Mach 2 Motorbike Festival, Machynlleth, Mid Wales, May 2017, Day 1

At the end of May, a long bank holiday weekend, I went to the Mach 2 Motorbike Festival in Machynlleth, on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. I met up with 2 other owners of the same bike as me, (Honda CB500X for those that are interested) and we had some great rideouts. Typical British weather, Sunny and hot one day, cold and raining the next and even in any combination on the same day.

Anyway this is the first of 3 instalments, covering the Friday. A glorious sunny day, perfect for riding the hills. We covered roughly 120 miles, route below.

Friday rideout updated

Luckily, I recorded all day (well mostly) and created 3 videos of the various sections.. all uploaded on Youtube, so if you want to have a look, here’s a description of each and a link to the relevant Youtube video.

Initial Off Road – our first foray off road, first time on loose gravel for me, a few WTF moments but thoroughly enjoyable.

Tregaron to Abergweysyn –  a mixture of tree-lined roads, deep valleys, barren hills and some quite interesting road.

The Elan Valley – words fail me. Barren Hills, deep blue reservoirs, dams, lots of sheep, waterfalls, The Elan Valley has it all. Well worth a visit.

Their is some wind noise as at times I was struggling to keep cool. It was a great start to a fab weekend. Thanks for reading.

Motorbiking…

One drunken new years eve a couple of years ago, I was ‘persuaded’ to learn to ride a motorbike. It was the first time in a long time that I had needed to learn a new lifeskill outside of work. How hard could it be? Humph.

The process to get a bike licence in the EU is that getting a licence is a 4 step process. Do the Compulsory Bike Training (then you can ride up to a 125cc on the roads with L plates). Passing this gives you 2 years to take your full licence. The remaining steps(each of which has to be passed before you can proceed)  are to take your Motorbike Theory Test, take an off road handling test on the bike of your choice, then a 40 minute test on the roads.

I got my full licence about a year ago and since then I have been having a lot of fun riding. I bought a Honda CB500X and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I wished I had learned to ride sooner. Last summer I took a trip over to Ireland to see a friend who lives down in Dingle, Southwest Ireland, July 2016 and had a fabulous time.

I’ve added some bits and pieces to the bike and have just started to record my outings, searching the highways and byways to find interesting places/roads. Anyway, these are the first 2 efforts.

A cross country ride through the rolling Hampshire hills Cross Country Ride South Warnborough to Hatch and Ride down to Loomies Biker Café. I’m getting to grips with the technology. It would be really helpful to gain feedback and maybe subscribers…

Thanks for Reading..

 

An unexpected visitor

During our recent weekend in Bournemouth, UK, we had an early morning walk through the park in the centre of Bournemouth. Its a favourite place with families for picnics. There used to be a tethered balloon ride, but while the mooring base was still there, there was no evidence of the balloon – maybe it’s in storage for the winter.

As we walked along we noticed the park has a lot of grey squirrels and they are very tame. Have a look at this fellow…

The park is an unexpected find right in the centre of Bournemouth.. worth a look if you visit.

We were very lucky with the weather – we were there 4 days and had bright sunshine every day. Although it was cool(well it was late October), the crowds were out.

The seascapes were fabulous…

All in all a great weekend, thanks for reading.

 

A long ovedue update on Life, The Universe and Everything!

No not 42 (as per The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams). Hard to believe that my last post was in April – I have NO idea where the time has gone. Their have been lots of changes in the Armitage-verse over the last 3 months, with more on the horizon.

We had a lovely couple of weeks of early summer sunshine in Nerja on the Costa Del Sol in mid-may. We were JUST ahead of the season, so everything was still being painted, made ready for the new season and the numbers of tourists were low. The weather I am happy to say was fabulous. Here’s a coastal view taken from the Balcon de Europe…

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As you can see, the beach at Torre Del Mar was heaving (not)…

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Anyway, we had a great couple of weeks. Nerja is about 55Km east of Malaga. Now sadly a dim and distant memory.

We had decided that once we got back from our holiday, we would put Armitage Towers up for sale. We have a large house and now their is mostly just the 2 of us rattling around in it, so we decided to downsize and use some of the proceeds for some travel.  We’ve been living in our current house for 14 years and in the area for 34 years, so definitely time for a change. At the time of  writing, we have found a couple of possibles, but are waiting to sell ours. I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, my only comment about BREXIT.  It has been interesting to see how the promises made by the LEAVE campaign have unravelled and been shown to be less than 100% truthful. However, I do believe in democracy and will accept the vote. Its been very revealing to see how people that didn’t get the result they wanted want to change the rules until they get the result they want. I personally think that we have a very interesting 2 or 3 years ahead of us. Oh and of course, the least said about the England Football team and Euro2016 the better. Come on Wales!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Ohlos D’Agua, Portugal

We have just got back from a VERY relaxing week in Portugal.  We stayed in a small town call Ohlos D’Agua (which apparently means Eyes in the Water – which was explained to us as the pattern made in sand when air bubbles up through it… nice bit of trivia). Ohload D’Agua is about 5 miles east from Albufiera – a 35 minute transfer from Faro airport.  We stayed in a very nice hotel (Sensimar Falesia) which had just been refurbished and was Adults-Only (no families with kids under the age of 16 year). The focus of the hotel was very much on all-inclusive(we were half board – would have liked Bed and Breakfast, but not an option). After the first couple of days eating in the hotel in the evening we decided to eat out. Primarily because although they were ‘Coeliac Aware’ their was very restricted choice for Coeliacs like me.

Anyway, here’s the main street in Ohlos D’Agua – always busy day or night

DSC_0149There were some glorious sunsets – a couple here..

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DSCN1641We had a morning in Albufeira – we happened to choose the hottest day of the week, but it gave us the perfect excuse to have lunch in the square in the old town and people watch. DSCN1601

We had a walk along the beach in the bright sunshine – not quite walking the whole 5 miles to Villamoura – but we had a good walk for an hour or so. The beach was very busy… and the sunshine was glorious.

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Towards the end of our week we had a trip to the Loule Saturday Market, which was interesting but basically just a fresh food market. We also visited the Gypsy market (about a 15 minute walk from the centre of town) – but have to say that it wasnt very impressive.

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What was Impressive was the collections of old motobikes on the pavement outside the market in Loule…

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A very relaxing week – we always enjoy visiting the Algarve – thanks for reading.

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Kefalonia Take 2

We enjoyed our week in Kefalonia so much last year that we booked this year for 2 weeks with some friends(as it turned out, the villa we rented this year was only 200m from last years! We arrive in brilliant sunshine mid-afternoon, this time with the benefit of knowing where we were going (ish). It was also my first overseas holiday as a Coeliac. I did some research ahead of time and found the Greek Coeliac website who had very kindly created a downloadable statement for use whilst out and about..

http://www.coeliac.gr/library/downloads/Docs/Documents/Short%20description%20in%20Greek.pdf

The friends we were with hadnt been before. In truth Kefalonia ISNT the place to go if you want a very busy place with lots of hussle and bussle. But, if you want great weather, nice people, good food and a great island, with crystal clear water and good beaches.. try Kefalonia.

The main town is Argostolion.

DSCN1289The main shopping street (Lithostroto) is pedestrianised…

Their is a lagoon alongside Argostoli which is a loggerhead turtle sanctuary – you can often see them around the fishing boats when they return.  Here’s the Koutavos lagoon…

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We decided to have a trip across to Lixouri, using the ferry to make the short 20 minute trip. The one way fare was something like 2 euros for each foot passenger and I THINK something like 8 euros for the car.

Leaving Argostoli

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Across the Argostoliou Gulf we approached Lixouri

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The quayside is pretty,

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Lixouri looks like quite a large town from the ferry, but its quite small with lots of restaurants on the quayside and around the square with one shopping street. We decided to drive back round which probably took us something like an hour but it was a nice drive and the sun was shining.

We were quite keen to visit the small number of vineyards on the island, so headed out to the Robola Wine Cooperative, situated in a valley which is quite high up at Frangata, next to the Agia Gerasimou Convent. Its quite small and their is a self-guided tour which ends up with a tasting (of course we bought several bottles).

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We also did try to visit the Gentilini WInery near the airport, but unfortunately the day we picked it was closed! Check the opening hours if you decide to visit.

We spent quite a bit of time down at Trapezaki beach and harbour (only about a 3 mjinute drive from our villa).

Trapezaki harbour

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Part of the beach, looking toward the harbour. Their is a beach bar/restaurant by the harbour – note the work of art (the sandcastle!)

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We also spent quite a bit of time at Lourdas, both on the beach and in the restaurants…. here’s the beach at its busiest …

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The water was very clear, quite warm and full of fish. We did notice that all the way along the promenade, across from the beach were a number of allotments/vegetable plots..

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Their are some very nice restaurants in Lourdas. Thoroughly recommended(all on TripAdvisor if you care for the detailed reviews).

Finally we went to Agia Efimia, at the north end of the Bay where Sami sits at the south end on the north side of the island. It was a first time visit for all and we all loved the small town… here’s the quayside..

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and looking toward the main part of the town…

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This was our second visit to Kefalonia and we enjoyed it just as much as our first time. We did go right at the end of the season (last week of septmber, first week of October). Several of the restaurants shut down for the winter while we were there. But we absolutely loved it, even tho the last 3 days we were there we suffered some amazing thunder and lightning storms.

Kefalonia ISNT the place to go if you want a very busy place with lots of hussle and bussle. But, if you want great weather, nice people, good food and a great island, with crystal clear water and good beaches.. try Kefalonia.

Imagine waking up to this each day? Thanks for reading.

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