It must have been 4 years ago that I went to the holiday event in Utrecht to get some inspiration for a holiday. So many countries, regions, holiday organizers who send representatives to ‘sell’ their holiday destination. I remember a small counter for the Isle of Wight with a guy whose posture would fit better in a pub then behind a holiday counter. He ‘sold’ me this leaflet and I was intrigued. For several years Isle of Wight was on my list. Never on the top but it stayed on my list, as so many destination.
Looking back, especially remembering his posture, I should have known. There is no such thing as easy peasy pedalling.
The Isle of Wight is roughly diamond-shaped and covers an area of 380 km2. A lot of country side, farm land, small villages, impressive coastline with chalk cliffs, coast paths with pebbles beaches, around 12 bus lines and hills. A lot of hills.
The only person I can blame is myself. Its me who fell for the leaf let, its me who suggested to bring the bikes on our holiday and it was me who wanted to go to the Isle of Wight. All me. And this guy behind the counter of course. Easy peasy, humbugs.
So we went for the eastern weekend to the Isle of Wight and it was great. I really loved the island. We stayed in West Cowes in a beautiful hotel. This harbour town has everything. Small shops, not too many chain stores, many restaurants with different cuisines, pubs, a harbour and sea view.
This is how we spend our days on the island.
On Thursday evening we took the train from London to Southampton where we cycled to the ferry. We were suppose to take the fast ferry but no bikes allowed so we took the big ferry to East Cowes. It takes about 1 hour and in East Cowes a small ferry brings you to West Cowes. After cycles for a few minutes we arrived at our hotel.
It is raining a little bit (more a drizzle) but with our rain coat we are fine to take off. After 15 minutes I decide to put on my rain pants too. After that the rain stops (of course) but I just kept it on all day. I probably looked like a sailor.
We cycled down along the west coast to Yarmouth. On our way we stopped at Newtown to make some pictures and learn about the history. In Yarmouth we parked our bikes and walked around the city and on the pier. After a hefty (huge burgers) lunch we continued towards the Needles (most south west point of the Island). Thats when I started to get very heavy legs. The last part I let Jan continue to check if it was worth the climb back. Due to the fog not much could be seen and it turns out to be a bit of a tourist attraction. Looking at the time, we wouldn’t be able to take our time to walk around so we decide to cycle back to the hotel. I was whacked. My legs were heavy and just didn’t do the the job anymore. All these hills. Jan had to push me a few times and I stepped down a few times. Thats how I managed to get back to West Cowes. So tired. So stupid. Out of shape and on your first day 58 km cycling with hills. Easy Peasy, of course!!!
As a small bonus we saw a seal swimming along the coast. Just before the last steep climb to our hotel.
We decided to reduce the number of km’s and cycled to Newport. After a tea break we continued to Carisbrooke Castle. The last part I had to walk due to the steep hill the Castle was build on. Easy Peasy, yeah. The Castle is famous as a prison to Charles I and now home to the Carisbrooke Castle donkeys. The donkeys are used to demonstrate the treadmill to pull up water from a well. We have never seen this before and its so funny to see a donkey instead of a hamster in a treadmill.
The Castle is still very much in place and you can walk on the defence wall all around. It also has a small museum which includes the history of the castle and even a Turner painting. In the evening we spend some time in the hotels reception room reading. We had a lovely dinner at the hotel.
Eastern Sunday. We decided to take the bus to the southern beaches of the island. This is were you should be able to find any fossils. The only advice I can give you when you visit the Isle of Wight and you want to travel by bus is not to do so on a Sunday. The bus line to the south only goes 4 times a day on a Sunday. We just missed it. So we took a cab. That’s what we city people do. There was only 1 cab operating this Sunday and it stopped at the right moment in front of us.
We didn’t find any fossils but had a nice walk on the beach from Brighstone to Brook. Found some great rocks and had all the beach to ourselves. Had lunch in an Inn in Hulverstone and were in time for our bus back. We learn fast.
After saying good buy to our very friendly host we cycled to East Cowes. We didn’t take the small ferry but cycled all the way around the inlet. Just a few hills to conquer but the rest was easy peasy. The sun was shining and it was getting really warm. Avoiding the main roads we all of the sudden cycled on the grounds of Osborne. Osborne used to be the seaside home of Queen Victoria where she spend a lot of her time with her family. It turned out that we had accidentally found an illegal entry.
After buying the tickets we visited the house and walked around the grounds. We tried to have lunch at the restaurant but that wasn’t as great as you would expect. Better to bring your own lunch and have a picknick. A lot of nice placed to sit and enjoy.
Around 5 o’clock we took the big ferry back to the main land. End of our short holiday that felt much longer. The cycling wasn’t as easy peasy as I had hoped for but a great Island to visit. Walking or cycling or even travel by bus. You don’t need a car to enjoy the country side and the coast.