It was the long weekend, last Monday of May in 2009. My husband had previously arranged a weekend to visit friends at the Isle of Wight. I was a little hesitant because my husband was still recovering from a stint in hospital. However, he was already back at work and seemed to be up to the adventure. We made a last minute visit to the pharmacy and picked up some more meds for him to take with us on our trip, so we are all set!
How would we actually get to the Isle of Wight? I had absolutely no idea as I had never been there before and to be frank, did not have a clue where it was! This is where google maps are incredibly helpful, as I did a search for the distance between our home postcode and the Isle of Wight. Time and distance immediately appeared on our computer screen, that was great news. It appears there are three ways to get to the Isle of Wight. You can take a ferry from either a) Portsmouth; b) Bournemouth; or c) Southhampton. We shared the driving and headed for Southhampton, where we searched for the entrance to the ferry. The ticket we had purchased over the internet through RedFunnel gave the postcode so we put that into our Navman GPS and put our trust into this marvellous little machine. It took us down to the docks, but then there was a little discussion. Our ticket said to go to terminal two. However, we approached terminal one first, and my husband was certain that was where we should go. I didn’t agree, and I said this must be just for pedestrian passengers. We had our car so we needed the vehicle entry. Well, we drove right up to terminal one, discovered there was nothing there for us and turned around again.
We did finally make it to terminal two. There was a queue, which was to be expected I imagine given it was a holiday weekend. At the stand alone ticket booth, we showed our ticket to get a little white card to hang on our rearview mirror.
We were told to see the man in standing a little ahead of us. That gentleman instructed us to park behind some other cars in queue number ’22’. We were almost an hour early, so we still had time to lock the car up and visit the cafe and rest rooms as long as we returned to our cars 20 minutes before scheduled departure. After a smarties icecream (very nice) and a cornish pastie (yes a little over the top!), we made it back to the car just a few minutes before we were instructed to drive onto the ferry – perfect!
The views between Southhampton and the Isle of Wight were changing and interesting. They included what looked like a very pretty castle or old manor, another lovely building and lots of trees and another marina. On the other side were what looked like oil refineries and factories.
We were sitting here, in our car, the red bus is in front of us and we are waiting to land so we can drive off. Can you imagine what our GPS said when we turned it on? It was already giving us instructions, and expecting us to drive right over the water. It made us burst out with laughter. Well, we have arrived for sure.
It is hard to believe that the Isle of Wight is only one hour by ferry, and once you get there you are exported into a little paradise, of sea, beach, and tons of swimming. The climate seemed subtropical, and as we walked around the botanical gardens we saw a section titled ‘New Zealand’, ‘South Africa’, and even caught a glimpse of a sign displaying kangaroos!