the village, but this parked truck shows there is at least one Scettrini still in the area....

There were signs of old Christian piety to be seen near the walking tracks. Here you can see a cross and a path-side shrine, both near the village of Corippo.

Near Corippo there was an old mill building making use of the water flow in a small river in a side valley.
A water pump in the village, dated 1879.
This is a viewpoint down to the dam over the Verzasca River at Vogorno. In the distance you can see Lake Maggiore, near the Locarno end. (Seen on a beautiful walk from Mergoscia to Corippo.)
This was a scene of grazing animals in a flat section of Valle Verzasca, seen while walking down from the Sonogno end.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Prague 2

With the new 'label' feature you can find all the photos from one place no matter where they are on the blog. So I thought I might add a few more photos gradually!

Towers on buildings.... a fairly typical sight in Prague.
A statue of Kafka. There were many reminders of him in the city.
A beautiful street in Prague, still with 'winter' trees. This street was not far from the river, and they were erecting metal 'stopbanks' against possible flooding before I left. I wonder how the street and its inhabitants fared.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Manawatu River

I have quite a few photos of my current 'local' river, the Manawatu River. I have lived here in this area for 23 years now, so I guess I can consider this river 'home'. But I grew up in Waitara, where quite another river was part of my childhood. And in the province of Taranaki, many rivers started on the mountain and travelled down to the sea.

This photo is one of my favourites of the river, and I use it as the background on my PC screen. I find it very calming. (The river is not always this calm and I have other photos of it in flood!)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

French vocab for walking

Vocabulary List
Landscape Features:

la combe: anticlinal valley

le hameau: hamlet
une crête: crest, ridge
la falaise: cliff
la butte: hillock, mound

Two words I often tend to muddle:
*Au-dessus: above
*Au-dessous: underneath, below
Amont: upstream

couper un virage: cut a corner/bend
déboucher: leads to, comes out on

contourner: go round, bypass
aboutir: to lead to (something)
s’abaisser: to fall away, slope down
franchir: to walk through (stream, river), to jump over, clear
obliquer: bear eg obliquez a gauche, bear left

se scinder: to split up, divide
atteindre: reach

Adjectives for track/road surface:
goudronnées: tarsealed

un chemin castiné: untarsealed path?
Un chemin caillouteux: stony path
Gravilloné: gravel, grit
Une route revêtu: sealed road

une assise empierree: a layer ( stratum) of metal

des poignées pour se hisser: handholds to hoist yourself up
livre d’or: visitor’s book
(in sanctuary of church in Le-Puy-en-Velay – reserved for pilgrims and walkers.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

French TopoGuide vocab

When I was cycling in France I managed to understand most of what was on the maps. One day though there was a note "forte pente." I suspected this might mean steep but didn't know for sure until I encountered the relevant section of the route, which was indeed very very very steep. I would quite like to make sure I know more of the 'climbing' and directional vocab I will need before I try to follow instructions for the St James pilgrimage route.
The three topoguides I ordered on our wet wet Labour Weekend have now arrived in the mail from France. (Great excitement!) I intend to make up a little 'vocab guide' for myself as I use the dictionary to check terms in the Topoguide that I am unfamiliar with. In particular, I plan to make very sure I understand all the verbs connected with direction, and all the nouns that describe landscape features. This will reduce my guesswork, as I already possess an ability to get majorly lost. I have a well-developed knack for mixing up left and right!
As I add to this vocab list I will edit previous entries and bring the list more to the top of my blog so I can more easily find it when I need it.
I have a reasonable command of French but only a few words of Spanish. I am not sure how much of an issue this will be. It may be too hot to realistically complete the Spanish section of the pilgrimage in the same year after the French section. Time will tell. I would start a traveller's Spanish course at night class next year except I am planning to do another Massey paper on New Zealand fauna.... and that will keep me very busy for the first semester.
Vocabulary List
la combe: anticlinal valley
le hameau: hamlet
couper un virage: cut a corner/bend
une crete: crest, ridge
deboucher: leads to, comes out on
contourner: go round, bypass
la falaise: cliff
des poignees pour se hisser: handhols to hoist yourself up
goudronnees: tarsealed
un chemin castine: untarsealed road?
No accents included... not sure how to do them in blogger!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Cycling down Newbury Line

We have had a real 'cycle' here of bad weather for weekends lately, and being the fair-weather cyclist that I am, I haven't even managed an out-of-town ride on my new bicycle until this morning. Ahhhh but it was worth waiting for: an hour and a half out in the countryside on a bicycle and all is right with the world. This morning I did a rural circuit, heading out to Newbury line, then along as far as Te Ngaio Rd, and back to town via varied rural roads.
I had to cycle out into a stiffish westerly. I had my km-counter on, but it was depressingly 'slow'. As I battled into the westerly at times I only seemed to be cycling about 12km/h. Eventually I realised the bike shop had installed the counter onto miles! Have since been in and had that remedied. The best thing about battling a westerly headwind on the way out of town though, is that a good proportion of the circuit in the homewards direction becomes a lovely tailwind.
Newbury Line has a lot of modern houses along it, as there are quite a few 'lifestyle' blocks out that way. I took a photo of this older farm building as it was quite refreshing to see something unmanicured still on the road.