Morning chorus of gladsome birds
Fresh new green of leaves on the trees
Sunlight shining through yellow tulips
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After a cold, rainy week, the weather cleared to give us a glorious sunny weekend. Mr. M being out of town, my sister invited me to Sunday breakfast in Madison, with the added enticement of a yarn store visit. She drove her car, and I rode my bike.
On the road at 8 am, the air is cool and fresh, about 50º. I am lucky to have a tailwind for most of the ride (woo hoo!).
Trees are covered with baby leaves (very exciting after months of bare branches), and the air is full of birdsong.
The road to Madison is lined with picturesque barns, whose praises I have already hymned in a previous bike-ride-and-breakfast post, so I limit myself to shots of these two favourites:
While climbing a short grade, I see a "host of golden daffodils" in a field to my right...
...and snap them as best I can from the saddle. (Look for the yellow streak in the photo - they were much more impressive in real life.) I like the thought of someone planting daffodils in an empty field, and leaving them there to multiply for years to come.
After about 20 miles I stop to peel off my arm warmers (and show off a new bracelet).
Thanks to the tailwind, I reach Madison in decent time. My route takes me down East Washington Avenue, past some charming houses:
(Arched doorways and windows are so very appealing, aren't they?)
Madison is very friendly to cyclists, and provides large, well-marked bike lanes which make city riding a positive pleasure. Despite all the traffic, there's plenty of elbow room for riders:
|"Yield to Bikes". Love it!|
The Capitol building, seen above, is now dominating my view. I'm looking forward to getting some good photos there.
I cross the Washington Avenue Bridge, with its appealing lanterns reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School of architecture:
A mile or so farther, up a short grade, and the very handsome Capitol building is before me. Time to dismount and take some proper photos:
(But what are the splendours of granite and noble architecture, compared with fresh-blossoming leaves?)
"Where are we?" she asks sleepily.
"Here," I reply, and hold her up to see the view:
She blinks a few times, then says, "What else did I miss?"
"Oh, pretty much the usual - barns, fields, trees, birds, blue sky. Nothing you haven't seen before."
"Well, I'm glad I woke up in time for this. What is it?"
"It's the Capitol Building, built between 1906 and 1917. It's even more beautiful inside, but I'm afraid we haven't got time for a tour. We have a breakfast appointment, you know."
We ride slowly down the sidewalk, pausing for photos here and there. The Capitol looks good from every angle:
Its famous tulip beds, though still green on the North corner, are blooming at the West and South sides:
Looking down State Street towards UW Madison:
Time is passing, and I have a feeling I'm late for breakfast. Just one more photo, of Forward - a replica of the original sculpted by Jean Pond Minor in 1893 for the World's Columbian Exposition (click here to read this statue's fascinating history):
Back on the bike, we navigate the maze of one-way streets surrounding the Capitol, and make our way down to Lake Monona and the Capital City Bike Trail.
I slow to take this photo...
...and an older man on a mountain bike passes me, pedalling furiously away in a low gear. I put the camera away and pick up speed again. He glances repeatedly over his shoulder and pedals ever faster. I could pass him, but decide to let him stay in front as he obviously wants to be there. :)
Another mile or two, and I turn onto Lakeside St., where I see, not one, but TWO purple houses. The first is a lovely blue-violet shade trimmed with green (perfectly matching Iris's colour scheme), but I pass it too quickly to get a photo.
The second is a rich lilac:
|I want a house this colour!|
The owners are obviously fond of this shade - even the fence is lavender.
Over some railroad tracks (with a lovely view of the Capitol)...
...and I have arrived at the Lakeside St. Coffee House. My sister is standing outside waiting for me (I'm 12 minutes late). People are sitting at tables on the lawn, enjoying the sunshine. A small terrace at the back of the building gives a lovely view of Monona Bay. We order our breakfast and take the only available table in a corner of the dining room, just opposite the door to the yarn shop.
Lakeside St. Coffee House is large, airy and light, with the high ceilings and wooden floors of a more gracious age. On the walls right now is an exhibition of photography and fiber art, each amazing photograph being mirrored in an even more amazing "thread painting" (which makes me think of Claire at Sweet Birdy Love).
We are sitting just below these:
|Thread painting on the left, photograph on the right|
The thread paintings have amazing texture. (As far as I can tell, they were done by sewing machine.)
Here's a handsome iguana for Snowcatcher (who is very fond of lizards):
Detail of the threadwork:
Tallulah, meanwhile, is becoming interested in my breakfast. She takes a passing sniff at the quiche...
...then heads for the salad. (She says she's watching her weight.)
Breakfast over, we have 45 minutes to pass before the yarn shop opens. Tallulah asks for a closer look at this photograph:
"Remind me never to go to the Galapagos," she remarks. "I might get stepped on."
A table opens up on the terrace, and we snag it. What bliss to sit in the sun, to look at trees and a lake and a pleasing skyline, with the thought of yarn to come.
A robin sits in the tree above us, looking as relaxed and sleepy as we feel:
Finally, noon has arrived. We leave the terrace and hover by the door of the yarn shop (feeling like Adam and Eve at the Gate of Paradise). An angel arrives, complete with keys, and invites us in.
Lakeside Fibers, like its sister coffee house, is large and light and full of loveliness.
Wonderful yarn, beautiful samples:
A fabulous ceiling:
Tallulah likes this little sweater:
I like the reading chairs at the back, with a tempting selection of knitting books on the table (as with most yarn stores, crochet is conspicuous by its absence):
The coffee house can just be glimpsed through the doorway at the left.
Tallulah has fallen in love with this Tahki Cotton Classic...
...but with admirable self-control we decide NOT to get one of every colour. (In fact I buy nothing, remembering the full baskets of yarn at home - but my sister holds up the honour of the family by selecting some yarn for her stash.)
Full of fresh air, breakfast, and yarn, we walk down the street to my sister's car, pausing to admire the view across the lake:
Iris is strapped to the bike rack, and I snap a quick photo of the new-leafed, tree-lined street:
Then it's time to head back across the lake and home.
The streets and trails of Madison are full of cyclists on this beautiful day, and I am happy to have been one of them.
A very good ride (with breakfast and yarn store). Thanks to my sis for inviting me, and for giving me a ride home. :)
Miles this year: 316.1
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