Category Archives: Europe

Austria & the World Masters

DSC_8171cutAWIn late January I was in the Austrian Alps for the World Masters Cross-Country Ski Championships in the Pillerseetal region, near Kitzbuhel. The landscape is spectacular and so were a lot of the masters skiers. A masters skier is anyone over 30, and the five-year age brackets continued right up to and including the 85-90 age group. In total more than 1,000 skiers from 30 countries. Largest contingent, the Russians: more than 200 skiers. The largest age group is generally those between 60 and 64, who have the time to attend and the energy to keep racing into their 60s. Scroll down, and click here for more, including Mozart duckies, racing and Salzburg.DSC_8117copyWDSC_8147copyWDSC_7251copy1W   DSC_8675copyWDon’t forget to click here for more!

Also posted in Austria, cross-country skiing

Biking Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands

Two generations and a Croatian flag in the town of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar in Croatia’s Dalmatian islands. I had the good fortune last week to be traveling there with a Vermont Bicycle Tours group. Tourism in Croatia, on the rise in the 1980s, evaporated with war in the 1990s, but it is booming now. It’s no wonder: the clear, blue water of the Adriatic, a sunny and mild climate (even in September), stunning scenery and cityscapes, architecture that dates to the Roman Empire and earlier, fascinating Mediterranean culture and cuisine and people who are for the most part very friendly, despite the turmoil of the past 20 years. I met these two after following a man hauling grapes in a motorized cart through the narrow cobblestone streets and into his konoba (wine cellar). Below: a view typical of the islands — Pucisca on the island of Brac; a resident of the Brac hilltop town of Skrip, from which the limestone to make Roman Emperor Diocletian’s palace in Split was quarried; VBT cyclists in action; and building with stone on Brac. Limestone  is everywhere — there’s far more stone than soil —and everywhere it’s in use, from pathways to walls, terraces, roofs, tiles and virtually every building. Vineyards and olive trees are everywhere too. Lesson learned: It’s not a good idea to eat an olive directly off a tree. Click here for a gallery from the trip.

Also posted in Bicycling, Croatia, exercise, farming, roads, Travel