Wednesday, 9 August 2017

I could tell by the way the sun was trying to get into my bedroom through the blinds that yesterday’s forecast for a sunny day was on track. Looked outside and sure enough – sun! My steam train journey for today was on.

During breakfast I asked my host what time the steam train would be leaving and he thought around 10:20. For some reason I didn’t confirm this time, but started walking towards the train station anyway. I walked along the marina (picture below) as a result of making a couple of wrong turns, but arrived at the station’s ticket counter at about 10:00. Then was informed the train was ready to leave. Yikes! Quickly bought a ticket and ran to the platform. Fortunately the train was waiting for a group of children who were about 10 minutes late.

Douglas Marina

Douglas Steam Train Station

Isle of Man – Southern Half (Isle of Calf is in lower left and Douglas upper right)

The conductor opened a cabin door to a compartment that only contained two people. Thought the train would be full since it was the first run of the day. The size of the cabin was the same as shown in the Harry Potter movies. It would hold 6 adult comfortably and with 3 people we had plenty of room to stretch out.

As the train left the station and passed through the nearby countryside we started to talk while admiring the countryside. The train slowly made its way to the first major stop, Castletown. The couple sitting across from me were from Manchester and on the island for a few days. We were all about the same age and had plenty to discuss. One of these days I’ll take notes and list the topics that are discussed.

We arrived at Castletown and my cabin partners got off the train. I decided to take the train onward to Port Erin – the train’s last stop. Still wasn’t sure what I was going to do once I arrived. When the train reached Port Erin, I got off and headed directly for the men’s room – since there were no facilities on the train. As I walked out from the men’s room I came upon an older gentleman (found out he was 84) who was a greeter at the station. He recommended that I take a bus out to Cregneash Sound to a point where you can enjoy seeing Calf of Man, a small island at the southern tip of the island. He even followed me over to the other side of the station to make sure I got on the right bus. Was easy to plan my day when you get just the right help at the right time.

The bus to Cregneash Sound wandered around and through the nearby village of Port of St. Mary, then headed out to the Sound. When we arrived at the stop we were greeted by an amazing view of the Irish Sea pushing its way through the gap between the Isle of Man and Calf of Man. In the distance you could see the outline of Ireland. Green hillsides with patches of purple heather all around. With the sun and cool breeze, it was a perfect place to walk around and admire the views from different directions. Below the hillside, we could see a small group of seals playing or feeding.

View Toward the Irish Sea

North Side Calf of Man

South Side of Calf of Man

Heather

View Towards England

View North of Isle of Man

I ordered a cup of tea from the small cafe and sat on a bench and enjoyed the view. Almost forgot what I was doing and happened to look up and see the bus for the return ride waiting for people to board.

Wasn’t quite sure where I needed to catch the return train to Douglas. I asked the bus driver and he let me out at the Port of St. Mary station. I checked the posted schedule and the next train wasn’t due for an hour. Guess it never hurts to be early. Even though I was the only one there, the men’s room was open and fully functional. Very much appreciated when you’ve been drinking a large tea.

Paddington Bear – Waiting With Me

Train Back to Douglas (train engine facing the train)

Eventually a couple showed up and we confirmed that the three of us were in the right place. It wasn’t long before the train arrived and we were on our way to Douglas. About this time I realized that I was coming down with a cold and was feeling tired. The cabin that I stepped into had four people already seated. One of the men and a couple started talking about music groups. It was a conversation where I couldn’t contribute much so I started to nod off.

When you’re not feeling well, sometimes time passes more slowly. At least it did in this situation. Seemed like forever until the train reached Douglas and I was able to disembark. Not having any decongestants I looked for a pharmacy where I could buy some. I found a nearby Boots Pharmacy (chain store) and asked the pharmacy assistant for recommendations. She proposed a brand (with approval of the pharmacist). I was going to take a taxi home but thought I was up to walking.

When I got to my flat, after taking the decongestant I headed for bed and took a two-hour nap. Felt a little better when I woke. Cooked up a piece of chicken, boiled some potatoes, and some green peas. It was nearly 9:00 p.m. before I ate.

I managed to stay up until midnight so I could be sure to be extra tired and get a full night’s sleep.

Tomorrow I leave by ferry and return to Liverpool where I’ll stay before going by train to London.

 

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