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Old 09-11-2017, 10:04 AM   #1
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Paddy's flyin !

Hello everyone.
Those of you who enjoyed 'Ireland to the Mediterranean Part 1' and 'Windmills and Wine' may enjoy this next post starting in 2 weeks time on the 22nd of September 2017.
During a superb lunch with Oliver, fellow TF member 'OMC' and his beautiful wife Pilou I explained our plans to them and they coaxed me to start this new thread, I checked with TF first to see if its acceptable subject matter as its a non boating article.
To explain, I've a son serving in the RAAF in Australia and as we've been messing around in boats this last couple of years spending the kids inheritance it was time to get my priority's in order.
It seemed a shame to whizz out to the other side of the world and back without seeing anything other than the inside of a Boeing so we booked a trip starting in Narbonne, France, stopping off in Singapore for a few days, then Canberra, the great barrier reef, the Whit Sunday islands (y'see there's just gotta be boats in it somewhere) Sydney, Hawaii, San Francisco, Miami, change flights in Lisbon Portugal, Barcelona and back to our cruiser 'Snow Mouse' moored in Narbonne.
I plan to use a similar format to the previous posts with lots of photo's and information I can pick up along the way. As before the idea is that people who don't normally have the possibility for various reasons to be able to see and learn from our experiences.
You will be welcome to come and join us when Paddy's flyin !

Of course as were on the move the posts will depend on Wi-Fi access.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:10 PM   #2
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Looking forward to reading your posts.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:46 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve, will do my best for you.
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Old 09-17-2017, 11:11 AM   #4
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Just before we head off on our trip to Australia and back the towpath telegraph alerted us to an approaching commercial barge, called a peniche in France.
The barge was en route from Lyon to Port La Nouvelle to promote commercial use of the waterways it was carrying a 14 tonne transformer. The normal carrying capacity of this type is 350 tonnes replacing 16 25 tonne 18 wheelers.
Unfortunately due to the Waterways authorities lack of investment in keeping the canal cleaned out this one embarrassingly ran aground.
Many telephone calls, a long rope and big tractor soon had him on his way again. Apologies for the photo, it was taken from a phone while I was chatting to the skipper of the barge.
My interest is simply by promoting barge traffic because apart from being eco and cost effective their passage up and down the canals scours them and keeps them open for our use.


Here at the moment the vineyards are going flat out with the grape harvest, called 'The Vidange' and there are signs warning of slow tractors and grape juice on the roads.
Sorry to disappoint you if you thought attractive dusky maidens picked the grapes, those days are long gone.
The photo's show one of the specialist machines that harvest the grapes, two vertical brushes(like a car wash) turning opposite to the direction of travel brush the grapes out and away from the vine where they are cut by a moving row of vertical teeth and carried up into a hopper. The machine empties the hopper when full into a trailer for transport to the winery.


Photo 1, Ooops ! turn the photo. This shows the barge in the unique oval shaped lock on the canal du Robine, en route to port la Nouvelle.


Photo 2, Barge stuck on a sandbank.


3, Ex working barge, now privately owned getting a paint job, it takes over 45 gallons to paint the outside of one of these.


4,Grape harvesting machine.


4, Warning sign for the grape harvest.


6,7,8 Grape harvester, look at the rear of the harvester and through the dust cloud you can see the two vertical rows of cutting teeth.


9, Small narrow tractors are used because they can pass between the vines when using other implements.
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Old 09-17-2017, 02:15 PM   #5
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Following on from the previous post I have attached a map to follow the commercial barges route. The small cross on the Med coastline is Port La Nouvelle, the barges destination.


For those who've never seen the Mediterranean sea I've also attached a photo, if you click on the photo to enlarge it you can just see a fine dark shadow on the horizon which is the Pyrenees mountain range dividing France from Spain.
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:11 PM   #6
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Steve did you make any of that equipment that is in post #4. Steve was in the agriculture manufacturing business his business made pineapple pickers to sugar cane cutters.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:29 PM   #7
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Ok folks, hands up, I made a boo boo on the date ! the date we start off is actually the 26th of September. This has given me a couple of days extra to do some research.
When we began the planning, price was obviously a factor and when we tried to book through any French travel agency the flight costs were astronomical and all departed from Paris meaning a 2 hr flight up there from the South of France. That would mean flying back over where we'd left from equalling 4 hrs wasted flying time/cost and all the hassle.
That was a no no so we looked to an English company and damn me if they also didn't want us to fly from the South of France to London and then back South over the South of France to Singapore which seemed stupid so we insisted on a more direct flight. Through personal choice we will not fly on an Arab airline or stop in any Arab country. These travel agents work on commission so over an interview without coffee we found we could fly from Barcelona direct to Singapore cheaper.
That sorted we then had to arrange to get ourselves to Barcelona and the recently opened direct high speed rail link fit the bill perfectly which in turn led to some interesting discoveries which I'll explain in the next post.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:48 PM   #8
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Airlines just suit themselves. Is Barcelona>Singapore on SQ? Your view of certain airlines is spot on,Etihad narrowly escaped a bomb onboard out of Sydney in July.
We were Lauda enthusiasts until Austrian took them over and closed the Vienna-Sydney route. Fastest way to Europe, one quick stopover, no change of aircraft, even faster when Niki Lauda was Captain.
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:50 AM   #9
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G'day Bruce.
We're using Singapore airlines from Barcelona, Singapore and the same to Canberra.
Sometimes the planners screw up a perfectly good route when they consolidate and exchange landing slots with other airline's.
Nicki would've been quick off the grid alright its a pity they were taken over.


We tried the Irish Farmers airlines, they said with all the PC equality that they were now obliged by the EU to employ blind pilots.
We asked how it worked and they said with all the new aircraft technology of automatic landings and automatic pilots everything went fine, so I asked what about taking off ?
Ah ! they said, we just leave the pilots door open.
Says I, what for ?
They said when he revs her up and heads off down the runway, halfway along he can hear the passengers in the back clicking the rosary beads and praying.
When the passengers start shouting in the back Ah for fecks sake we'll never make it !
He knows then he's very near the end and just pulls back on the stick and up they go !
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:12 AM   #10
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Irish.

As always great stuff Mate. Look forward to your posts. Keep up the good work!

Cheers Mate.

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Old 09-21-2017, 06:08 PM   #11
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Great story about Irish Farmer Airlines! Qantas/Jetstar has ex Ryanair Alan Joyce as CEO for 5 years,this year he gets paid 21M! In fairness he turned it from near death to triple the share price,. even grounding the whole airline for a period, and restored it to good profits. He also has it supporting a certain controversial plebiscite/opinion survey/vote you`ll learn about when you arrive, but that`s another story.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish rambler View Post
g'day bruce.
We're using singapore airlines from barcelona, singapore and the same to canberra.
Sometimes the planners screw up a perfectly good route when they consolidate and exchange landing slots with other airline's.
Nicki would've been quick off the grid alright its a pity they were taken over.


We tried the irish farmers airlines, they said with all the pc equality that they were now obliged by the eu to employ blind pilots.
We asked how it worked and they said with all the new aircraft technology of automatic landings and automatic pilots everything went fine, so i asked what about taking off ?
Ah ! They said, we just leave the pilots door open.
Says i, what for ?
They said when he revs her up and heads off down the runway, halfway along he can hear the passengers in the back clicking the rosary beads and praying.
When the passengers start shouting in the back ah for fecks sake we'll never make it !
He knows then he's very near the end and just pulls back on the stick and up they go !
lol
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:30 AM   #13
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Hi Bruce.
The concept of a cheap and cheerful flying bus service started with a Mr Ryan who adapted the business model to what we now know as Ryanair. Michael o' Leary the present CEO worked as an accountant in Dublin in his office. Then went out on his own with newsagent/tobacco shops using the same business principles.
Mr Ryan took him back and when he started he wouldn't take a wage and opted for a share of the profits, the rest is history.
We're looking forward to our trip very much as I haven't seen my son for nearly 15 years as he was working in sandy places.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:50 PM   #14
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Were all boaty people but as I'm going to be using a train for the first part of our journey I thought a little background wouldn't help.
The first mechanical invention that's still with us is the wheel, it started a revolution, pardon the pun.
The first wheels were thought to originate 3,500 years BC and the first recorded wheel was of a Phoenician war chariot. Those early chariots had fixed axles and it wasn't really until the spreading Roman empire that their use became widespread.
The Romans modified this system and used fixed axles and greased hubs.
The Romans were the forerunners at building straight roads and they were built to take columns of legionnaires marching 3 abreast.
The carts/wagons using these roads formed ruts, if another gauge of wagon was used it would be in and out of the ruts and eventually break up so the standard gauge was here to stay.
The Romans had regular 'bus' routes around their cities using four wheel carts as well as for transporting goods. Their warehousing was called Loges and the people that worked in them were called Logisticians. On their main roads there were regulated stops just like today's motorways the intermediary stops were called Relais, here horses could be exchanged, meals supplied for marching men etc., the larger overnight stops were called Auberge, these had overnight accommodation, blacksmiths for repairs and stables for exchanging horses.
If there was no stream or river nearby for water they built an aqueduct to supply these Relais and Auberges.
This amount of movement around the Roman empire led to an industry of coach and wagon builders and much like today a general standard was agreed and the wagon/coach builders set up their jigs and equipment to work to this agreed standard
Much later when trams were invented the same wagon/coach building jigs were used to build them.
An Englishman called Robert Stephenson invented the steam engine train and the builders carried on using the same jigs to build wagons.
English rail way engineers designed the train system in America and a Mr Thomas Brassey was responsible for the French rail way system and they all used the same familiar gauge dating back to Roman times.
When man decided to conquer outer space the rocket boosters were built by Thiokol in Utah and were transported by train to Cape Canaveral and their size was dictated by the size of the Cascade tunnel on the railway which was only slightly larger than the standard railways gauge.
Without those rockets you would have no mobile phones and no GPS to guide you safely and its all down to ?


The standard gauge ?


It's 4'8''1/2''.


Why 4'8''1/2'' ?


It was determined by the width of a horses ass between the shafts of Roman war chariots.


This information and much more can be found in my little book called 'The Wolf's Lair' by Geoff Woolley.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:08 PM   #15
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I understand that me talking of this region means nothing to a person many miles away so I've some maps to help orientate you.
The Iberian land mass comprising of Spain and Portugal is joined to the greater land mass of Europe by a relatively narrow neck of land. The Pyrenees mountains form a barrier for most of its length, apart from narrow mountainous roads there's no passage except at the Northern end via Biarritz in France around to Santander in Spain.
At the Southern end of the Pyrenees the access is via Perpignan in France to La Junquera in Spain.
These two passages have motorway and rail links, recently on the Southern passage a high speed rail link has been opened slashing journey times by more than half and it this link we'll be using.


1, The first map gives you an idea of our position in the world.


2,This map shows the old coastal train route before the new high speed link was opened last year.
If you click on the map to enlarge it you will see the mountain range running North West and the little state of Andorra which you may have seen photo's and descriptions in the posts 'Windmills and Wine'.
Our journey will be from Narbonne to Barcelona.


3, This photo is of a French TGV, Train a Grand Vitesse. The fastest recorded speed for one of these trains is 357.2 Miles per hour and they regularly get up to 180- 200 Miles per hour on suitable track. The tracks are obviously specially made with gentle curves and gradients.


And the gauge ?


Yep you guessed it !


Its the width of a Roman horses ass !
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:41 PM   #16
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A bit more information on trains, I'll explain as not everyone has the possibility to visit.
France has 2,647 kilometres of high speed TGV network, on t'other side of the border in Spain they have 3,100 kilometres built to our old familiar gauge.

There are 4 train gauges in Spain to complicate things.
The broad gauge system is mainly for freight at 5'5''1/2'' has 11,829 kilometres.
Metro lines have a gauge of 3'. 3 1/8'' of 1,926 kilometres of track, the small narrow gauge only has 28.4 kilometres.
Before the advent of the high speed link, trains travelled via the coastal route and stopped in Port Bou on the French border and there an engineering shop changed the axles on the train. This specialised operation was so slick and well organised it could be done at a slow walking speed.

The new Spanish trains now have dual gauge running gear.
The Spanish high speed trains are referred to as Renfe, short for Red Nacional de los Ferrocarrieres Espaniols. Sometimes they're also referred to as AVE meaning Alto Velocidad Espaniola, Ave also means bird in Spanish.
These luxury trains have conference carriages, video screens, music, buffet car and restaurant car with all facilities.

There was a bit of a political stalemate between the French and Spanish railway managements before the opening of the high speed link as the Spanish can operate cheaper than their opposite numbers in the French socialist system, finally the Spanish agreed to a cartel on prices to appease the French and allow the project to go forward.


The photo below is of a RENFE Spanish train with the Pyrenees mountain range in the background.
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Old Yesterday, 02:54 AM   #17
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I`ve driven Paris to Lisbon overnighting in Burgos, crossing the Pyrenees was stunning, like being on top of the world. But do the trains to Barcelona use a tunnel, or series of tunnels?
We recently took the train from Frankfurt to Rotterdam,very quick, using a combination of German and French trains. You lose a day any time you fly, trains avoid that.
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Old Yesterday, 03:01 AM   #18
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G'day Bruce.
I know Burgos well, very nice it is too. Trains in Germany are second only to the Swiss for timekeeping. Alles in Ordnung.


The trains on this new high speed line use an incline on either side of the Pyrenees and the tunnel at the summit is called 'The Pertuis Tunnel', named after the old nearby border crossing.
The older service around the coastline is still running and well worth the journey for the scenic beauty alone.

To help others who may not be world aware I've attached a map showing point to point from Barcelona to Singapore, aircraft obviously have to follow strict flightpaths so it would vary from the map shown.

1, World map.

2, Self explanatory.

3, This map would be more representative of an aircrafts flight path.
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Old Yesterday, 11:57 AM   #19
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Here's a pic of the old coastal route from Narbonne to Barcelona.
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