I am back soon as I promised. I have this so-called 'travel bug' in me, though I am not a frequent traveller. If I travel a lot, in the sense, leisure travel, this blog would have doubled up as a travel blog because I love putting down in words and pictures, the experience a new place gives me. So it is no wonder that somebody like me will always cherish the visit to the first place or a country abroad.
The very first foreign land on which I set my foot was many moons ago. The name of it is not San Fransisco, not London, not Sydney or Melbourne but Isle of Man which belongs to British group of Isles. This island looks like a drop from an aerial view and is perched in the Irish sea between UK and Ireland. It was hitherto unknown place until my husband had an assignment there for some months. My first-time-ever trip was arranged along with his colleague who was also travelling at that time. The journey and the route is still etched in my mind. From Mumbai International airport, my first international flight was in Lufthanza airlines. I kept on watching the route map that was flashed on the TV screens and I clearly remember that we flew over Istanbul of Turkey. Forget WiFi in flights, that was the time when cell phones were just getting common and so there was no way to communicate in flight or when I reached a particular airport. Wish I could land in the Frankfurt airport again to relive the experience of setting foot in the first airport abroad. To go to Isle of Man, the connecting flight was from Manchester airport. The aircraft was charter type and it flew low with some turbulence. As we were nearing the place, I used to peep from the window to have a glimpse of the land, but what I could get to see was the endless sea water with no trace of land anywhere near. As the plane lowered down, I still could not see the land and for a moment I thought 'are we going to sea-land or land on water?? Just when I thought our plane was going to descend in water only, I got the first glimpse of Ronaldsway airport. The airport itself is on the banks of the sea.
The above images borrowed from google....
The above top is the one I bought from a charity shop.
Yep, finally I am going to see a new land of which I had construed some images. It being December, I had a suitcase full of winter clothes to protect me from the frosty, biting cold. But I was totally unprepared for what I was going to experience. The moment I came out of the plane, I had to fight the strong gusts of winds which I had never experienced in my lifetime and which would have swept my feet away. I had to fight for my breath to brave those winds and extreme cold. My husband was given accommodation in an apart-hotel in Cherry Orchard group of hotels in Port Erin. For the first time in my life, I was seeing all empty roads with not a soul in the sight after coming from India. I was all alone in our room, scared and managing the jet lag. Another thing which scared me was the place became pitch dark after 4 o'clock in the evening and I could see the daylight after 8 o clock in the morning as it was winter and the days were much shorter. I thought how were people living in a place like this? Slowly I started liking the quietness, charm of the place. The accommodation we had was a 2BHK which was quite comfortable, bright and airy. It had a patio on which I could not step out and enjoy due to freezing cold.
I filled those short, winter days by taking strolls in the nearby streets, visiting those shops multiple times, some of them being charity shops. I found the discarded items in the charity shops more attractive and cheap than the ones in the normal shops. People who run those shops were friendly and talked about how they came from other places to settle there. The other major attraction was the supermarket 'Shoprite' where I regularly used to go to get food and other grocery items. After some days, I had the company of my husband's colleague's wife and we used to go to interior of the place by catching bus. As the population was sparse and the buses were much more comfortable, travelling by it was a luxurious experience. The island was very small and everywhere the sea was just a stone's throw away. Douglas, the capital of Isle of Man, was the hub of all the activities. There was a shopping street, casino, the one and only Indian restaurant (then) named 'Taj'. Weekends used to be fun filled with time spent in the casino and then going to the Indian restaurant. Peel was a place where we went to see the castle and enjoy the spectacular sunset.
Tynwald is the open Parliament of Isle of Man which is supposed to be the oldest parliamentary body in the world where lots of Governmental decisions are still made. Another major shopping area is in Ramsey where multitude of shops and markets are there. Another pass time during the weekends was visiting various glens and admiring the natural beauty and experiencing the sound of the water flowing in the glens. There is one giant wheel known as Laxey wheel which is a must visit. Cregneash is a remote village where there is a museum exhibiting lot of items and equipment used by early settlers showcasing the way of life. The Pebble beach is situated in Point of Ayre, which is at the northernmost tip of the island. In this beach, we can find a variety of pebbles instead of sand. Why so much pebbles are there is still a mystery. Port Erin is the southernmost tip of the island, and we could see another small island from its shore and it is known as 'Calf of Man'. I could get to see the mountains of Ireland arousing the curiosity of another country, though we did not visit there (Ireland... :( ). I used to take lots of strolls on the beaches, though I never ventured into the water as it would be ice cold. The whole island as a place is charming in its own way, and the one I would like to visit again. As the days passed by, the duration of the days got longer and the days became brighter. By the time we were about to leave, I totally fell in love with the place, never wanting to say goodbye to it. The small, sweet, quiet, windy, frosty island has found a permanent place in my heart!!! The mountains, beaches, roads, buses,shops, charity shops, casino, glens, the countryside charm.......I feel that I am again in Isle of Man now that I am writing about it. When will I see you again, my dear???
P.S. Next article is about my maternal aunt whom I never got to see more of her..