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Cameras: Canon 70D DSLR, iPhone 4 and GoPro Hero.
The lovely Gianni, who feeds & shelters me in Milan
Camping beside a path by the river in Bergamo #partyforone
Up into hills & vineyards on way to Lake Iseo
Grapes! Sweet & delicious & ripe for the plucking
Moody Lake Iseo
Note to self: do not put loose cartons of soya milk in panniers
Lovely, peaceful spot in campsite by Lake Garda – one of the highlights of Italy.
Working hard at Lake Garda
A fellow 50-something lone female bummler travelling across Europe by electric bike (a brilliant idea I desperately wish had occurred to me). Her mother tried to ban her from leaving, too.
A personal endorsement of the campsite from none other than the Queen herself! Incredible
Two Lancastrian motorcyclists, who lavish me (and half the female population of Lake Garda) with roses when I reveal my Boltonian roots.
My new friends hit the road back to Blackpool #engineenvy
View of Verona from campsite
The Gothic Castelvecchio (old castle), built by Lord Cangrande II della Scala – an ally of the Holy Roman Empire – in the C14th
Verona’s swarming, sweaty throng deters me from another urban layover, so shun Padua for sunny wheat field en route to Venice
Wheat field sunset #productplacement
Wheat field sunrise
Venice in August: I bet almost nobody’s there.
Except for this guy – and a few thousand of his equally suave friends.
I quickly whip up this splendid Canaletto painting on one of the main bridges.
Tiny alleyways lead you to magical, hidden enclaves.
Like this kebab shop (NB Venice and Geneva are the only two cities in the world where I’ve seen people proudly eating doner kebabs in the broad light of day – no wonder people flock to them) #soberdonersarenotacrime
Venice laundry (this could fill a whole book in itself)
Graffiti – sadly everywhere
Best pizza (in best setting) I have eaten to date
Four mins later
Artwork by Samira Alikhanzade in Venice’s excellent Iran Pavillion
My boudoir, complete with bed, minibar, office space and generous storage facilities (London equivalent circa £500p/m)
My neighbours in the Venice campsite, who cycled from Fuessen, Germany, via the famous Via Claudia Augusta mountain road
Forced to brave steps to escape this torrid, teaming hell hole. Venice in August should be reserved for criminals and the insane.
The infamous Scala Santa in Trieste – a 2.5km vertical wall (up to 20% gradient, I am told) that takes me over an hour to climb. Here’s someone fit showing how it should be done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa2V6Ie5pLo
Central square in Trieste
Bird on wall (with boats)
The elegant Miramare Castle in Trieste, built in the C19th for Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian
Bird on rock
Birds on rock
My lovely Trieste host and his trusty steed #moreengineenvy
Stealthily switch bikes with my host in hope he won’t notice
View of Trieste from rooftops
Mountain en route to Slovenian border
A worrying sign just after border. Is it warning motorists or encouraging them?
Slovenia shows the Italians how pizza should be done. A little extra cheese and it would have been perfect.
Classic red-roofed Slovenian church
Inside the famous Postojna caves – the second longest cave system in the world (24km). A magnificent, stalactite encrusted, salamander infested underworld lair.
The lesser-known subterranean chicken.
The best known symbol of the Postojna caves: a 5m high shimmering white stalagmite called the Brilliant, formed from water seeping through the ceiling and depositing calcite on the floor.
The great ‘Concert Hall’, which used to host classical concerts.
Bummel portraits #1: the Slovenian chicken.
The Slovenian chicken (part 3 – I’ll stop now)
One of many tempting apple / fruit trees I pass along my route.
Padlocks in Slovenian capital city, Ljubljana, attached by lovers for good luck.
Ljubljana is a fantastic city – even the graffiti is inspiring.
More heartwarming graffiti.
They encourage recycling too.
And, fantastically, the drinking of tap water.
My first kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage), containing at least 75% pork and a maximum of 20% bacon – plus garlic, salt and black pepper (no other ingredients are permitted).
My new saddle, to give my buttocks some relief.
And a spare.
View of city from Ljubljana Castle
My favourite puppet from exhibition in Ljubljana Castle
Bright autumnal colours of riverside buildings
My kind & hospitable host in Ljubljana – and a keen mountain biker
River on outskirts of Novo Mesto, near Croatian border
Result of casual enquiry into the best local wine at Novo Mesto bar. Slovenia, you have my heart (and probably much of my liver too)
Breaking in: Novo Mesto campsite is closed by time I arrive, forcing a bit of friendly trespassing
Novo Mesto campsite by day.
Bridge on way to Croatian border.
One of many garden allotments, allowing families to be self-sufficient in fruit/veg.
The border, hooray! The first passport control I have encountered since Dieppe, as Croatia is not a member of the passport-free Schengen zone (something I probably should have known before illegally entering over a small bridge and being forcibly dragged back by a burly security guard).