Shortly after getting back home I was on another flight. This time to the Isle of Wight as my step-grandmother passed away just before I arrived back in the UK. I was able to Skype with her from Melbourne which I am grateful for, technology is certainly a blessing at times. The funeral was held where she lived and I went down with my mum and sister.
This involved a train ride up to Edinburgh as our flight was cancelled by EasyJet. This meant instead of getting to Bristol on the morning (where we were getting the train to Southampton and then a ferry across) we had to wait all day for an evening flight. This was pretty damn annoying but a quick gin and tonic at the train station helped.
My sister lives up in Edinburgh with her boyfriend, meaning I have been up a couple of times to see her. Edinburgh is a gorgeous and very historical city not too far north of the Scotland/England border, and my mums place of birth. And would a trip to Edinburgh be complete without trying haggis?
This restaurant receives great reviews so we thought we would try it. It is right in the city centre and if you would like to try some local delicacies this is a great place to head.
If I remember rightly I had the beef haggis with heather honey and turnip puree. It was very good.
It was nice to stroll through the streets again, despite being a very short trip. But I had longer in the city recently after my recent trip to Berlin via Edinburgh Airport and have more pictures from that trip coming soon. The new The Fast and the Furious movie, Fast & Furious 9, is currently being filmed in the city. And I have some shots of the filming in an upcoming post!
Time to board…
And we finally made it to Bristol.
The next morning after a good breakfast we made the train ride to Southampton. The flight the previous night was only around 55 minutes so wasn’t bad at all. Southampton and Portsmouth are cities that are a short ferry ride from the island, however we had to fly into Bristol on those dates.
Southampton is a lovely city, however upon leaving the train station I couldn’t help to notice how bland and concrete the buildings were. I have always thought that about rail travel, despite being a great mode of transport for getting right into the city centre, the views from the windows are often some of the worst arriving into any city. The graffiti, barbed wire, rubbish… never gives a good first impression for a tourist.
But after a fast ferry (around 40 minutes) we arrived on the Island.
The Island is great. And bigger than you would think. It covers 150 sq miles and has the population of a small city, roughly 141,000. Recently the Isle of Wight was mentioned on Britain’s Got Talent as a reggae singer and resident of the island, Derek Sandy, performed on the show. His song ‘Welcome to the Isle of Wight’ received four yeses from the judges, a song my uncle wrote and produced with him!
Hovertravel is another travel option getting onto the island. There isn’t a commercial airport for tourists to use, so currently water is the only way. This hovercraft service is the worlds only commercial passenger hovercraft service and gets you to the mainland in only ten minutes.
You see the object in the water below? Nope, not the guy, behind to the right. That is one of a few forts that can be viewed from the coastline, built in the 1800’s due to the threat of invasion. You can actually book a trip there for a luxury retreat today, one of these trips can be viewed here, named No Man’s Fort. It is pretty amazing to think how these would have been built at sea, especially in choppy waters.
The weather down there was lovely. Which meant for a lovely send off to my gran. The funeral service was on the day we got there, but we landed with plenty of time to spare. As my gran was born in the north east, half the people at the funeral were in fact travelling from the same region of England as us. It was strange going south and hearing a church full of locals accents on the other side of the country. And it was lovely to see some people we haven’t seen in years.
The next few shots are from Appley, on the north of the island. I have fond memories as a kid walking down here past the cute little Appley Towers, overlooking the south coast of England.
Some very eagle-eyed readers will notice a tower on the English coastline in the shots below. This is the Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, a 560ft observation tower. I really like it and can be seen all the way from the Isle of Wight.
And speaking of cruise liners, this was one of the last places the Titanic was seen before it’s doomed journey. There is a photograph from the island of the liner, one of the last photos taken. It wasn’t the very last as the ship made its way to Ireland before the journey across the Atlantic.
I have always been lucky with the weather here. A few years back I went to the Isle of Wight Festival with my sister and some friends and the weather was perfect. It is one of the UK’s biggest festivals and attracts some very big bands and thousands of music fans. It is a great opportunity for many people to see the island for the first time and the beauty on offer.
Similar to the forts above, procedures were put in place on land to protect the Isle of Wight and the UK from invasions. We walked around some sites that haven’t been touched since the world wars, where huge guns and weaponry would have been fired during Nazi bombings. It was fascinating to see, and a reminder of how terrible and terrifying war must be to experience in person.
And before we knew it, we were back at the ferry terminal and sailing back to the mainland. It is always a beautiful trip to this part of the world, and even though this visit was in sad circumstances my gran had a beautiful send off and we had a lovely family reunion. There is something about just being next to the ocean that is very calming too, and this helped a lot for all of us.
We spotted a ship named ‘Blade Runner II’, pretty cool!
And that is it from my Isle of Wight trip. A fairly quick trip with plenty of miles covered, and we got to explore Bristol for a day before the evening flight back. Some posts from this trip, as well as Edinburgh and Berlin to come soon.
Thank you for reading, have you ever been to the Isle of Wight? Let me know. Pat, I know you have recently told me you have a friend on the island, I hope they share plenty of beautiful pictures with you! It is a fascinating island with beautiful landscapes and plenty of history.
I will see you all soon!
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