Tag Archives: Castle

Royal Wedding Ride to Windsor Castle

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In two days (19th May) the UK is going to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince Henry of Wales (or Harry, as he is more popularly known); Princess Diana’s second Son. He is marrying actress Rachel Meghan Markle at the St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle where the Queen and Prince Philip live for most of the year. I will not get into any details about their wedding as the media has been and will be covering the event extensively and in every minute detail. On the days prior to and on the wedding day, I expect the town of Windsor will be completely taken by government officials, security personal, diplomats, rich people, not so rich, but curious people and tourists, so for me in particular Windsor is a “no go” destination in the period.

Thankfully, the 7th of May was a bank holiday in the UK and it was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining, the skies were clear and the temperature was ideal for a bike ride. So, as I mentioned the royal wedding at the end of the video, I decided to call this ride the “Royal Wedding Ride to Windsor Castle” and I took the opportunity to start it from Bracknell’s, new town centre, called “The Lexicon“, so I could show it to you all as well (the old town centre was demolished a few years ago to give way to the construction of The Lexicon, an investment estimated at approx. £750 million).

Windsor is a regular cycling destination for me. If you look through the blog you’ll see I have recorded several rides to Windsor over the last 3 years. Actually, let me do this job for you…

On the 19th of July 2015 I published a post containing a 9 min 37 sec time-lapse video starting from Bracknell’s train station, but using a different route which takes me by the entrance of the Legoland Park in Windsor and then through some private roads of a farm which I suspect belongs to the crown.

On the 20th of September 2015 I published a post containing a 1h long video in “normal mode” of my ride from my home in Bracknell to Windsor Castle. On this post I also published a 10 min video of my walking around the centre of Windsor starting from Windsor Castle where the video above stopped.

On the 18th October 2015 I again posted another post of a mid-autumn bike ride to Windsor containing the video of the ride from Bracknell to Windsor and the way back from Windsor to Bracknell . The first video is only 2 min and 31 sec long as it was a 5 second interval time-lapse recording. I did use the same route and rode from home to the old Bracknell Town Centre, but on my way back to Bracknell, I used the same Legoland Park route as on the post of the 19th of July one.

On the 8th of February 2016 I published a post containing 2 videos: An 8 min and 37 sec time-lapse video from Bracknell’s South Hill Park, using pretty much the same route as the one I used in this post, and also a video of the way back to Bracknell , using the same Legoland Park route as on the way back of the above post.

These post show only the rides to Windsor that I recorded. The distance between my home to Windsor is, for me, the perfect training length and I have often also used Windsor as a destination to do “full load” test rides in advance of long touring trips such as the one I did to Rome in 2016.

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EyeCycled Bike Vlog: Ride to Windsor, but not in the mood for talking

I left home today with the intention of recording a bike Vlog to talk about my Via Francigena project, but I decided not to. Wasn’t really in the mood for talking today, but I thought would be nice to post some moments of the ride to Windsor. When I arrived in Windsor there was a Salvation Army parade coming in the other direction and I thought that could be interesting to show you.

Sorry, for not talking much, but I hope you can appreciate the effort. There are good days and there are bad days in life… 🙂

Camino de Santiago, Day 11: El Acebo de San Miguel to Las Herreiras

If there is such a thing as a "5-Star" Pilgrim's hostel, this must be it.
If there is such a thing as a “5-Star” Pilgrim’s hostel, this must be it.

Welcome to the DAY 11 post of our Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage by bike which happened on the 4th of June 2015. We did this stage of 61.89 Km or 38.5 miles from El Acebo de San Miguel to Las Herrerías in 6h and 12 min, of which 3h 58 min were of actual moving time.

Picture taken from the old stone bridge over the Meruelo river in Molinaseca.
Picture taken from the old stone bridge over the Meruelo river in Molinaseca.

I left the 5-Star hostel “La casa del peregrino” about 8 in the morning as usual, and as usual Fernando had already left by then. El Acebo is located at an altitude of 1,130m according to my Garmin and in a period of just 15 min I went down nearly 500 m and covered more than 10 Km distance. The only thing preventing me to go faster was the tight curves and turns of the road, which nearly tricked me once and forced me to go over the opposite lane due to the speed I was riding. Thankfully there was no incoming traffic, or that could have been a problem. In Molinaseca the altitude evened out and remain more or less constant through the ride this day.

Molinaseca Stone Bridge
Molinaseca Stone Bridge

I crossed through the village of Molinaseca, but not before taking a couple of pictures from the old stone bridge over the Meruelo river, built in Ancient Rome times.

Next was the town of Ponferrada.

City Hall of Ponferrada
City Hall of Ponferrada

As I arrived in the town centre I found Fernando taking pictures. This town has that wonderful mix of new and old and would be worth staying for a couple of days, if you can afford it. I believe one of the main attractions is the Templars‘ Castle known as the “Castillo de los Templarios”.

Templars' Castle in Ponferrada
Templars’ Castle in Ponferrada

It’s is a well preserved and impressive middle-age edification and has all the characteristics you would expect of a middle age castle.

Main gate of the Templars' Castle
Main gate of the Templars’ Castle

Fernando and I made a Breakfast stop in one of the restaurants facing the Castle.

Breakfast is served.
Breakfast is served.

After Ponferrada we rode through small towns and villages such as Camponaraya, Cacabelos, Pieros and Villafranca del Bierzo where we stopped for about 15 min for a rest and something to eat and drink.

A Wolf on a bike
A Wolf on a bike
Villafranca Castle. Michael, one of our "Camino" friends can be seen riding his bicicle in this picture.
Villafranca Castle. Michael, one of our “Camino” friends can be seen riding his bicicle in this picture.

Villafranca de Bierzo is an old medieval town with very interesting architecture, such as the Villafranca Castle, the church of San Juan and other religious buildings such as the Collegiate of St. Maria and the convents as well as the narrow bridge over the river Burbia overlooking the town.

Picture taken from the narrow bridge over the river Burbia.
Picture taken from the narrow bridge over the river Burbia.

The route then follows the “snake” like path of the N-VI road alongside the magnificent A-6 motorway (Autovia del Noroeste) crossing under it several times. With its many tunnels and high valley bridges, whose pillars can be seen from bellow, the motorway offers an interesting and modern perspective to the views on the road (N-VI).

Mix of old and new in Vega de Valcarce.
Mix of old and new in Vega de Valcarce.

This road also follows the path of the small Valcarce river which lends its name to some of the towns and villages along the way.

As I was pedalling on the shared pedestrian / cycle path, protected from the cars by a concrete wall, I kept looking at small river below and all the green around it and thinking that the people who travel at 70 – 80 mpg on the motorway above will never know the natural beauty that was just below them. This is something you can only experience in slow forms of transportation such as cycling or if you are walking.

Along this route we crossed through the villages or towns of Pereje, Trabadelo, La Portela de Valcarce, Ambasmestas, Vega de Valcarce, Ruitelán until we finally decided to call it the day in Las Herreíras.

Albergue Las Herreíras (Hostel)
Albergue Las Herreíras (Hostel)

Las Herreiras is a tiny village just before the El Cebreiro mountain which is known as one of the greatest challenges of the Camino and we could see a storm approaching in the horizon, so it made sense to stay there. To my knowledge there is only 1 Pilgrim’s hostel in Las Herreíras, appropriately called “Albergue Las Herreíras“.

Detail in Las Herreíras.
Detail in Las Herreíras.

The hostel was 8€ for the night and is run by a nice lady who speaks many languages (I’ve overheard she talking in Spanish, German, English and French) who is a strict vegetarian. She offers evening meals, but no meat.

Las Herreíras
Las Herreíras

She cooks the meal herself and there is no menu to choose from. I believe she charged us 12€ and it had soup, some type of salad as main meal and carrot cake as desert. It was enough and delicious even for a meat eater. Other than that there is only 1 other place in the village where you can get something to eat.

Two Pilgrims of different species
Two Pilgrims of different species

There are essentially only 2 rooms. The upper floor has the main room with about 10 bunkbeds and a small individual room for 2 pilgrims or a couple which costs a bit more (12€, I believe). Downstairs there is a small reception and the common areas with two bathrooms / toilets, a laundry area with a washer / drier and the dining room with 1 big and 1 small table.

Willy is an 8 year old daschund pilgrim.
Willy is an 8 year old daschund pilgrim.

After having a shower and handwashing a few pieces of clothes I had a walk through the village and took a few pictures of the small “Las Ramas” river by the village. Moments later the storm came and a flash of lighting appeared to have been the cause of the complete power blackout in the village for more than 1 hour. The time was spent talking to other pilgrims from various parts of the world and playing cards.

It was an enjoyable evening. The “No Wi-Fi” policy of the hostel actually works 🙂

No Wi-FI in the Albergue
No Wi-FI in the Albergue. “We want you to talk to each other”.

That’s it for day 11 of the Pilgrimage. Please feel free to leave comments, questions or at least indicate if you liked it or not by clicking on the stars in the bottom of the post.

 

 

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Mid-Autumn Ride to Windsor

The wonderful British Autumn season… Leaves are turning yellow, red and falling.

Last time I recorded a ride to Windsor was in the beginning of Autumn and the recording was over 1h long and probably no one watched it until the end, so I thought it was about time to record it again, but this time on a time-lapse photography fashion which compresses the entire ride in just a few minutes.

I have also separated the rides to Windsor and from Windsor in two different videos.

From Bracknell to Windsor.

From Windsor to Bracknell

Took a slightly different route on my return, a bit faster and more urban (more roads).

Hope you enjoy it and if you do, please like and share or at least click on the stars below to let me know how I am doing.

Thanks for watching!

EyeCycled Bike Vlog - From the South Hill Park in Bracknell to Windsor Castle and back

Decided to try something new… This is my first, and possibly last, attempt to create something people have called a “Bike VLog“. I´ve been watching a few over the past weeks. They are generally edited “best moments” of someone riding a bicycle to work or for pleasure.

My choice was to record my ride to Windsor yesterday, something I do quite often. I thought of recording this ride especially for the people who don´t live in the UK, as Windsor Castle is a major tourist destination here.

The problem is that it took me more than 1 hour to get there (I usually to do it in 40 to 45 min) and I don´t have the time (nor the will) to spend hours editing it. If you ever wanted to know how it is to ride in England, this long video might offer some insights.

In all Bike VLogs I´ve seen the riders usually narrate the ride and talk about their day and their lives. They share a bit of their lives with the audience and it is kind of interesting. So this is what I tried to do… keep talking. That is not a problem for me (I am a big talker), but as I ride alone most of the time, this was quite unusual. Not sure how interesting it will be for you to listen to my “bla bla bla” for 1h, but I am not here to judge myself. I am sure there will be plenty of people out there doing this for me already. Please be kind, I am taking myself out of my comfort zone here.

OK, let´s get on with this then… I recorded the ride from the South Hill Park, a landmark of Bracknell to Windsor Castle, a landmark of Windsor. I also recorded a little 10 min walk I did around the Windsor Town Centre for those that might be interested of knowing a bit about this tourist destination and then a recorded my way back to Bracknell, which was even longer as I amazingly managed to get lost a few times. Not used to do all this talking while riding and I got  distracted and missed a few turns.

From South Hill Park in Bracknell to Windsor Castle

This was the route I took… I was not in a hurry and there are faster routes to Windsor.

Walk around Windsor Town Centre

Ten minutes walk pushing my bike around the pedestrian zone of Windsor.

From the Chocolate Theater Café in Windsor to Bracknell Town Centre (Princess Square shopping centre)

This was the way back from Windsor to Bracknell, via Legoland. Got distracted with all the talking and missed a few turns which took me to some places in town I wasn´t very familiar with, but I was happy for the mistakes as it gave me the opportunity to explore a bit.

Bike Ride: Bracknell Station to Windsor Chocolate Theater Café Bar

Saturday, 18th of July 2015 Stats:

  • Distance: 19.01 Km or 11.85 miles
  • Time: 51 min 16 Sec (49 min and 29 Sec of moving time)
  • Average Speed: 22.2 Km/h (23 Km/h average moving speed)
  • Max Speed: 49.3 Km/h
  • Elevation Gain: 107 m
  • Calories: 674 C
  • Bike: Specialized Crosstrail Disc, converted for touring.
  • Temperature: 22.1C

Healthier, cheaper, almost as fast as by bus and much more fun…