Category Archives: travel blog

A day exploring Coimbra

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

You can look but do not touch!

Following a previous comment on this blog from my friend and former wealth creator Pete. I decided to visit Coimbra the site of Portugals oldest university founded in 1290,  Not Europes which is Bologna in Italy founded in 1088, btw Cambridge is 1209.

I decided, thankfully, to leave the bike in the hotel and take the train and walk around Coimbra. My Old man’s fare was €22 return. The train was an InterCity and interestingly had space to hang two conventional bikes at the end of each carriage we smoothly went along at 200kph so the trip only took just over 2 hours.

The university sits atop the hill so a fair climb up cobbled streets initially I wandered about the geological part of the museum looking at what I guess is their first geological map some 90 years younger than Smiths UK one.

I eventually found a formal tour around the science bits of the museum. It’s like a museum of a museum, everything is as it was labelled probably 100 odd years ago! Interesting in itself but no life in the exhibits at all. I just hope when the New New Cavendish gets built we will get a decent Physics Museum in Cambridge. Wouldn’t it be incredible to convert the original Cavendish back as it was with working replicas of the original stuff, pity they demolished the original DNA lab to make hideous bike racks.

The science then moved into Zoology with there collection of stuffed animals seemingly a focus on animals with two heads!

Later I did a little tour of the ornate Baroque Library I wonder when the last time a book left its shelves.

The town itself is a retail museum with shops out of the 1950’s full of counters with drawers and boxes with I thought way to much formal garb but incredible fruitcake in the cafe.

An interesting day out especially meeting Vasco on the train home who let me share his taxi from the station in the rainstorm back to the hotel.

Loads of photos here:


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Made it to Nottingham walking from London

Wow, it’s been 140 days since my last update and those shiny new shoes in my last post are now worn out and replaced with the identical model but different colour!  The other items have all survived.

Getting around The Trent

I did make it to Nottingham on the canals, all on lovely paths apart from the section when you hit The Trent and you are forced to make a tortuous detour to Sawley the nearest road bridge.  Even though there is a lock with a bridge much closer but alas not accessible as you can see from my map. The scouts should set up a ferry service from their campsite.

Lock camping
Lock camping

From Blisworth I walked the 19 miles to Crick on the 17th June the following day I did the 26 miles to Fleckney  and a camping night on the smooth grass by a lock, followed by a 14 mile walk into Leicester and a train home for the weekend.

On the 23rd I returned to Leicester and did the 12 miles to MountSorrel followed by a storming 31 miler to Nottingham and a good night’s sleep at Stephen’s house marking the end of this little hike.

Overall a good walk remarkably virtually traffic free. Especially good for me when recovering from my HoLEP operation and having to pee every few miles. At least all that is behind me now and I can start getting more adventurous again.


Grand Union canal hike – Milton Keynes to Blisworth

Tuesday 16 June 2015

My new kit
My new kit

Yesterday I had a shopping splurge day at Open Air in Cambridge 🙂 I bought myself some new Salomon Xa Pro 3D trainers with added Superfeet carbon insoles & Darn Tough socks. I also bought a new Osprey Exos 38 lightweight framed rucsac and a Pack-It toiletries bag. So after spending all that money  I thought I had better continue my walk…

I left late so didn’t start walking from Milton Keynes until 12.45. I decided to head of to the Grand Union Canal via Campbell Park which is certainly heaps better than the walk through Springfield I did last week. I stopped at the unusual Camphill Cafe for tea & a cheese scone.

Iron trunk aqueduct
Iron trunk aqueduct

The canal does an amazing loop around the edge of Milton Keynes to obviously avoid the hill, so you walk 5 miles to almost get back to where you started. At Wolverton, once past the huge and decaying rail carriage works it starts heading North once again, through very pleasant countryside with the canal carried over a couple of amazing aqueducts.

However, I’m finding it all a bit of a tramp & keep wishing I had my bike! My right foot still has a small blister which doesn’t help. Also having a sphincter spasm after every pee is painful and very annoying 🙁 Lets hope both go away soon.

When in Milton Keynes I had booked The Windmill Cottage in Blisworth they had recommended me to stop in Stoke Bruerne for my evening meal before venturing to the top of the hill and their property. I eventually climbed up beside the 7 locks in Stoke Bruerne and settled on The Boat Inn for an excellent meal, NOT Fish and chips tonight.

A short walk up over the tunnel took me to my resting place for tonight. The Windmill Cottage is excellent with the owners Caroline & very friendly.

The new kit seems OK although with the blister it’s hard to tell about the shoes. The toiletries bag is pretty hopeless as everything ends in a huge muddle. The rucsac seems OK and the tent etc fits inside OK.

Todays 17 mile Strava is here and all the days pics are here