Stratford upon Avon- a name that is synonyomous with Shakespeare and thronged by millions of visitors each year. Being only 21 miles away, for us, reaching there and back has always been one of the easiest ways to grab bike miles , however, it has always been a very daunting task. Especially when you ride with bike-demons like Mahesh in the group who is known to do the 40 mile return journey in less than 3 hours without a single crease on his forehead.
Anyway, last weekend was the day we decided to head for the S town and capture it. As usual, our ever so punctual group started off a good 45 minute late ( but hey, thats the IST ( indian standard time :). The main and most cheerful addition to the group was Rashmi. It would not be politically correct ot say that I would prefer her to Subhash as a co-rider , but then hey ho, who cares!!! Subhash ( the other half-better or worse, hmmmm….) cant giggle like she does, nor can his peals of laughter ring and scare the colws in the countryside ;)).
We took the usual route from Solihull to Stratford via Henley in Arden. The day was perfect with the odd shower. Passed this field of yellow buttercups and spotted Mrs Moo’s family , taking an early morning siesta, wondering what in hell are these guys doing breaking out into a sweat….for a moment, that thought echoed in my mind too :). Stopped for a quick pic and sped ahead.
Mahesh came across an old friend, a recycled scarecrow. No idea why he was placed there, in the middle of a residential area and no fields in sight! Probably a scarecyclist rather than a scarecrow 🙂
A few miles ahead, we spotted some huge horses with the most delicate and kind eyes you could ever see. Ram was a bit intimidated by them initially and soon they were munching greedily on grass from our hands.
Soon, we were back on A34 in Henley in Arden and thats where the thoughts of the cows started re-echoing in my mind. There was a sort of competition between the beasts on the road to mow us down. It is indeed really scary when these 100 ton machines whizz past you, leaving you shaking like a sole leaf in autumn.
One of my favourite stopping spots: the Manor hall in Wooton Waaven. There is something very magical in the way the water flows down this beautiful waterfall , which always always slows me down. I have taken so many pictures but still keep going for more.
Ah, and my loyal steed , proudly posing on the bridge. Isnt she a beauty!!! so proud of her 🙂
Soon we were at the outskirts of Stratford….all excited. It was great to see Rashmi still pedalling. a bit envious too as I remembered my first ride to Stratford and fighting with Ram midway because he would not let me have the desired breaks ( although it was bc i was stopping too frequently for more photos 🙂
Loved the moments spent resting by the canalside, watching life go past, as if in slow motion. Moments we all have experienced and forget so quickly. The pleasure in sharing the same cup of coffee and hot chocolate with friends, of stealing bites of a sole sausage roll and taking innumerable useless photographs.
The rest of the ride into S town was a breeze with ram being ‘mobbed’ by a group of chinese tourists for photographs who demanded that he should pose on his bike and not just stand with them 🙂 Although he denies it, i think he was pretty chuffed at the whole experience….
Prashant did try and go upto the chinese tour bus in an attempt to get noticed and have his star shots taken too, but for some reason or another it didnt work out. We managed to cheer him up with a solo shot in front of the Shakespeare museum 🙂 now proudly his facebook profile picture
Stopped for breakfast at this riverside cafe The Encore. It just seemed so perfect and quintessentially english! Soon, all that vanished because it had items on the breakfast menu like florentines and egg benedict. No full english breakfast with hash browns and sausages, that is blasphemy if you ask me!!!! That was a total no no. It was then no surprise that the restaurant was the haunt of the pretty Stratford upon Avon ladies in summery white dresses and gladiator sandals with perfect blond hair and equally perfect kids to match . However, due to hunger pangs, even the guys agreed to cross the road to the sausage rolls and egg bacon bar and feast their tummies rather than their eyes 🙂
But of course, being the shameless cyclists we are, we jsut had to take a small peek in the washroom….the above picture is of the Wine cellar en route to the wash room…aesthetically decorated place. Would love to come here in the flowery summery dress routine ( ahem/amen to the pretty and blond and delicate stuff )
Anyway, the decor inside was admirable. The doors of the washrooms were really interesting; in the design of old books, really impressed ( will pardon the egg benedict or some saint’s name. Imagine calling something Krishna chicken or Narayana egg roast 😉
On the other hand, guilt ridden for having left Subhash behind and that too on Father’s day, Rashmi tried to get something for him and settled on cheescakes instead ( now i am not to be fooled into thinking that she wanted to cycle with cheesecakes packed inside her backpack!!!)
Well, the truth surfaced soon and so the cheesecakes disappeared (un)grudgingly . We continued peeking into the shops at all the nice nice nice things inside…..
only to realise that the boys were keeping themselves busy peeking at all the nice nice nice things outside ….hmmmph fake tans!!! Need i say more- the grin on my man’s face says it all :)))
the cheesecake disappeared suddenly and we set off;
Another ride done, another wish fulfilled, another dream dreamt……45 miles clocked and one step closer to fulfilling someone else’s dream.