Monday, November 30, 2015

CycloMonkey’s Maiden European Adventure

[Guest blogger: Steven McQuade]
I’ll be the first to admit that I was a bit skeptical when my good cycling buddy Todd brought CycloMonkey on one of our commutes into Santa Clara. However after a few rides and some good humored banter amongst the lads I decided to embrace our furry friend. After hearing of his adventures in southern California and Alaska I decided it was time for him to experience some European culture. The timing was right as it coincided very nicely with a business trip I had planned that encompassed Dublin, Ireland, Malaga, Spain, London, England and my home town of Hamilton, Scotland.
First stop on this mini tour for our long tailed friend was Dublin. Dublin is renowned for its Irish hospitality “the craic” especially at the Temple Bar and the Guinness Brewery however one thing that I wasn’t aware of until recently is that Dublin is actually twinned with our very own San Jose.

Unfortunately CycloMonkey and I never got the chance to experience the craic as we flew in for a 10 a.m. meeting then flew out to Malaga at 4 p.m.
Malaga seemed like a strange place to me to have a sales office as I was more aware of Malaga as a holiday resort for the Brits. I wasn’t complaining as CycloMonkey and I were looking forward to seeing the sun and the beach after being in a cold, wet Dublin.
At this point CycloMonkey was having withdrawal symptoms from the lack of cycling on this trip. As such I had to put him to bed for the night whilst I went for dinner on the rooftop of the AC Hotel Malaga Palacio – sorry no monkeys allowed.
The next day we had the flight to the UK, specifically London where I would have a couple of days to treat CycloMonkey to the pomp and ceremony of Great Britain, perhaps he may even get the chance to meet one of the royal family.
After the trek from London’s Stansted airport into central London I did take CycloMonkey to see the Queen at Buckingham Palace. I had called ahead to make an appointment with Her Majesty but unfortunately she was out the country on State business. Unfortunately, CycloMonkey had to make do with the outside of Buckingham Palace, as you can see he was overwhelmed by the experience.

Finally it was time to head home to Hamilton, Scotland. I was excited to show CycloMonkey some of my old stomping grounds and treat him to some home comforts such as Irn Bru (soda made from iron girders!).
Missing being on the bike myself, I decided it was time for us to hit the road. Five miles in to the ride and we hit Hamilton Mausoleum, the burial site of the Duke of Hamilton. The Mausoleum has one of the longest lasting echoes of any man-made structure in the world and is the largest private mausoleum in Britain. The chapel and crypt was built for the 10th Duke of Hamilton in the mid 19th century.
Leaving the Mausoleum we continue on into Strathclyde Park, a country park located in Lanarkshire, Scotland that covers some 4 km² and is centered on the artificial Strathclyde Loch. It forms what used to be known as the low parks of the now demolished Hamilton Palace and still includes buildings associated with the palace.

The remains of Bothwellhaugh Roman Fort and a Roman bath house can be seen in the park, where the South Calder Water flows into the loch. There is an arched Roman bridge across the South Calder nearby and the site of the Battle of Bothwell Bridge (1679) is to the north west of the park.
More recently Strathclyde Park hosted the triathlon and rowing events of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
After circumnavigating the loch it was time to head back home for some Scottish breakfast fare to prepare for the flight back to The Bay where I would return CycloMonkey to Todd to allow him to prepare for his next adventure.

It was a pleasure travelling with my new found companion and I look forward to our next trip together.

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