When we visited the EIFF we managed to pick up the 440 page Edinburgh Fringe programme. Unusually it had lain unlooked at until I picked it up this week and started preparing the Fringe spreadsheet! In previous years I would trawl through it picking out interesting looking shows which were on the 2 for 1 days, normally the first 2 days, however this year we are on holiday in the Lakes on the 2 for 1 days so we decided to try and have a free Fringe! There are over 400 free shows to choose from but using the main website I was able to download a file of the free shows for the days we were available and started to trawl through them.
Before I went to China and Vietnam I purchased a Sony action cam if you have been on my FB or YouTube pages you will have seen some of the videos that I uploaded with it. The videos were of good quality and I am really happy with the camera. The camera can also take stills as you can see:
Training wise this has been a strange week.Knowing that the Marmotte is a week away I am keen to get out on the bike but aware that there is a thin line between trained and tired. With nothing in my experience to compare the Marmotte with the proof is going to be in the pudding. As well as training of course I need to ensure that my bike and kit is ready for the event. I spent 3 hours cleaning the bike, fitting new tyres and packing it away for Thursdays trip.
Training wise I did very little this week with only 64 miles and 3780 ft of climbing on the bike and 12.5 miles with 660 ft running.
The week ended with a couple of days helping Carol pack up her mothers house. Hardly anything left now and once a couple of pick ups have been made it all be over bar the shouting. On saturday evening we went out for a meal and a few drinks with friends, quite surprising as Carol was running the Race for Life 5k the next day! She did well finishing in 31 :30ish although she thought the course was short.
Back a week and its as if I have never been away. All the chores have been caught upwith-washing, cleaning and gardening. Visits have been done gifts distributed so now things are back to normal.
Client training plans have been prepared and I spent a bike ride with Vicky along the coast towards St Andrews. Vicky turned back after 23 miles and completed 47 altogether her longer cycle to date! One of my Jog Scotland runners wants to up the ante and I have taken her on as a new client. She is quite determined and I think she will do well. I leave for the Marmotte on the 2nd July and have just heard the news that, due to a tunnel collapse, the route has changed. The route now goes over the Col du Mollard and the Col de la Croix de Fer the revised distance is 170Km with 5100m of climbing. I have also heard that my colleagues on the trip have has 32 tooth cassettes fitted. Those of you not familiar with bikes and gears I shall have a 28 toothed rear cassette which means that I do not have as wide a range or easy set of gears when the climbs get steeper ah well Im giving them 17 years and who needs a level playing field!
Training this week went well with 135 miles on the bike climbing 7382 ft, 17 miles running with 1035 feet of climbing and 2 yoga sessions.
The weekend was spent at Carols mums again with folks coming to collect various bits of furniture and books. Even Carol thinks there is now light at the end of the tunnel!
Saurday we went to an acoustic set by “From the Jam” at local venue The Windsor
My third visit to a gala screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and not a dissapointing one.
This film is based on the writing of Douglas Lindsay and his 2008 novel The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson. It is Robert Carlyles directorial debut and is a dark and gruesome barber turns killer movie.
Not for the faint hearted the language in this Glasgow based film will shock if you are easily offended. In one of the scenes a cheeky wee Glesga boy asks Ray Winstone, one of the few non Scots in the cast, if there has been a murderrrrr but this film has a larger body count than any Taggart episode.
The cast list is like a who’s who of Scottish actors one notable exception being Ray Winstone. This is unlikely to be a hit outside Scotland however if you have a chance take a look at it.
Since my return it’s been a week of ups and downs in more way than one. The first up and downs were mechanical-two flights and 14 hours to get me home. Both flights on time and I even managed to grab some sleep. I was met at the airport by Carol and we had a very emotional reunion. I had been away for a month and that was the longest we had been apart since we met.
I had never been that far east before and spent till wednesday getting over jetlag and resetting my bodyclock. On Tuesday morning I woke at 3am and after unpacking and clearing up set off on my bike to see if that would tire me out. A good sleep Tuesday and Wednesday helped and I seemed to be back on track.
The week flew in I was so busy with washing, cleaning and shopping. The weekend arrived and that was spent helping Carol clear her mothers house ready for the new owners in a few weeks time.
Yoga 3 classes. Biking 125 miles with 7180 feet of climbing. Runs 6 miles with 830 ft of climb.
So ended my first week back!
Book out time was 1200. I had planned to visit the Water puppet theatre for an early morning show, after discussion with the hotels tourist advisor I learnt it was cancelled.
I spent some time in the hotel talking with Gary and Pauline the only others left from the group. After some lunch I used the time to use the hotels internet corner and catch up on mail etc. The taxi was booked for 17:30 and arrived right on time. After negotiating the city traffic and a minor rainstorm I was dropped off at the airport for my flight to Paris.
A smooth passage through check in and security left me with a few hours to kill and my remaining dong to spend.
As I sat waiting for my flight I reflected on my time in Vietnam. The friendliness of the people, the food, the scenery and realised we had only scratched the surface but cycling was without a doubt the best way to see it.
All but three of us departed today I left the others waiting for thier transport to the airport and headed out for my final bout of sightseeing. Having visited Mao in Beijing I thought it only fair that I should see Ho. If anything the crowds were worse but the security was less strict although you still had to handover your bag at a security post.
Once more a noisy pushy crowd was reduced to silence although this time I think it may have been the steely eyes of the mass of soldiers that were on duty rather than any sense of reverence! After the mausoleum I visited the Ho Chi Minh museum which told the story of his life and his leadership and his part in the reunification of Vietnam. The Military History Museum did not open to 1:30 so I headed down to it and settled myself in a cafe with an iced coffee.
The Military History Museum concentrates on the modern conflicts Vietnam has been involved in although there is some floor space dedicated to earlier wars. There is a massive diorama of Dien Bien Phu battle accompanied with a video which has some excellent archive footage from the Viet side. The courtyard is littered with weaponry and mangled wreckage from a B52 shot down during the Christmas Bombing.
On my way back I decided to have a ride on a street taxi, moped, and bargained with a driver that approached me as I headed for the hotel. Scary tiiiiiiiimes! The things that happen when you dont have an action cam with you! I got back to the hotel just in time to miss a storm that lasted almost all of the night!
I have reached the end of my holiday and tomorrow I leave Vietnam.
On the way to the hotel we stopped off at The Temple of Literature Vietnams principal Confucian sanctuary and historical centre of learning.
We then visited the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison to many American aircrew.
After we arrived at the hotel Jan went through the rest of the days itinerary with the remaining squad, Claire and Giles had headed for the airport from the boat. We were going on a walking tour of the French Quarter and markets then off to a family run restaurant for farewell dinner and drinks.