Wednesday, 21 December 2011

On Futures and New Years Plans

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with what's been happening. Not only that, but photography is in my blood, so I'm going to post some more cycling trip photos, as well as some extra pictures that I have been taking over the last few years for you to view.

Three C in three D: open air theatre Rugby

It's now been five months since returning home from my cycling trip and it's given me the time to reflect and plan ahead. Although I decided to cut the trip short, I now know I made the right decision and know I will be travelling agRenoir's home town of Essoyes in France (above) and Chataux Chillon on Lake Geneva

ain as soon as I can. In fact, I decided that I love the travelling so much that I intend to find a way to work for half the year and then travel for the remaining half year. So, I'm planning to carry on with my talks, (I have bookings already for 2013) and teaching photography. But the thought of working abroad and staying in one country also appeals to me and as a way to finance further travel out on the road, I have decided to do a TEFL (teaching English as foreign language) course which starts in February in Cambridge. Then there were four Green oil cans sitting on .... the Grand Union Canal nr Rugby

The more research I do on TEFL and alongside my previous experience and enjoyment of teaching, the more I really want to do it. And it gives me the choice between working here in England, or abroad. There's nothing like having a large number of strings to your bow! Bottleneck: Empty wine bottles in France (where else!) Wooden carving statue at local market in Montreaux with Dents Du Midi range of mountains in the background

While I have been sorting all that out, I have also been very busy carrying out volunteer work for Sustrans, the sustainable transport and cycling network charity. That has been fabulous and it's giving me the chance to put all my skills, abilities and experience into it, through fundraising talks that I am planning, as well as organising Sunday bike rides and raising the Sustrans profile through leaflet distribution and media work. Just right for my kind of background. A lady in the library: Rugby Library or Olive from On the Buses! (only those over 25 yrs will know what I mean)

Other travellers will know that one of the many things that happens to you when you go on a trip like I did, (no matter how long or short) you come back a changed person and it makes you sort out the priorities in your life. So, without pontificating too much on this and I must stress this is personal to me, here are some of the things that I came back with and thatMy wonderful German friends in Bologne, Hedi and Franz

I want to change.

Firstly, I wanted to at least once in my life, do some volunteer work. Give some of my time to something other than me! Having done that, what's happened is that I enjoy it so much, that I intend to continue to carry on being associated with at least one charity all the time now. Not only that, I'm meeting some great people. Bike shadow in a local park

Secondly, I plan to live more within my means. I have found that since 'downsizing' a few years ago, and especially so since my trip, that I really don't need or want, lots of posessions. All we/I ended up doing was working to service those posessions. I don't even really want to own a car with all its expense. I still havn't got mine on the road and am enjoying travelling by bike or public transport now. However, as far as expense goes, I will make the exception when it comes to do with anything for my bike, cameras or travelling,... so that's one New Years resolution out the window! But what I really mean, is that although I still like some comforts and will still need a car for my equipment when I do my talks, I enjoy simplifying my life and spending my money on the things that I really want to do in life rather than on acquiring and financing more things that I don't need. The little fox cub whose uncertain outcome, broke my heart

One major part of travelling is the joy of meeting new people all the time. On my cycling trip to Greece, I met some wonderful people who I have stayed in touch with and to this day we are e mailing and staying in touch. I'm hoping to visit my friends, Hedi and Franz,who I met in Bologna and had a meal with in Florence, in Germany some time next year. (Hedi and Franz - if you are reading this, I got your e mail and auto replied but I am not sure if you received it - can you give me your postal address in case the e mail is not working? Bike park Oxford Indoor market

I have also started my book! Not the one about my travels, I want to get some more travelling under my wheels before I start that one. The one I have started is one that has been on my mind for some years. Its going to be about my life when I was a photojournalist in Fleet Street.
So I now have to find the discipline to sit down every day and type out the first draft. Not easy when you have had the freedom of the road for the last year.

Great Interpretation! Poster of Van Gogh's painting alongside the original setting they did this at all the points in the town of images he painted

So with one thing and another, life is very busy indeed, so many endless possibilities and opportunities out there and open to me that sometimes it is difficult to decide which direction to go in. But I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going... As I'v mentioned before, I've included some more photos, and to quote a phrase, they are, 'not in any particular order.'. for you all to browse. Hope you like them and hope you are able to continue to follow my blog (I am going to try to keep an update going every month or two) and more adventures to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy NewYear! The end!

All photographs and text in this blog are copyright of Deborah Anne Brady (c) All rights reserved.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Best laid plans and all that....

Street busker - taken during recent visit to Cambridge

Rising sun - taken while cycling the Suffolk Coastal Route recently I

Early morning sun (Suffolk Coastal Route)

Coffee break- local bookshop (Suffolk)

Visitors at Manet's Gardens at Giverny France

Well some of you know, and some of you don't know, but the reason for the long delay is that I have taken my time making a big decision.

When I got to the end of Greece, I decided I would not continue my world trip due to my financial situation. I wasn't running out of funds but made up my mind that as much as I was enjoying the trip, I needed to keep my remaining funds for home. Also, as there were going to be three or four flights involved on my trip, the amount of baggage I was carrying was going to be very expensive.

I came back to UK about two months ago to regroup and sort out my bike luggage to make it easier to fly and not have to pay so much cost. However, it wasn't going to be and so I am staying in UK for the winter and heading out to Europe again in early Spring. But this time I am cycling through Spain to Morocco and back up the east coast of Spain to the Med. The art theme is following on from the first journey and I will finish the Asian tour over another winter, sometime in the future. So, that's my story - sorry to disappoint, but all is not lost - it will just take a little longer than at first planned. Until then, I am really excited about Spain and Morocco and all that art!

Although I was very disappointed about abandoning the trip, one bit of good news is that since leaving in May, I am now 2 and half stone lighter! I have actually gone down a dress and trouser size!

I am still cycling back here in UK and recently spent 2 days cycling the 150 mile Suffolk Coast route while we still have some sunny and warm weather left!

Meanwhile thank you all for following my adventures I loved every minute of it and will be continuing the journey soon albeit not the original route. I now have some fantastic memories and stories to tell (one day in a book) and I met wonderful people and made some great friends along the way, some of whom are still keeping in touch. The comararderie of the road and meeting other travellers and locals is something that I really miss. But I intend to continue to cycle tour in the very near future, so I hope you will all stick with me and follow my further adventures.

In between cycle touring I teach photography and give lectures and talks and I always tell my students that it's not the camera that matters so much, as what you do with it. I always maintain that you don't necessarily have to go to exotic places to make interesting and atmospheric photos. So to prove a point, I have included some very recent photos I took with only a compact camera, as well as some taken on my trip, that I havn't included before. I hope you agree!

And while back in the UK, I hope you will still join me in my regular blog updates and photos.

To be continued.........


(copyright: all rights reserved including all photographs to Deborah Brady paintsandpedals)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A few latest photos

I've downloaded these latest pictures for viewing, while I am resting briefly from cycling and touring.

Two thousand and five.. two thousand and six... oh damn! .. One .. Two... three.....

Leaving Kavala harbour - Greece

Greek woman in Alexandroupolis

Which move next? Backgammon player in Alexandroupolis Greece

The Players in Alexandroupolis Greece

The Backgammon players in Alexandroupolis Greece

Sulyman the Magnificent's Aquaduct in Alexandroupolis Greece

Beech umbrellas in Greece

Buoys in Kavala harbour (Greece)

Rape of the Sabines Sculpture in Florence

Ahh! Young love in Thessoloniki harbour

Fisherman mending nets in Kavala (Greece) harbour

It's so much fun chasing pigeons!

flowers in a Monastery window - Thesoloniki

My Belgium friend and fellow round the world cyclist - Ludo Linden having a beer with me in Kavala Greece.

I'll give you three guesses !

(paintsand and all photographs are copright of Deborah Anne Brady : all rights reserved. 2011)

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Well, what an experience it's been so far! The sights I've seen and the wonderful people I have met. But after 3 months on the road and having cycled over 3 mountain ranges I have decided to take a short break to recover and prepare myself for the rigours of Asia.

Therefore, I will not be writing a blog for a little while but will start updating again when I have recovered and had a short rest from cycling and touring. So please don't go away, I will be back on the blog very shortly with more tales and photos and resuming my journey from where I left off. Watch this space! That was part one -I have cycled across Europe - now, part two will resume shortly. Back with you all soon,


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Salad Days And Dog Days

Old man of the mountain - Metsova Pindos Mountains

Dogs seem to be a recurrant theme during these travels. I was the victim of my fourth dog attack in the Pindos mountains the other week. An enormous mangy shephard dog charged at me growling and snarling as I cycled a lonely road through the mountain. Up until now none of these attacks have amounted to much. A bit scary but it's been all bark and no bite. They really just warn you off. But this one seemed more determined and got within a few inches of my exposed ankle. I always cycle on as I know they will very soon give up when I am out of their territory and I know its always the bike they dislike not the human. But this one was more agrressive and manged to take a lunge at my panniers causing the bike to swerve slightly out from under me. But I clung on and kept cycling and I knew as I was going downhill that he would eventually give up- which he did. I know these dogs aren't interested in me - it really is the bike they are not comfortable with which is why I cycle on past these charges. However that was a heart-stopping moment and one which I hope I won't have to experience again. I'm buying a water pistol in case it happens again as dogs hate having water squirted at them. But I'm getting fed up with these chases and perhaps now I have crossed the mountains, that's the last of them.
But I bear no grudge, they are just protecting their herds.

old man of the mountain- Pindos Mountains

Then of course there are the cute dogs and animals to compensate for the bad times. While crossing the Pindos I stopped at a cafe and this lovely brown female dog siddled up to me and judging by the look of her, still giving milk to her pups safely tucked away somewhere nearby. She was so affectionate and came up and put her head on my knees, and looked up at me with huge soft brown eyes. But she was so thin, every rib showing through her skinny body. I could have scooped her up and taken her home with me. But I didn't. I spent 3 euros and bought her a cheese sandwich. She devoured it almost in one go - turning her nose up at the bread, but ate it anyway - you never know where your next meal is coming from!But she was lovely and I decided to call her Tessa - as I am now in THessoloniki - a city named after one of Macadonia's most famous heroes- Alexander - and the city he named after his sister - Thessoloniki - so her shortened name is Tessa. I hope she fares well.

Village woman collecting conifer cones by the roadside - Pindos mountians

But along with the dog days there are the salad days. Not only the Greek salads, which are wonderful and tasty but also the sights and places and experiences I am having on this wonderful trip. I stopped off in Kalambaka the site of the Meteora cliff top monasteries.
Perched precarioiusly atop vertical rocks, they are magnificent and stunning to see

carpet seller and her grandaughter in IoanninaVacant possession - unfinished house in Pindos mountains

Alexander's statue on Thessoloniki's harbour

And then there was the mountain town of Metsovo, clinging almost vertically to the mountainside. The houses were reminiscent of an Alpine village with stunning views and sheer 200 ft drops from their balconies. Metsevo was where I had my first problem with my bike. The brakes needed adjusting badly before cycling out the next day. I was heading for the Kavala pass adn knew there were some very long and and steep downhill sections. My brakes had to be in perfect condition, so I caught the bus back into Ioannina where the man in the bike shop fixed them in a few minutes. That meant spending an extra day in Metsovo which I didn't want to do. But out of adversity came good fortune. The first day I had not had the time to visit the art gallery as it was closed by the time I got there, so by having my brakes fixed, I managed to see some of the fine art housed there.

Rubbish fly tipped down the mountainside - Pindos- the only scar on the landscape

Another disgraceful view

The road I cycled over the Pindos - this was only a third of my journey that day. Just up and up all the way to Metsovo - but stunning views.

The top of the mountain - downhill all the way from here.

The spectacular Pindos


Well, I am now in Thessoloniki. I had to save money so I caught the bus from Grevena to here. I decided that the towns and landscape between held no interest and it saved me 4 nights accomodation. That meant I could stay in Thessoloniki for 3 days to see the sights. One of the delights of Thessoloniki are the charming Byzantine churches nestled in between the high rise flats and the Gucci shops. I also took a bus ride to the town of Pella to see the ruins of the ancient town and the place of Alexander's birth and where he grew up. Tomorrow I am taking another bus ride out to Veria where the museum there holds Alexanders's father, Phillip's tomb and Macadonian gold.

While here in Thessoloniki, I have been keeping yup to date with Greek news. Their cumbling economy has been dominating the news and when I get tired of that I flick channels. One channel is entirely devoted to traditonal Greek dancing. Slowly they turn one way then th e other and to my English eyes, it never seems to change. To me its like River Dance on valium.

Oh well, everything else Greek is wonderful - especially their salads!

A few more photos to browse below: cyling on Tuesday towards Kavala.


(paintsandpedalsblog and all photographs copyright Deborah Anne Brady: all rights reserved)

My 'Alpine' hotel - Metsovo

my view from hotel in Metrsovo


aRT at Ioannina GREECE

The Cloth Hall -Ypres

Artist painting Van Gogh scene - Auvers sur Oise France

Metsovo art

Art from Mestsovo Greece

Donatello's Magdalene

Donatello's Magdalene

Venetikos River GREECE

Monastery at Kalambaka Greece

Mateora Monastery - Kalambaka Greece

Colosseum Rome


monastery carved into rocks - Meteora Italy

Meteora new town - Italy

Meteora at night - ITALY

free runner in Thessoloniki

Dog days

humans imitating dogs or the other way round?


fishing boats Iougiminsta Harbour GREECE

Meteora - Italy

Brindisi Harbour Italy

My favourite Byzantine church Agiois Georgioius in Thessoloniki

Not all the roads are good

Thessoloniki Harobour

Thessoloniki Harbour - the last photo in this blog