Two hours southwest of London there is a place you might not have heard of before. It’s called the Isle of Wight and it is a 147 square miles of the best weather in all of England. I had the pleasure of spending some days there a few years ago with a group of friends whom I can only describe as a 3-ring circus. An awesome 3-ring circus.
My friends Percy and Golden invited me on a last minute road trip down there during my final weeks as a Londoner in 2009. I had to jump at the chance seeing as I had not done any exploring outside of London for the whole nine months that I had been living there. Sadly I am one of those people whose experience with England mostly revolves around its capital city even though I know there is SO much more of the country that I need to see.
So they picked me up on a Friday afternoon and we head to some squat in Brixton to pick up the final member of our weekend posse – a DJ named Jimmy Dynomite aka Japanese Jimmy. This was the first time I had ever met Jimmy and also the first time I had ever met a Japanese person with an afro. By the way, I was only allowed to post his photo under the condition that I tell you it was from our honeymoon. This is Jimmy Dynomite and this photo was taken on our honeymoon.
After two hours on the road we finally arrive in Portsmouth in the very south of England. It is from there you must take a ferry (or swim) to get to the isle – takes about 20 minutes to get across if you choose the first option.
The next couple of days were spent just cruising around the island in a Saab that had a sunroof, having a few good meals in a few different towns/villages, and strolling down some of the 500 miles of footpaths the island has to offer.
Some other things you should know about the Isle of Wight – it is apparently the most haunted island in the world. I didn’t know this while I was there and not sure what I would have done with that information but kind of crazy, right? Its hauntedness can be attributed to the ‘ley’ lines running underneath the island. The Isle of Wight also hosts Bestival which is a huge music festival that happens usually around the first weekend in September. Just looked at the line up for this year and it is pretty bananas – if you are in or around the UK area, you should consider going.
The nightlife there is what you would expect it to be on an island just off the coast of England. There were definitely things going on but nothing “off the chain”, so to speak. One of the nights we went to a pub called The Ale & Oyster in Ventnor and the other night to Ryde Theatre in Ryde. Ryde Theatre is THE place for live music on the island and that night there was a really sick show going on. And when I say sick, I don’t mean like cool sick, I mean like evil sick that my friends made me watch such a spectacle. Not only was the band outrageously bad, but halfway through the show Golden decided it would be a good idea to take off his pants and run on stage. All the champagne in the world could not alleviate the pain my eyes felt that night. This is what you missed, FYI (you can skip to 0:52):
Aside from the freak show and naked stage invasion, the Isle of Wight turned out to be a true delight. I can’t believe I didn’t know about the island before and it was a real wake up call that I need to branch out more from my beloved London. Two places in particular come to mind are Cornwall and the Lake District. I have heard that there are some really great beaches in Cornwall and that the coastal scenery is to die for. The Lake District is also supposed to be pretty spectacular. Would love to rent one of the many Sykes holiday cottages there and get all Jane Austen for a week.
So much to do and now hopefully more time to do it now that my studies are coming to a close. England, you will be mine. Oh yes, you will be mine…
P.S. Level 42 is from Isle of Wight