I got back last week from a trip to Palma, Majorca. I went sailing with our distant cousins, Tim and Liz Mitchell. I attach a picture of the beautiful nature reserve we sailed to called the Cabrera Archipelago. Its a small string of islands and you can only get there by sea. It has no hotels, no discos just birds and natural vegetation.
Got back from China yesterday. I had of course read about the rapid growth that has taken place over the last fifteen/twenty years but was unprepared for just how developed the main centres are. High-rise buildings, six lane highways, luxury hotels and an emerging middle class. There may be old folk planting rice in paddy fields (indeed there are) but most of the workforce in the cities is young and striving for success. The building in the main centres I went to, Beijing, Shanghai Xi’an and Nanjing, is incessant, with the capital particularly busy in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. (It might slow down a bit after that.) The natural money making instincts of the Chinese are back on the surface and now that the genie is out of the bottle there will be no putting it back. Can the world absorb another super economy without financial dislocation? Hope so but GDP is too big to ignore now.
Here is me on the Great Wall, I was a good tourist and did most of the major attractions, a wonderful experience. The Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, Tian-an-men Square, the Terracotta Army, The MagLev train in Shanghai (travelling at 270 m.p.h.) The Bund, Jade Buda Temple, The Gardens of Suzhou and finally the Yangtze River at Nanjing. I had a great time and anyone who wants more info/advise just give me a return e-mail. Oh Yes, I don’t want another Chinese meal for at least a month!
Just a short note to let you all know that I arrived safely and am having fun exploring everything Great Wall, Summer Palace, Chinese Opera and the Forbidden City. Communications are difficult, my mobile doesn’t work here and internet cafes are as rare as rocking horse shit.
Got back from Lucerne where a friend had lent me his house. I took two couples there and this is the six of us on the bridge by the railway station with the famous walking bridge in the background..
Had a great time sailing off the coast of Spain. We flew to Barcelona and joined the boat at Arenys de Mar and sailed up to Puerto d’ Aro, stopping on the way at Blanes, and back again. This is me reefing in the furling mainsail under the eye of the skipper. The wind was sufficient most days, too much on occasions and the sun was out nearly every day.
Of course it was not all hard work at the helm! There are the sun downers in the evening and good restaurants ashore. We all had lunch on the last day at a hotel called “Cal Batlle” in Saint Celoni. I recommend it unreservedly.
If you want a few days of pure relaxation at a private hotel you must go. You can have a virtual tour of it here
Just a quick “hello” to let you know (these Arabic keyboards are hard) that I safely climbed Mt Toubkal on Wednesday and attach pic of me at the top
4,167 metres. Back on Sunday.