09 April 2012

London-Edinburgh-London 2009, the prologue III...

And now, with a delay of only a year and a half, the final part of my London-Edinburgh-London bike ride Prologue...

LEL - the prologue part III
After saying goodbye to Kathryn and leaving Portsmouth, I made it to London and changed to the train for Bangor. After a rather uneventful journey, the train pulled in at Bangor station late Wednesday afternoon. It had been nice to sit back and relax in the train and watch the familiar landscape roll by.  I don’t know how many times I had done the stretch from Chester to Bangor or London to Bangor when I lived in the UK, but riding along the N Welsh coast line had always been a pretty sight; and so it was this time.  The familiar grey-ish skies awaited me upon arrival in Bangor, but so did Ruth & Michael, who had agreed to let me stay for 2 nights in their cozy stone cottage outside Bethesda.  After a quick drive through some country lanes I didn’t even know existed we were back and had dinner (incl. 1 bottle of Becks).  Then it was bed time.

Thursday morning I was off to Bangor on the bus, and was dropped off next to the High Street.  I walked around a bit and checked out the new Debenhams, part of the city council’s plan to re-invigorate the city centre.  I walked up the hill past Time, where many a summer (and winer) night had been spent dancing and drinking, and at the top turned to the right onto Holyhead Road in order to swing by my old breakfast place, Mikes Bites.  

At Mikes Bites I sat down and had their large breakfast with a large mug of instant Nescafe coffee - ahh, now there’s something that Starbucks doesn’t have, even with their snazzy posh Via creation in individually wrapped bags!  I don’t know how many times I had done this before, but dozens of dozens, if not more...  When I lived in Bangor I would usually go out for a 60-100 mile ride on the weekends, and the large brekkie from Mikes Bites always made it possible for me to go non-stop w/o any need for refueling en route, apart from refilling water bottles.  This time the breakfast would carry me to Menai Bridge, along the Holyhead Road path, which I used to walk every day going to and from work. 

In Menai Bridge I had a lunch appointment with my former office mate Mattias. He was still in our old office, where my old corner was now occupied by postdoc Flo from Australia. Some of my binders were still on the shelves :-) We chatted for a bit and then went for an excellent lunch in Stafford House on the high street.  After that it was back to the office and a pot of proper Scandinavian coffee. Mattias being from Sweden, and I from Denmark we had very quickly worked up a reputation for strong coffee when we first started working at the university in February 2005.  And so it was this time as well...! All in all a very excellent day so far!

I walked back to Bangor, took a few pictures on the way of the Menai Strait and general pretty views of the strait along the road up to Bangor. I decided to walk down to the harbour, and had a stroll on the pier, enjoying the views of Anglesey on the other side. Looking towards the SW Menai Bridge (the bridge) loomed, tall and grey. I had always been impressed with the view of the bridge in front of the trees on both sides of the strait. Then I walked back towards Bangor Centre, pondering what to do for the evening. 

Suddenly my phone chimed in - it was a text from Ben. Rather unexpected as I didn’t even know he had my US phone number. But very pleasant nonetheless, as he wrote that he and Vicky were sitting in a pub 2 minutes away and had been debating if it had really been me they had seen on the road from their cozy spot in the Boatyard beergarden!

So two minutes later I found myself in the Boatyard in the sunshine, together with Ben and Vicki and a table full of Pedigree’s. Very Nice! We spent a few hours chatting and working our way through another round of Pedigree and a couple of rounds of Foster’s. 

Later in the evening we migrated up the high street to the Harp where we met up with Ruth and Michael. We got hold of a pool table upstairs and spent the evening practicing our shots on the green cloth while staying hydrated with Foster’s. Around midnight we kind of felt it was time to depart, as I was supposed to be on a train to London the next morning around 9-ish. So there wouldn’t be much time to sleep it off... And as expected I did miss the first train the following morning but I managed to get on the next one and found myself London-bound. Tally for my brief visit to Bangor: 1 Becks, 2 Pedigree’s and 6 Foster’s. Finally I was ready to begin London-Edinburgh-London 2009!

[If you've forgotten what all this is about, check my other posts from the fall of 2009, but who really cares anyways...]

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