Long weekend was something of which I understood the importance after coming to London. People start making plans about those weekends right at the beginning of the year. I thought why such a deal about it. But, since I was used to the Indian system where we have a habit of having so many bank holidays on countless occasions and those corresponding to the weekend was quite a probability. So, I thought that people are just making a fuss about it. Here, in London it’s so different. First of all, there aren’t many occasions on which you might get an off from work or colleges. Secondly, even if it does, it’s either raining or there’s simply a bad weather day. These are the things which you come to know after living for some considerable time in here, because as they say the weather in London is so unpredictable that it might change thrice (as in it may rain, or get windy or it might just be an another clear sunny phase of a day) in a single day!
Well, there’s an instance every year during Easter when there is an extended weekend from Friday to Monday. In UK, you never run out of the places you can visit. It is the 8th biggest tourist destinations in the world. London itself experiences the largest number of visitors annually in the UK. There are numerous destinations around London which I have lately discovered and do want to visit them before I return back to India.
One such location which I recently explored was the Isle of Wight. It’s the largest island of England and situated in the English Channel to the far south of the country. Distance to France is hardly 60 to 65 miles from here. It’s indeed such a beautiful island and I was simply mesmerized by the breath taking blue water and the large stretches of Greenland across the island. Since it is an island you need to get across the sea in a ferry. Ferry is nothing but a huge ship vessel which carries vehicles and passengers across a distance in water. Our ferry had three levels for parking and two floors for passengers; which had a restaurant and a deck. Standing on the deck having coffee, and sailing across the blue English Channel, indeed made me feel as if I were in a movie. The beginning of the journey was so beautiful that the levels of expectations about the island before reaching there had naturally grown up.
But, it was totally worth it. It was far better than the expectations when I got down the island. This island is also famous for Dinosaurs! As in this was the place where a lot of dinosaur fossils were found and therefore, the island gets its nickname as the dinosaur island! It is one of the important places in Europe where dinosaur fossils were found. There are many dinosaur themed parks and a museum where they have kept the fossils and footprints which were found on the rocks in some parts of the island. However, that’s not it; the island is famous for its thatched roof houses, hovercrafts, different colored sand beaches and much more.
If you come to the island I would say you should take at least a two to three day break so that you can explore it to the fullest. There are excellent accommodation facilities on the island especially in the villages such as Niton, Rookley, Godshill or near to the beaches such as Sandown or the Shanklin. Here you can even book cottages which are quite well catered and at quite a reasonable price. If you go in a group of 4-5 people booking a cottage is a good idea. There are supermarkets on the island so getting stuff is easy. I would suggest an outdoor barbecue right by some lake where you have fishing facilities as well (of course for those who are fishing enthusiasts). There are some good shacks on the beach where you get a variety of sea food and it feels great by the night.
One day should be spent on the nice beaches here which are clean first of all and I don’t know about summers but it wasn’t particularly crowded so in a way it is peaceful out there. There are sand beaches near Sandown which are particularly fun and you have all the facilities nearby so it’s a beach where you can spend most of the time. You could then go to Needles Park which is particularly on the opposite side of the island but here there’s a chairlift which gives you a ride down to the beach from the cliff top and you get a spectacular view of the needles point and the sea ahead. The beach down here is full of pebbles and you can spend most of the time especially afternoons. There are speed boats and slow boat rides but I won’t say there are worth. There are lots of options you could explore on the island. You get nice souvenirs in the Needles Park here and hours could be spent in the market. But, again yeah one more thing if you don’t have your own car, getting across places could get a bit difficult though there are buses which ply throughout the island.
One more thing here which needs a particular mention here is the Godshill village and the model Godshill village right in the middle of the village. Yes that’s right! There’s a model of the actual village which has been scaled and detailed very minutely and accurately. They have made the whole replica of the village and some parts of the island in the form of a small model. This is sure fun and one can really admire the work of art which has been done here.
The final stop was the St.Catherine’s Lighthouse which is situated near the foothills of Niton village. It’s one of the oldest and important lighthouses in Britain. The first lighthouse which was built dates back to the year 1323 which is almost 700 years old.
Of course there have been many reconstructions later on and the latest one dates back to the early 20th century. The optic of the lighthouse which is currently working was established in the year 1905 approximately and is still active. The area near to it has many rabbits and red squirrels which are quite rare and are found on this island. The lighthouse overlooks a house near its premises where the founder of Radio waves Marconi stayed once.
Well that’s all we could explore throughout the island in a trip of three days. Half of one day was wasted because of heavy rains but then again we must know that it may rain anytime in UK and we can’t complain. It is the hard truth with which people live here!
The journey had to end and it did. You wish that you could have some more time you could have done this you could have done that…But, it’s life after all and it must go on. It is just one of the small phases of life where you wish the time would never end. But, then life is a collection of such small phases and which stay in our mind forever and we call them memories.