Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flight Home - FIN

Rushed through a very small breakfast, caught the 11 down to Princes St., walked over to Waverley Bridge and caught the Airlink bus, travelled to the airport, did all the airport hassle, waited, flew to Heathrow, did all the airport hassle, flew to Montreal but had a great bunch of conversations with a computing guy named Eric, who works in electric generating plant support. He was returning from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.  He told me he usually just says hello to people on flights but when he saw the Garmin around my wrist and my netbook booting in Ubuntu he figured this was someone worth a go. It was total geektalk from then on.
Arrived in Montreal, did the Customs and Airport hassle, flew to Ottawa, took the 97 home and...

found that the kitties had lied to me because they both greeted me at the door and thereafter pestered me with cuddles, rubs and purrs almost all night long.

 In the interests of geeks among us I shall publish elevation, duration and speed profiles of each segment of the cycling tour.
They will appear below as I process them.

Here are the written results (note that I failed to activate the GPS for the last part of day 1 and the  first part of day 5 so there's a bit missing). Times are Eastern.;

Caption on this one should be Chester-le-Street to Sunderland
And the Elevation Graphs by Day are shown below;

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Edinburgh - Full Tourist Day

Hello All,

Today I was a tourist; the Camera Obscura and its many floors of very interesting optical displays, Gladstone's Land (life in the 1500's and later), a quick pop over to Holyrood, the Royal Museum of Scotland where I hoped to see the marvelous clock (alas renovations have made it inaccessible until July), the Royal Yacht Britannia,  and a walk through The Meadows.

Senior Citizen is defined as 60+ here so I've been saving a bundle on admission prices.

I'm amused by some signs in the UK.  The wording on this one reminded me of one I'd seen in Southampton with the rather suggestive message, 'Air Canada does it both ways'.  If you'd like to set that pupil down you may choose to uplift another more to your liking.

A View Near the Ocean Terminal

My charming little room here at Fraoch House where Gareth Houston runs one of the best B&B's I've encountered.  He is so welcoming, down to earth and accommodating that it's no wonder the Trip Advisor reviews, without exception, are glowing.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The following two photos may be of interest to my cycling readers.  This is a typical national cycle route marker showing direction and route number.  The UK is criss-crossed with so many of these trails that one occasionally comes to a crossing of paths and has to choose the right number.

This is one of the cycle network artworks with those flying fins whose significance I have not researched as yet.

 The Meadows

 City view from atop the Camera Obscura

Rear of Scottish Parliament Buildings

This marks the end of the adventure.  I'll be off to Edinburgh Airport after breakfast tomorrow (barring any sudden wind shift with accompanying ash cloud) and flying to Heathrow for a long layover and then on to Montreal and finally, home.  Kitties here I come - get ready to cuddle.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lunch in Edinburgh

Arrived in Edinburgh at 11:30 and check-in is at 15:00 so I am having a delightful lunch in Elbow.  Lentil soup, chicken and leek pie with puff crust, a Heineken, chips, and I just might go for a sticky pud.

Overcast here and I don't want to pull my suitcase around so I'm staying put for a while until I check in.

....a bit later...

Now checked in, host is a very gracious young guy.  Went out to see a museum of musical instruments then, tired out, I took the 11 bus back to my room where I am having a tea.

As an aside, my videos caught the eye of someone on YouTube who is cycling the perimeter of the continental USA.  He requested, and I approved him becoming one of my YouTube friends.  He started in Seattle and has gone south and east hitting Key West and is now in the Allegheny Gap.  He has no schedule and is a fervent bicycling evangelist.

Gadgetry Comes to the Rescue

Those who are interested may want to revisit my 'In Keswick, 40 Miles Done' post.  With the aid of a few Linux commands I have managed to rotate my  first video 180 degrees and have just now published it as an addition in that post.

Quality is not as good as the others due to the processing but it is acceptable.  It was the first of my route videos, and my inexperience with the camera shows.  I had intended to take more than one shoot on that day but, forgetting that the camera went to sleep after any extended idle period, I failed to awaken it and assumed it was recording.  So, alas, only one video.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Newcastle Walks

View Newcastle Wanderings in a larger map

The map above shows some, but not all, of my meanderings around Newcastle over the last day and one half.  I did manage to take public transit today in the form of the Metro and a Sightseeing bus but there was still considerable walking not shown on this map.

Suffice to say, my feet are tired, I'm in for the night and off to Edinburgh by train tomorrow.
This is one half of my cozy room, the unseen half has two other beds, a dresser and a wardrobe.

I am scheduled to fly out of Edinburgh to Heathrow on Friday so the ash cloud may play a part in my fate.  Fortunately my travel insurance provides compensation for any added expenses incurred as a result but I'd rather not have to deal with it.  I noted that BMI flights were still scheduled as of this morning but I'll make periodic checks.

The wind, though a regular feature of this area, has been excessive with Scotland getting gusts over 100mph.  Perhaps it will blow the ash into France before I fly.

Not much in the way of photos today; the weather was a mix of downpours, wind, and lovely sunny breaks - completely unpredictable.  I bought a day ticket on the Metro and ventured to some of the suburban stops, one being Heworth where I took this picture in the older part of the cemetery.  There is a cemetery near my lodging which is in a total shambles, stones toppled and broken, overgrown with weeds, litter strewn everywhere.  I found it sad that the oldest parts are so neglected, quite unlike what we find in Canada.


Near my lodging

Till tomorrow,


Monday, May 23, 2011

Exploring Newcastle

Had an early breakfast at the Roker in Sunderland, asked them to open the garage so I could put an identification tag on the bicycle for the Sherpa Van pickup, and then checked out.  I walked to the Metroline station and my ticket came out of the machine just in time for me to get on the train just pulling in.

Off in Newcastle I walked about 1.4 miles to the Clifton House (which I would recommend to anyone).  Despite my early arrival the owner welcomed me heartily, offered me coffee, drew a map of the immediate area with recommendations for dinner etc., and welcomed me to make myself completely at home in the common areas.

I stowed my luggage in my top floor room with skylight (though I will move to a smaller room tomorrow) and began my city walk.  Took in Life Centre, Great Northern Museum, Discovery Centre, The Biscuit Factory, a look at a portion of the original city wall, a planetarium show and a walk along the quayside.
Tomorrow I shall limit myself to buses and other forms of public transit. My feet are gradually recovering.

 The Arcade
 Life Centre
 City Wall
 Eclectic View
 Civic Centre
 Pedestrian Street
 University of Northumbria
 The Sage
 Clifton House, my Temporary  Home

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Crossed the Finish Line

I made it!  Got all emotional when I saw the congratulatory message posted at the end of the path. It was only about 15 miles from my previous hotel to the seaside in Sunderland so I arrived around 10:00 after a 9:00 breakfast.  Wandered about Sunderland on its many bike paths awaiting a more reasonable check-in time.  Am now in the Roker Hotel right on the seaside, luggage has arrived, bike is locked in garage.  Had a lovely little lunch at a cafe patronized by many cyclists.

The Route:
You can see that they must have made some changes since the waypoints I was using had been posted because my route is north of what was in my GPS. Not to worry, it was well marked.  The only untoward thing which happened was that someone, I suspect kids, dropped something off a bridge and it bounced off my handlebars.  No damage.

View Chester-le-Street to Sunderland in a larger map

Didn't take any still photos but here are the videos including the last of the Rookhope to Chester-le-Street and those of the last leg, Chester-le-Street to Sunderland.  The last is a ride along the Sunderland seaside.

Had a lovely pasta dinner with wine last night.  I'm about to go down for breakfast after which I'll tag the bicycle, check out, and make my way to Newcastle.  Went for a walk to the Metro station last evening.