Isle of Man – first impressions

Continuing my 1-year-later blogging, this week I’ll be talking about Isle of Man, a lovely island that gets an undeservedly bad rap. A year ago today, I hopped on a flight to Liverpool’s John Lennon airport (with a yellow submarine outside) and caught a Steam-Packet boat, the Viking, for the 3-hour journey to Man.

The island has a curious status: it’s neither part of Great Britain nor the United Kingdom or the EU, but it is part of the British Isles. Isle of Man is infamous for attracting tax evaders and petrol heads – and I’ll cover that later this week. First, however, I want to talk about other things: Man’s beautiful nature, great hiking, nice people and interesting history; Viking history even, always dear to a Norwegian heart. This was once called the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. Tynwald, the Manx Parliament, dates back to the Viking era and is among the oldest in the world.

Douglas – capital of Isle of Man

The Viking docked in Douglas harbour about ten o’clock in the evening. The long parade along the bay was all lit up and pretty. In the hills above town loomed what appeared to be castles, illuminated slightly, just enough to look a bit spooky. This looked promising, indeed. Next morning, I noticed they weren’t castles, just large houses; nothing spooky about them. Apart from that slight disappointment, Douglas was pleasant. And flowery.

With the long ocean parade and elegant Victorian buildings, it reminded me of Llandudno.

Public transport is excellent and comes in many forms: busses, electric trains and horse drawn trams.

I’m not big on horse drawn carriages as I’m almost certain the horse would much rather be elsewhere. However, several locals assured me the trammers worked max 2 hours per day, were treated well and sent off to a nice horsey rest home when they retired.

On the way out of town one day, the bus drove past the Home of Rest for Old Horses. It looked nice, roomy and green and I was sorry I didn’t have time to visit. Apparently there’s also a Manx cat at the rest home and I didn’t see any of those either. Plenty of sea gulls, though. But although I appreciate their photogenic qualities, I’m a bit apprehensive around sea gulls. They look as though they’re about to stab me in the head with their sharp beaks.


Isle of Man seagulls

More Isle of Man tomorrow, when we head for the hills to Mount Snaefell and the Great Laxey Wheel

21 Responses to “Isle of Man – first impressions”

  1. i always think that places seem much better when you know the history about them. sounds like isle of man has a pretty interesting one. had no idea about the vikings. just knew about the motorbikes!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 June 2011 1105 #

      @Jamie – Yep, heaps of Viking history on Man. More about that in a later post.

  2. robin 14 June 2011 1143 #

    I know what you mean about horse drawn carriages – nice that they have a retirement home :)

  3. The Travel Chica 14 June 2011 1345 #

    Gotta love a place that has a home of rest for old horses. I look forward to more stories about the Isle of Man.

  4. inka 14 June 2011 1448 #

    The Isle of Man always interested me. Now I can learn a bit about it.

  5. I’ve been curious about the Isle of Man and am looking forward to reading more about your experience.

  6. jade 15 June 2011 0518 #

    The way the buildings are all lined up remind me of Bath in England. What great first impressions, the flowers are gorgeous.

  7. The Dropout 15 June 2011 0729 #

    Wow, I’ve always wanted to go to the mysterious Isle of Man.
    I think the horse retirement home (with Manx cat) would be a great spot to visit. What a shame you missed it.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 15 June 2011 1732 #

      @Dropout – Yes, I know. I think that horsey resthome may in itself be a reason to go back.

  8. Laurel 15 June 2011 1831 #

    I don’t know much about the Isle of Man so interesting to learn more about its history.

  9. Muza-chan 16 June 2011 1432 #

    Great colors, I love hydrangea :)

  10. Leigh 16 June 2011 1644 #

    I have been reading several positive posts about the Isle of Man lately. It looks like a very pleasant place. You say it reminds you of Llandudno – where in the world is that?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 16 June 2011 1700 #

      @Leigh – Llandudno is in northern Wales. It used to be a fashionable resort in Victorian times, with a long promenade and a long pier. A nice little seaside town, I think (but then I adore Wales).

  11. Turkey's For Life 16 June 2011 1709 #

    I’ve been to the Isle of Man a few times but only to Douglas and would love to see more of the island as I’m not a fan of Douglas. Looking forward to your other posts so we can see what else is on offer.
    Julia

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 16 June 2011 1736 #

      @Julia – Douglas is probably not the most exciting part of the island, I agree.

  12. wandering educators 16 June 2011 1747 #

    it’s so beautiful and colorful! wow!!

  13. Sabrina 16 June 2011 1817 #

    Love the flower pics. These two pics totally jumped out at me. I guess I’m really starting to miss the color of flowers and grass here in West Texas :)

  14. Michael Figueiredo 16 June 2011 2106 #

    The Isle of Man looks great to me. Those are the pinkest hydrangeas I’ve ever seen too!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 16 June 2011 2235 #

      Yes, Isle of Man is very flowery. Very British like that :)

  15. Sensibletraveler 17 June 2011 0438 #

    I agree–I try to avoid any horse-powered transportation. I don’t see the romance or charm in any transportation involving poop bags. However, the Isle does look great!

  16. alex harris 22 June 2011 0929 #

    I moved to live family from the UK to the island in Oct 2009 and have been visiting the island since 2003. I have to say its THE most lovliest place to live, pretty much 0% crime, Amazing scenary, gorgeous beaches, surfing, mountain walking, huge social media/tech community, lots of creatives, amazing live music scene (much better than uk and im a uk singer/songwriter myself), castles, pace of life has basicaly no real “rat” race as such, really clean air, amazing local organic produce, everyones really friendly and the pubs/bars are awesome.Also abit of a celeb spot with madonna, johnny depp, rene zellwegger, ewan mcgregor and elton john all visiting here for eg. Ive decided im here for life. Great place to live for quality of life- its shown to me that you can live your life and be far more productive without living on edge and being go go go…the place allows you to reflect and look inside yourself to see what is REALLY important in life. People over money, love over greed.Its fantastic. Come visit. But if you do…please make sure you stay at least 2-3 weeks and see the whole island and get a feel for how we live here. Yessir!

    Alex
    Peel
    Isle Of Man

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