Monday, 6 August 2007

A short break in the Isle of Wight

So, I have finally returned home from a fantastic break in the Isle of Wight. I'm a little browner, a little heavier and definitely more relaxed.

The holiday started off at home, early on Saturday morning - after loading the car, I programmed the Sat-Nav with my destination, drove over to my friends house and loaded his luggage into the back of my car then drove away.....Hurrah! The holiday had begun!!

The first leg of the trip was the pleasant journey to Southampton (the port that the Titanic made its fateful voyage from) to catch the ferry across the Solent. As usual, I arrived early and had enough time to grab a quick coffee before boarding.

My Honda CRV was almost as excited as I was as I drove up the ramp onto the ferry. Soon we set sail and the adventure began.

The journey across the Solent was very relaxing (and is also one of the most expensive stretches of river to cross in the world - it cost me £129.00 for a 1hr each way return journey, which equates to approx $258).

As the ferry approached the harbour at East Cowes in the Isle of Wight, there were more and more boats of varying sizes sprawled across the horizon.

The rediculously expensive ferry journey was soon over and we made our way to the cottage. I had been warned that part of the medina that we were staying in was in the process of being renovated - and to my horror, as we drove into the gravel lane and towards the cottage, there were cranes and wire fences everywhere - OH MY GOODNESS! I HAVE A RELAXING HOLIDAY ON A BLOODY BUILDING SITE. My heart was pounding - this wasn't my idea of a relaxing break! Luckily, as we drove further, it became clear that the cottgae was much further on, past the building work.

I found the cottage and pulled up outside. Climbed out of the car, up the pathway and opened the door. WOW! The cottage was stunning - the pictures shown on the agent website did not pay justice to how quaint the cottage was. No sooner had I opended the door, the unloading began. Firstly, dumping everything I had into my bedroom. I sneakily laid claim to the master bedroom with the double bed and sea view, leaving my friend with the twin room.

Any ordinary "unattached" male would probably have 2 shirts, a pair of shorts, a trousers, 3 or 4 pairs of socks and a couple of pairs of boxer shorts to lastthe 8 days - in my case there were 20 shirts, 4 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of trousers, 6 t-shirts, 4 sweatshirts, 2 jackets, 4 pairs of shoes, 9 pairs of socks, 10 pairs of boxer shorts and 3 ties. Well, I just needed to make sure that I had a choice of what to wear each day (just on the off chance that it could be sunny/cloudy/wet/dry/hot/cold/raining/snowing/windy/foggy.........) - these things are important, you never know who I might meet whilst I'm here???? Below is a photo of the double wardrobe in my room, once my unpacking had been completed. I could just about fit everything in... I'm still a bit worried that I may have left a shirt or two at home....ooops!

Before unpacking:

After unpacking:

After unpacking and getting our things together, we decided to take a stroll upto a local riverside Inn (The Folly Inn). The good news is that it is no more than a 10 minute stroll over the medina, through a couple of fields to get there.

After a few beers and a bite to eat, we made our way back to the cottage. I used this as an opportunity to get my cmaera out and take a few snaps as the sun set.

When we returned to the cottage, we were amazed to see many ducks and swans gathering outside our cottage to sleep for the night. Each of them had their own personality and characteristics. It was quite amusing to watch them.

So, the first day was over. Excited about the next few days of relaxation, sun, sea and sand.

The next morning I woke with the sun beaming through the window and lots of noise going on outside. I dragged myself out of bed and wandered to the window to see what the commotion was outside. Oooh! A yoga session right outside my window - how unusual is that???

The ducks and swans that slept on the pathway outside our cottage overnight, were waking up and stretching their muscles, ready for a day of swimming and eating.

It was such a beautiful sight... it made me feel like going for an early morning swim or jog myself. Unsurprisingly, this thought soon passed. I got dressed and made my way down stairs for some cereals, toast and a cup of tea before going on my first day of exploring the island.

By this time, the weather forecast for the week had changed from heavy rain to perfect sunshine - great timing (somebody was clearly looking down on me).

The next few days took us to some of the most breathtaking places. Including the Needles. The Needles are an area of cliffs that, after being formed about 85 million years ago, have been corroded away to leave 3 distinct stacks. I strongly recommend that, if you do visit the needles, you experience it from:

a) The beach

b) From a boat


c) From above

To see it from above. there is an amazing walk from Freshwater Bay. The walk starts with a gentle climb up a hill towards Tennyson's memorial.

Followed by a stunning stroll along the cliff edge towards the needles

Finishing at the battlement at the top of the Needles.

One of the things that amazed me about the Isle of Wight, was how many amazing beaches and bays there were. Everywhere we drove we found the most stunning places.

...and of course, you can't have an English promonade without the obligatory tacky souvenir stall.

On a couple of occasions, we decided to stay inland and visit some of the historical sites. First of all was 'Osbourne House' - famous for being the family home of Queen Victoria, Britain's longest serving monarch.

In the house itself, there is a policy of no photographs, but below is a small selection of the many impressive rooms (library pictures from the National Heritage):

"The Queen's Bedroom"

"The Durbar Room"

"The Table Deckers Room"

"The Dining Room"

After enjoying a couple of hours walking around the House admiring the arcitecture and decor, we made our way outside to enjoy the weather and the splendor of the quintesentially English gardens.

The afternoon was finished off with an delicious cream tea (Earl Grey Tea and Scones with Stawberry Jam and Fresh Cream).

One afternoon we decided to visit the Island's castle. Carisbrook Castle, who's origins date back to the Saxon times of the 8th Century, took me back to my childhood - remembering the days when I used to dream of being a Knight at King Arthur's Round Table.

Anywayz, as explained in my earlier post, the week that I visited the Isle of Wight was "Cowes Week". The week of the World Yacht racing extravoganza. On several of the days we popped down to the harbour to watch the racing and soak up the atmosphere (as well as a few gallons of alcohol).

The yacht racing began around 10.30 each morning. Each race was stared by the firing of a canon at the harbour edge.

The action then began ... well kind of ... there were so many yachts in the harbour, I was unable to tell who was in which race and which way they were going. I suppose that is why I was stood on dry land being a spectator and not in a yacht.

The end of the Cowes Week competition was celebrated with a traditional fun day with a firework display in the evening. The harbour was heaving with spectators of all ages. All enjoying the sun, the racing, the music, the food & drink and the most amazing atmosphere.

It was time for everybody to enjoy the sunset over the horizon...

...before the fireworks start...

An early rise the next morning to face the daunting task of packing and then one more visit to Cowes harbour to savour the last few minutes of relaxation before jumping on the ferry for the journey home. This was certainly a holiday to remember - Phew! No broken bones (after breaking my ankle on holiday in 2005 and shattering my shoulder in 2006)!!!

All that is left for me to do now, is start counting down the days until my next holiday in 3 weeks time :))))


Muse said...

beautiful scenery! OMG you are totally packing like a woman We bring so many clothes because we are always preparing for every kind of weather scenario

- envious

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures ! Oh, I envy you... I need holidays and I want more traveling !

I miss the sea - probably the thing I miss the most since I'm in Canada.

Enjoy your holidays and come back with lots of pics ! :$

Practically Dutch said...

Wow. That last picture with the needles vaguely in view makes me miss my childhood (ok, so im really still a child but i mean when i was really small) as i think i told you i used to go on my holidays there at least once a year, my great nan still lives there but being all the way in holland its a little bit more tricky to go. I miss walking over the downes, taking a sky lift to the needles and visiting alan bay. Its sad that when a part of your life passes it never returns in that same way?

NeoAuteur said...

Enjoy your vacation and let us know more about it later.

Trenting said...

Wow.. I'm really jealous it looks so beautiful and serene..
Next time I'm coming with..

Getty72 said...

Hey Muse :) The scenery is great here (and quite flat - which is good news for me at the moment, as there are less places for me to fall down). My clothing habits for holidays have been a laughing point with my friends for years - I tend to take everything except the kitchen sink wherever I go (even if it is just for a weekend!) - and that is only because there isn't enough room in the boot of my car to fit the sink in.....

Zhu, you are so true about the sea. I have to get my sea 'fix' as often as I can - I would probably go mad if I had to go too long without the sights, smells and sounds of the seaside.

Getty72 said...

Rachel, the Needles were amazing... I took the chairlift down to the beach and joined one of the boat trips that took us close to the lighthouse. It was great. I also had a round of crazy golf...I won't tell you how bad I Then I bumped into one of my Japanese colleagues from work - There's no escaping!!!!

neoauteur, thanks for your kind comment. I will add some more info during the next day or so :)

Trenting, I'll be sure to make some room in my suitcase for you!!

Daszzle said...

Absolutely beautiful! I'm so glad that you're vacation is going so nicely Graham. I must say that as an American your pictures make me envious of your beautiful landscape. I miss my time abroad.

Getty72 said...

Daszzle :)
Travel is such an amazing medicine - I haven't felt this mellow since last autumn ('fall' in the US). I just wish I could bottle this feeling for when I am tired and stressed at work/home.

Marjie said...

hey graham...i'm glad to read about your wonderful vacation. it sounds amazing. BTW, as a fellow CRV owner, I got a kick out of road trippin' myself. I'm glad you're having a wonderful time!enjoy the rest of your holiday, and be safe! :)

Paper Fan Club said...

Geez, Graham... it looks like you were driving the space shuttle!! Leave it to a man to take photos of the GPS system. :) Very much enjoyed your pics and glad to hear your vacation is going swimmingly.

Alice said...

Beautiful scenery!!!!! Yes I see you packed for all type of occassion, which is good for pre-planning cos you never never know who you will meet in your travels.
Enjoy yourself and love your photography.

Mousie/Paisible said...

why on hell do you need so many clothes ??????
beautiful pictures
never been to the isle of wight

Getty72 said...

Marjie, thanks for your comment :) - You're so correct, the CRV is great for road trips!!

Paper Fan Club, LOL! Yep, I guess I am a typical male, taking pics of my car..LOL!

Alice, thank you so much for your kind words - The weather was so good, I only ended up wearing about one third of the shirts - still, I guess it means I have less washing and ironing to do now that I have returned home.

Mousie...what do you expect? A single man has to look his best at all times... you never know who is around the corner ... LOL! ... probably a bus to run me over!!!

Muse said...

excellent fireworks shots! those vacation spots are so very english with the queen, the gardens, the tea and scones and And what souveniers have we picked up? hmmm?

Getty72 said...

Hey Muse (nice new profile pic, by the way)!!!

One of my biggest downfalls is that I don't tend to pick up any souveniers when I am on my trips (apart from my last Girlfriend, and we split up in January) - I kinda regret it sometimes that I only have photos from my trips to look back on. Perhaps that's one thing I'll start doing different in future.

The fireworks were amazing, although slightly tarnished by the realisation that I was going home the next day. I will certainly return to Cowes for Cowes Week again in future years, the whole week was magical.

Muse said...

I should try and be more creative with souveniers. Like a picked flower and press/frame it. Or seashells that you put in a jar in the bathroom as decoration. But alas i'm stick with a toothpick holder from louisiana and such tacky items.

Tracy said...

Fantastic photos! Thanks for the virtual vacation :) How did you catch the shot of the seagull midair and the fireworks? Shots like this never turn out well for me! Great job.

You're so organized with your unpacking. I tend to live out of the suitcase. LOL.

The tea and cookies and such look so nice. I've never been to a real tea party before.

I also liked the photo of the car. For a few seconds I was confused b/c I forgot you have the steering wheel on the other side :)

Getty72 said...

Hey Muse, a toothpick holder from Louisiana...Mmmm sounds!! Perhapps that what we should do... try and find the most tackiest souvenier possible. I'll do that on my next holiday, and include it in my sfter-hols post!!!

Hiya Tracy, I'll tell ya a little secret about how I managed to get a reasonably good photo of a seagull - I took about fifty photos, and the two in my post were pretty much the only two that came out in focus...LOL! I was on top of a cliff, standing very near the edge, so the Seagulls were flying past fairly close and level with me... even though they were making it easy for me, I still messed most of the photos up!!!

Marjie said...

Hey Graham, I swear you have more pictures in here now than the last time I visited you. Those look really breath-taking. I'm glad that you had a wonderful time with your vacation.

BTW...I tagged you in my most recent post in my blog. Please check it out. You may find it interesting :)!

Tata for now mate! (Hah, that was my take on the Brit lingo!)

NeoAuteur said...

What a spectacular firework show! I love it. Thanks for sharing.

The Pisces Man said...

OMG - you make me wanna travel right now, go where you go and other places too.. Perhaps I should bring our little Ikhwan for a ride (ie travelling) one day...

Btw, I've created a TAG, and you've been selected. Please read Simpsonised... in my blog Later mate!

Sindhu said...

Nice and wonderful pictures! Thanks for the virtual tour. The post really took me over to the Isle.

Johnskibeat said...

I love your style of writing. Absolutely zero pretention. I'm a fellow Englishman and occasionally get a holiday abroad. One such occasion was to Portugal this year which I blogged. It should be somewhere in my June blog archive.
Go take a look see.
Mind if we swap links, I'd love to know when you're next back from holiday!

Deadpoolite said...

I have to be honest with you here. Half way through your post I stopped reading the comments in the post(they werent boring or anything dont kill yourself just yet...yep black humour is "in the house" , lol) and stared with awe at the pictures.Really beautiful pics you posted and I thorougly enjoyed the energy emanating from them.

Such a diversity of content as well, yep you are officially too cool for words from a visual point of view:)


Getty72 said...

Marjie, a jolly good evening to you! Thanks for the tag :) I'll definitely take a look! Tata for now mate! LOL!!!

Neoautuer, thanks for the kind comment :)

Getty72 said...

The pisces man, I hope Ikhwan is well!! A good trip would be good for you all, I'm sure. Thank you for the tag too :)))

Sindhu, thanks for your kind comments

Getty72 said...

Johnskibeat, I had a read of your post about your holliday in Portugal - it sounded great. Thanks for your comments about trip too!

DP, welcome back! Good to hear from you... I hope I didn't bore you too much LOL! glad you liked the photos!!!

Elle Bright said...

Looks like you had a great time!

I need a holiday, I haven't been for 4yrs! lol

Your photographs are amazing by the way.

Elle X

Practically Dutch said...

Wow! Your photos are always so amazing! They bring back so many wonderful memories of my holidays in the isle of wight, my great grandma lives in freshwater and my aunti lives in ryde.. small world ha!

(ok, so ive just seen that i have actually already commented but im pretty sure the post has been updated right?!?!)

Getty72 said...

Elle, thanks for your comment. Make sure you grab yourself a holiday soon!

Rachel, your great Grandma is so lucky. Freshwater was probably the most amazing place I visited during the week. The pebble beach, the bay, the walk up to Tennyson's memorial - they were all amazing. It's the one place I will certainly visit each time I go there. You are so correct, what a small world :)

HRH Yao-Lin said...

You pack clothes like a girl! but you already know that he he.

I am , however, pleased that you enjoyed my island.


More Vacations said...

Isle of wight is a hidden holiday gem in the UK! I live there- it's so peaceful, and the beaches are amazing!



Dan said...

Moved from Northampton and how nice it is here and people I cannot stress how much there is to do here. There is loads and its all hidden most people dont even know its here even some of the islanders who have lived here all their lives.


David Lee said...

Wah what a nice scenary..
I am enjoying by see this.

Anonymous said...

My name is Jenny Horner and I am currently working on A-level ICT coursework. I am designing and creating a website about culinary traditions. I was wondering if it would be possible to use your image of ‘cream tea’ -

Many thanks’

Jenny Horner

Jenny Horner said...

My name is Jenny Horner and I am currently working on A-level ICT coursework. I am designing and creating a website about culinary traditions. I was wondering if it would be possible to use your image of ‘cream tea’ -

Many thanks’

Jenny Horner

Brisbane Hotels said...

This island is known for its outstanding natural beauty, its's also known for its worl-famous sailing based at the Cowes. Its holiday resort is already popular during the Victorian times. Its history is so rich.

Graham's Photobook....Through The Eyes Of A Dreamer

Please click on the link below to view or purchase my new book.