Winchester cathedral on a not-so-pleasant day in February in Hampshire
It is not customary for me to
use up an entire week's worth of holidays for the purpose of going on a
domestic trip, but this time around, that is precisely what happened,
and I once again acted as a tour companion for a couple who had flown
in from East Asia for a trek around South-western England. Aside from
the pick-up at Birmingham airport, the first port of call was a
fleeting visit to Winchester, where a coffee down the High Street and a
visit to the city's famous cathedral constituted the two main
activities. Re-joining the route eventually brought us to a guest house
located in a residential area of Southsea, and the highlight of the
rest of the day was a sumptuous Indian meal consumed along a
neighbouring street, which could easily have ranked as the culinary
highlight of the entire trip.
The zippiest and most fun way of crossing the Solent to the Isle of Wight
The following day, catching the
hovercraft from Southsea to the Isle of Wight constituted the whole
day's travel plan, and upon arrival in Ryde, the Isle of Wight's
electric railway link ferried us down to Shanklin, and then on to
Sandown, where you could barely visualize throngs of tourists in peak
season, due to its almost deserted status at the time of our visit.
Leaving the Isle of Wight early in the evening, and motoring on to
Bournemouth, where I had briefly resided in 2002, made it seem like we
were indeed making progress along our projected itinerary, and an
overnight stay in Bournemouth was all part of the package. The town of
Bournemouth had barely altered since I was a resident there in the
local area, but it was nice to know that the elements I had associated
with the livable coastal town were still very much in place, and that I
had the opportunity to familiarize myself with the town again on this
occasion. From Bournemouth, the route took us further west, with
promises of taking in more sights and sounds along the way, and thus
concludes the first leg of the South-west England tour.
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