PUGLIA, ITALY

Our workshop in Cinque Terre doesn’t start for 10 days, so we flew from Rome to Brindisi then caught a train along the east coast to Polignano where we met up with Amanda and Gordon for a week by the Adriatic.

ital6812 ital6830 I guess some people have trouble remembering which door to drive through and which door to walk through

ital6850 ital6855 ital6875 Our balcony in Polignano – Balmy breezes, local meats and vegetables, Birra Moretti and Limoncello.

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Polignano is built on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic

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We were luck enough to coincide our visit with the Red Bull world Cliff Diving Championships. These towers are almost 30metres above the sea.

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Competitors jump from the towers, perform a series of twists and somersaults to slow their decent, then land feet first in the water at over 80 kph.

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Water entry can shatter bones and damage organs if not done correctly, so there were a lot more spectators than competitors.

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Fishing Village just out of town

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Small black snake catches a lizard

ital7335 Cave opening to the sea 100 meters inland.

 

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Polignano Cats

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ROCKY MOUNTAINS

Following a great workshop in Calgary, we spent a few days with friends John and Lyla. We did a road trip up to Canmore and through the Rockies to Jasper. The scenery was spectacular and John, being a geologist, gave us a great insight into the landscape we were traveling through. He also arranged for bears, mountain goats and rock hopping mountain sheep to be spread out along our route! What a treat.

255A feast of ribs and chicken at John and Lyla’s.

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251Late nesting Robin – Canmore

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245 Intense Blue/Green lake above Canmore.

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The three small dots on the white line at the bottom left of this glacier are huge 6wd buses.

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Mountain Sheep shedding their winter coats.

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Peyto Lake and matching Jacket.

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FLINDERS RANGES

From Maree we headed south into the Flinders Ranges via the ruins of Farina and the soon to be abandoned town of Leigh Creek.
The Flinders Ranges contain some of Australia’s most spectacular landscape. We zig zagged our way from the south, back and forth up through the ranges until we reached Arkaroola in the north.

© John Lovett 2016
Farina chicken run

© John Lovett 2016The country surrounding the ranges is flat, dry and vast.

© John Lovett 2016This distorted grass tree looks almost as old as the country surrounding it.

© John Lovett 2016Camped in a ring of ancient mountains

© John Lovett 2016Walking in these ranges is compelling. You can’t help walking to the top of the next hill or exploring the next stony outcrop.

© John Lovett 2016Beautiful colors, textures and shapes are everywhere.

© John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016 Watched by wedgetails.

© John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016

© John Lovett 2016

The Arkaroola Ridgetop Tour is something not to be missed. Almost 5 hours exploring some of the wildest four wheel drive tracks and gazing over the most spectacular views I have ever seen. These landcruisers get just 2000 kilometers from a set of tyres!

© John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016

The Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby makes it’s home in some of the remote parts of Arkaroola.

© John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016    © John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016  © John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016 © John Lovett 2016 Wild white horses along the track into Arkaroola

© John Lovett 2016

© John Lovett 2016

© John Lovett 2016Early morning Drink. This guy was sharing a tiny, cereal bowl sized waterhole with half a dozen of his mates and a couple of noisy Galahs.

SA PA

From Hanoi a 9 hour night train delivered us to Lào Cai. A winding taxi ride took us up the mountains to Sa Pa. There are a number of local ethnic groups that congregate and sell traditional crafts in Sa Pa. Their villages are scattered throughout the surrounding terraced hills and valleys. The country side and villages are beautiful and the people are relaxed and friendly. © John Lovett 2015
Sa Pa

© John Lovett 2015
Red Dzao Markets

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015
Food Markets – Sa Pa

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015Muong Hoa Valley

© John Lovett 2015 © John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015
Hmong Women

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015
Muong Hoa Valley

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015
Hmong women make yarn from hemp and weave it into cloth. They dye the cloth with an indigo, plant based dye and burnish it between a block of polished wood and heavy stone.

© John Lovett 2015
Wax resist batik is used to decorate some of the cloth.

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015
Pigs to market

© John Lovett 2015
Sa Pa

© John Lovett 2015
Red Dzao Women

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015
Village kids hunting mice in the rice fields.

© John Lovett 2015
Marble champion

© John Lovett 2015
Tả Phìn village

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015

© John Lovett 2015Cat Cat Falls

KAKADU

We entered Kakadu National Park from the south, via Pine Creek with a 3 day permit to enter Koolpin Gorge. After collecting keys from the ranger station, we bounced our way down the road towards Gunlom. Crossing the South Alligator River, we turned South East to Koolpin.  The road was badly corrugated with some nasty twists and turns.Roll Over - © John Lovett 2015
This poor guy found out the hard way that taking it easy gets you there quicker.

Koolpin - © John Lovett 2015
Koolpin Gorge is a string of waterholes linked by waterfalls in the wet season. The three lower pools are the home to salt water crocodiles, but beyond those it is safe to swim.

Koolpin - © John Lovett 2015
Koolpin - © John Lovett 2015
Walking up through the gorge is spectacular. The track cuts up over the ridge in places with great views of the surrounding country.
Koolpin - © John Lovett 2015

From Koolpin we moved on to Red Lily Billabong. There are no facilities there, and the track in is pretty rough at the moment, so not many people head out that way. We had the place to ourselves. A young couple with a tent called in, and seeing the number of crocs there, decided it wasn’t the place for them.
Red Lilly Billabong - © John Lovett 2015

Red Lilly Billabong - © John Lovett 2015
The billabong is a large expanse of water and covered with huge red water lilies. Lots of bird life and numerous large crocodiles.
Red Lilly Billabong -© John Lovett 2015

Crocodile - © John Lovett 2015

Croc - © John Lovett 2015

Sandy Billabong - © John Lovett 2015
Sandy Billabong is a favourite spot. The early morning light, rising mist and lurking crocodiles make the twisted old paperbarks look kind of creepy .
Sandy Billabong - © John Lovett 2015

Yellow Waters Cruise on Jim Jim Billabong at sunset is one of the highlights of Kakadu. This is the fifth time we have done the cruise and it is always spectacular.
Croc, Jim Jim Creek - © John Lovett 2015

Crocodile - © John Lovett 2015

Sunset - © John Lovett 2015
Afternoon fires turned the setting sun into a glowing red ball.

Sunset Lillies - © John Lovett 2015

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Kakadu Birds                                                 Slide Show Not Working?


Water Buffalo - Kakadu - © John Lovett 2015We saw a number of small herds of water buffalo scattered through Kakadu. They had almost been eliminated but over the past few years are breeding up again.

Bull Catcher - © John Lovett 2015This old landcruiser was used to chase down buffalo back when they were in large numbers.


Kapok Flowers - © John Lovett 2015Kapok Flowers

NORTH TO KATHERINE

 

After the Blackall workshops we headed out through Western Queensland and up into the Northern Territory.


xNT__0521Interesting architecture – Kynuna, Western Queensland

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Ancient council caravan, seen better days.


xNT__0438Willie Mar’s Chinese Market Garden – Winton

 

We found ourselves in Katherine for the annual rodeo. The town was busy, but we were able to stay at the show ground where the rodeo was held, so we got to see all the practice and preparation before the events.

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xNT__1566Abandon swings outside the rodeo grounds


xNT__0916On the morning before the rodeo we were treated to an impressive hour of hard core polo practice.
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ALBERTA SNOW

Right now in Canada trees should be turning brilliant colors, temperatures should be starting to fall and preparations for winter should be just around the corner. We arrived in brilliant sunshine, enjoyed that for a couple of days then woke up to a huge dump of out of season September snow. Overnight temperatures dropped to minus 10 degrees, roads were closed, power supplies were interrupted and tree limbs littered the streets – inconvenient for the local residents but an amazing site for us.

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Twisted foothills of the Rocky Mountains

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These guys are the double decker bus version of a domestic cow

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Wyeth like.

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Warm fire on a cold night at Lyla and John’s

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Small lake in the mountains above Banff

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Mountain Goats learning to eat rocks

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Driving through the snow covered prairies north of Calgary was a fantastic sight – soft, bleak and grey.

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Badlands

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Winter wood

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Kila

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