Thursday, July 05, 2018

050718 BLOK

050718 BLOK
My cycling adventure to Stirling, Scotland, 30 June, 01 July, 2018.
As the suns (Aren´t they´re more than one?)  masw the green of the ivy on the house across the street I wrote about my 2-day trip from Glasgow to Stirling.  This, to investigate the Stirling area as a possible place to live.  Glasgow, too big, too crazy for me.
I sat in a small room in the Southfield Bed and Breakfast in Stirling, recovering from an arduous day, cycling only some 24 miles / 40 KM, but nonetheless, challenging for me.  I´m older and not 100% as suffering from a variety of aliments.  One, a cracked rib, from a fall.
I had set off from Kelvin Gate 5/7 in Glasgow by 0845 to find my way to the bicycle path that parallels the Forth and Clyde Canal, all the way to Edinburgh,  #574.  But, I knew to take the highway from Denny, directly to Stirling.
I´d checked my Glasgow Bicycle Map, and took a street which supposedly led to the path, but what a labrinth I ended up in, finally having to ask a woman cyclist.  Rather than explaining, she said to follow her, which I did through alleys and streets, finally into the Botanical Garden where she left me, explaining how to find my way.  Well, it, like so many large cities, confusing, going this way and that.  But, I finally made my way to the Canal, with the help of others.
I must say at this point how glad I am in the home of my ancestors to discover so many nice, friendly, and helpful people.  Some even stopping what they´re doing, to lead me to where I need to go. But, here I am in a land where my native language (English) is spoken, yet I can´t understand the Scot´s dialect. Plus, as always they talk too fast, and with my hearing loss, What?  Can you repeat that?
It was in the case of the Canal, which I didn´t even know existed, a matter of doubling back, under a bridge, to continue following the Canal on bicycle path #574.  But, once on the Canal path, going on for ten miles many people out there on a Saturday, Cycling, walking dogs, kayaking, etc..  It slightly uphill and against the prevailing wind.  It took longer, as having to rest.  I had foolishly thought I´d go, investigate, and return in one day.  I had told myself, if too arduous, or I got tired I´d turn back.  I think I fool myself so often, as I´m the kind to always press on into the unknown.
Then, I finally got to a burgh called, Denny, or so I thought it was Denny.  And it was here I stopped at a Tesco Express (food market) to replinish food and drink.  I asked how to get to Stiriling, and a man gave me directions, a short cut, and I managed, although, after cranked up a hill I had second thoughts, went back down thinking I´d made a mistake.   No, I was going right, and had to climb the hill a second time.
It´s not always the distance in miles or kilometers, nor time, but the energy expended to get there.  And I was beginning to expend too much.  But, the weather was gloriously grand and I just kept going…  We let nothing stop us!
The highway (A872) into Stirling too busy, with the incessant sound of the passing motor vehicle.  No wonder the majority of cyclists, avoid streets and highways.  I even got yelled at for holding up a motorist some micro-seconds.
I didn´t reach the cneter of Stirling, passing the `Battle of Bannockburn´ Park,(where Robert the Bruce, defeated the English, gaining Scots independence).  I arrived Stirling at 15.15, after some six hours on the road.  This to traverse 30 miles, a very slow mph of 5 or 7.5KM.  Normally, in the past my average 6 miles / 10KM per.
Once in Stirling I had to rest, and wanted to eat, so I sought a park bench, found one, sat down in the sun, and rested my sore feet.  While eating a young man came, slightly enebriated, begging for change, and I gave him 1L and he thanked me profusely.
Now, by 16.00, I knew I couldn´t return to Glasgow, too tired, so I had to find a bed for at least one night.  I started to crank around, discovered Stirling, at least the western part of the center, steep hills leading to the Castle. And one way streets!
Who, in God´s name invented one-way streets that end nowhere — the bain of my cycling existence! 
At every guest house, and hotel, they were booked solid, as I´d been stupid enough not to think about, to plan ahead.  It was a Saturday evening, during their high season, summer.  Few tourists visit Scotland in the summer!  I pondered what to do.  There were two options, one cranking back to Denny, seeing on the highway places advertised, or hiring a taxi to take me back to Stirling.  But, since I was there it made no sense to depart, without first checking out the area.
I started to retrace my route, heading toward Denny.  But, still in center Stirling, saw a B&B, on my right, and decided to check it out.  No, nothing there, but she said there was another just two houses back.  I went, and the man said, yes that had a single, and relief flooded my body.  And, for only 45L per.  Back at one hotel, a 4-star (I was semi-desperate.), the Bridal Suite was avaiable, for 250L per. 50 years younger, I might have paid the tab, hired some hookers, and had a party!
In my room at the Southfield B&B, I managed a quick shower, and then fell on the bed.  It was but 18.00 the sun still high in the sky. I think I slept 12 hours!
The next morning I was there, downstairs, for breakfast at 07.45. And it was worth more than the price, as included.  I ate porridge, with honey, toast with butter and orange marmalade, and several cups of coffee.  It was great and I felt revived!
Out walking, I headed up for Stirling Castle, as curious. I arrived at a huge parking lot filled with buses, reminding me of China. The Chinese tourist always goes in a group in a bus, with a camera.
I didn´t pay the 12L / $15U.S. entrance fee, as not much for castles crammed with tourists.  I did take many photographs during the day, all available at www.cyclingpeace.org
Because I hadn´t planned to stay overnight in Stirling, I hadn´t brought anything, nada, not my vitamins, not any clothes to sleep in, no toiletries.  Nada!
How completely stupid of me, as I know better.  I now, in retrospect, wonder why I wasn´t thinking!   Maybe old age, maybe just to learn the lesson for the 50th time, AGAIN!  PLAN AHEAD FOR CHANGE IN ITENERARY!  ALWAYS TAKE MINIMUM WHATEVER IN CASE STAYING OVERNIGHT.
So, i went shopping, ending up in a Mark and Spensers, a upscale department store, the kind I never partake of, unless, no other choise.  Here I purchased a pair of shorts and t-shirt to sleep in, the tab some $25 U.S.  But, the items of good quality.  NOT MADE IN CHINA!
Then, I purchased a bunch of vitamins, including ginseng!  I´m a vitamin kind of guy, without medical insurance.
Note, I´m planning my own SHEDDING OF THE BODY, my way!  It won´t be in a hospital!
Next, I found a huge supermarket, where I bought more of my kind of food.
Back in my B&B I went to bed early again, as had planned to depart and return to Glasgow, the next day, a Monday.
A cycling adventure for sure, it was.  But, as Helen Keller said, LIFE IS A DARING ADVENTURE OR NOTHING AT ALL!
H.

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