Tag Archives: Isle of Man

Laxey Heritage trail and snaefell Mountain

If you come to Isle of Man, Laxey is the exact place you should not miss. Laxey is a small town in the North of the island called Isle of Man where you can learn the lives of miners who worked precariously in the past.

Isle of man is the island in the Irish sea between England and Ireland. It used to be a hard place to live due to unpredictable weather and isolation. A few hundred years ago , a lot of islanders left the island to move to the prosperous countries such as America and Australia. However, discovering minerals such as lead, copper , zinc in Laxy gave a boost of economy and the area became the hub of migrants . Isle of Man exported all these treasure to UK and Wales.

In Laxey, you can go for Laxey heritage trail, I would rather start with the church, where a lot of miners used to go. The lives of miners were very precarious and nobody knew whether they could get hurt at work. Some laborers could be as young as 12 year old. When they got injured or lost their lives, there was no compensation that time and people could be in bed for months out of injuries such as fractures or chronic illnesses related to mining.

Christ Church Laxey where miners and their families used to pray for safety , health and wealth of their beloved people.

The Church shows the faith of the islanders in mining villages. It opens daily from 10 am to 4 pm and there is no entrance fee. But you can give some donation for maintenance of the church. You can also see stories about people inside the church and it will not disappoint you.

outside of the church

Then you can go and see Laxey washing floor where the stones were extracted from the mines and cleansed with water. It is now regarded as community area.

Laxey washing floor. The wheel here is a smaller version of Lady Isabella

From there you can walk across the road to have a cup of tea at ” Ham and Egg Terrace”. The Terrace was the longest line of purpose built industrial housing under a continuous roof of line on the island in 1860 . It was nicknamed as ” Ham and Egg Terrace ” after most houses started selling tea and meals to visitors in their front rooms. The terrace still maintains its charm after 150 years. The Terrace is next to the statue of Miners.

Ham and Egg Terrace
My friend’s parents who were very happy in Laxey

From there , you can walk towards Laxey wheel ” Lady Isabella “. Entrance fee is 8 GBP and it can be free if you have purchased the annual ticket for heritage trails .If you are not afraid of height, you can climb up the stairs to see the panoramic view from the top of the wheel.

Glenn and Mumu on Laxey wheel

Lady Isbella is the largest wheel in the world and it was created to remove water from the mines into the river.

I have also walked inside the mine and I was not comfortable knowing the suffering of miners ( cold , wet and dark inside the mines). we met a very nice gentleman who told us how fragile our society became. ( I am sure he is referring towards us ). In a nutshell, we have a better life obviously compared to 100 years ago, but still we cannot convince ourselves that we are content and happy. I am feeling a bit embarrassed right now.

From Laxey wheel , you can also stroll along the Laxey beach where you can simply relax and watch some people either swimming in the sea or walking around . There is a shop called ” the shed ” at the end of Laxey beach and it is a nice cafe.

Laxey beach

If you are interested to walk around, you can also walk in Laxey village or stroll along a row of shops just beside the road.

A clock on the shop

Some houses are very pretty and located just beside the stream.

houses beside the river

a house at the bank of river, my dream house
a lovely house with a boat inside.

There are some wild flowers on the trail too.

In Laxey, there is woolen mills where you can purchase some expensive wool products such as kilts, jumpers , hats. You can see the woolen mill at the end of the village.

Laxey woolen mills

Just beside the main road, you can also see The flour mill where has been the source of bakery . The mill was constructed by the same engineer who built Lady Isabella. Prior to that, the local people had to bring their corns to Lord’s mills to grind in 17th and 18th century.

Laxey Flour mill

After going to nearby places, there is some prehistoric stones near Laxey called ” King Orry’s Grave”. It is at least 30 minutes walk from Laxey wheel and just beside the Minorca train station. Only MER ( Manx Electric railway ) can arrive this and please do not be confused with Snaefell railway which only goes up the snaefell mountail. Here is the information how to go to King Orry. ( credit to https://www.transceltic.com/isle-of-man/king-orrys-grave )

Getting there

On the East coast of the island in Minorca near the village of Laxey.

  • By car – Minorca is near the village of Laxey where the B11 crosses the A2 which is the road between Ramsey and Douglas.
  • By bus – Routes no. 3, 3A, 3B, and 3C from Ramsey and Douglas. Take the nearest stop to Minorca, then walk along the A2 to the site.
  • By tram – Take the Electric Railway to the Minorca stop. Walk along the B11 to where it crosses the A2.

This site is the largest known Megalithic tomb on the Isle of Man and is said to belong to King Orry, an almost legendary character revered by the Manx as their greatest king and founder of Mann. This mythical figure is based on King Godred Crovan, a Viking warrior who created the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles upon his arrival on the Island in 1079.  But at actual site, it was mentioned that King Orry was never buried there and at the time of excavation, only one skeleton remain was discovered. The tomb was abandoned in neolithic time. According to the painting at the site, it seemed like the tomb was immediately next to the beach and it was assumed that people gathered around the tomb and did a lot of activities such as dancing and eating.

King Orry’s Grave

King Orry was credited for the introduction of the island’s legal system and his arrival on the island is seen as the starting point of Manx history . He was also responsible for founding the Crovan dynasty, his descendants who ruled in Mann and the Isles for almost two centuries.  ( Information credit goes to http://www.visitisleofman.com ). King Orry’s grave was separated into two parts and one of them is behind the private house, however, visitors are allowed to visit freely.

pre historic stone

Last but not least, you can visit Snaefell mountain which is the island’s only mountain, its summit is 2036 feet ( 621 metres ) above sea level. The name Snaefell comes from the Norse meaning ” snow mountain “. To reach the summit of snaefell, you can either take Snaefell railway or climb from bungalow station ( which is situated on the mountain road to Ramsey ).

Snaefell Mountain Tramway is different from Manx Electric Railway . The latter operates between Douglas and Ramsey.

Snaefell railway was opened on 21 August 1895 and carried 900 visitors on the same day. It has been a popular tourist activity even after introduction of competition from motor buses. The journey can either starts at Laxey train station ( 12GBP for return ) or at the bungalow station ( 8GBP for return ).

summit of Snaefell

At Bungalow station, you should get off and observe the statue of Joey Dunlop . He was named as ” King of the Mountain ” as he won TT for 26 times. TT is a motor cycle race in Isle of Man which has been operating since 1907. TT attracts a lot of bike lovers all over the world.

Statue of Joey Dunlop

For the first time, I climbed snaefell by riding on the tram. I went there with my friend Glenn and we had a good time on the train. I felt like we were back at least a century back as the tram is very old and rattling . It was so much fun.

At the top of the mountain, there was a cafe called ” summit cafe ” where you can purchase breakfast, lunch and dinner .

Meals are not sold on the tram. But you can book one of the special dining events held at the Snaefell summit cafe such as sunset dinners ( suitable for couples ), seven sunday lunch and Pie in the Sky, featuring stargazing and supper with the island ‘s Astronomical society.

Glenn having the time of his life.

It is a belief that you can see seven kingdoms from summit of Snaefell such as England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the kingdoms of heaven and the sea.

Snaefell mountain tram

In Celtic times, the domain of “otherworld ” was to be found in the heavens above Snaefell. More recently in late Vitorian times, an observatory was established at the summit of Snaefell to enable astronomers to study the stars from the highest point on the island.

My boyfriend was worried when I decided to climb Snaefell. 2000 feet does not mean the height from the base, it simply the height from the sea level and the mountain is manageable even for someone like me who does not do regular exercise.

Even with this tiny achievement, I have to say that I am happy to have been at the summit of Snaefell by climbing.


Hninn

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Maughold well, Isle of Man

I went to the Maughold well in Isle of Man which is regarded as a famous destination for pilgrims in British isles. I have been in Isle of Man for almost 2 years but did not realize there are some religious sites and a holy well in Maughold. Maughold  is situated in Northern part of island where there are beautiful scenic beaches surrounded by mountains. It is 3 miles away from Ramsey ( one of major towns in Isle of Man )

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photo credit to the author of https://www.isleofmanfilm.com/location/maughold/

 

I went to Maughold with a couch surfer named Alexy. Alexy has been travelling all over the world and as he was coming to Isle of Man for a few days, I decided to give him a tour around the island.  I was searching website of isle of man called Visitisleofman and found out a short video regarding a holy well.

Please click this link to watch the video.

https://www.visitisleofman.com/things-to-do/kirk-maughold-church-p1312271

In 5th century, an Irish prince called Maughold arrived isle of man. He was mentioned as a leader  who recruited a group of men to do unlawful things . He challenged St Patrick to cure a dead person. Later St Patrick made a dead person to become a live and also baptized Maughold and his crew. Later Maughold was accepted by isle of man people to become the bishop of the island for his effort in religious transformation.

Maughold well was formed by carving of streams of water collected from mountains to drain into the  Irish sea. It is a bowl shaped hollow protected by slabs of stones around. It is not man made well although some amendments were done around to protect the original well  . There are legends that some people cure their illness by drinking water from well or applying holy  water on their body . A woman eye sight was restored by drinking Maughold water and another woman grew her hair back by applying the water on her scalp.

To go to Maughold well, you need to arrive St Maughold church which is 30 minutes drive from Douglas ( capital of Isle of Man ) . You need to take coastal road to Ramsey and on the way, turn to right side to drive towards Maugold village.

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Once you arrive Maughold church which is dated back to 11th century, park the car outside.

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the church has some collections of 5th century celtic heritage if you can go inside and see

 

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Note: this photo is not mine as well and it was obviously taken by a photographer called Peter Killey. ( thanks to Peter in case if you read this post )

The trail to Maughold is on the north eastern part of the church. You just need to follow the trail or foot path. At one point you need to climb down steep .  You don’t need to worry as the trail is covered by a thick grass and even if you fall, you will not get injured badly.

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you go straight ahead and then we turn to the left to go to the well. You need to pass through a small gate.

The pathway is surrounded by beautiful and blue bells and some wildflowers. And the view is not bad at all.

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It was a hazy , rainy day and I could not capture the good photo.

 

 

The well is just immediately above the sea . You do not need physical fitness to arrive there. One the way back will be a bit tiring to climb back. Overall it is less than 15 minutes walk from the church. Even if not for the holy well, the view is worth it. You  just need to be careful and do not walk very close to the cliff as it is nearly 20 feet from the rocky ground .

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beginning of steep decent

 

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The well is immediately just above the sea

 

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The well or cistern covered by stone slabs

 

Normally I am not very good with navigation. But I am glad that I went there with a traveler who likes exploring. The world is an open book and you need to turn the chapter everyday to find out more. As usual,  I picked up energy whenever I can be with nature. I said a little bit of prayers at Maughold well and I felt like I am healed both physically and spiritually to some extent. I want to encourage anybody out there not to lose faith, especially on yourself.

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Isle of Man part III ( coastal sightseeing )

When I first moved to Isle of Man, a lot of people asked me ” where are you Hninn?”. When I said ” I am in Isle of Man”, everybody is perplexed. Well, it’s very difficult to explain because I cannot say it’s EU countries as Isle of Man has never been part of EU. It is difficult to say it’s in uk because Isle of Man is not regarded as part of United Kingdom. In short , it is a country which has crown dependency and currently Lord of Mann ( the monarch of Isle of Man ) is Queen Elizabeth. Isle of Man located in the Irish sea between British isles and Ireland.

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the photo by Eric Gaba, ( courtesy to Wikipedia )

 

It is the fifth richest country in the world ( according to GDP ) and islanders, Manx are very proud of their self sufficiency. The country has only around 80,000 populations . It is 56 km long and at its widest, 22 km wide. It has an area of around 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi).

The interesting part of Isle of Man is it’s coastal footpath. There is the arranged coastal walk 100 miles which can be divided into 12 sections.  You can have a walk either 4 days ( strenuous walk ) to 12 days easier walk.

https://www.visitisleofman.com/things-to-do/activities/walking-and-hiking/raad-ny-foillan-coastal-footpath

During the coastal footpath, one can see amazing views, can encounter wild life especially rabbits, seagulls, birds and can hike up hills. I have not done coastal footpath yet as I arrived in the winter time. But I have been either driven or drove along the coastal ride and it has always been my favorite thing to do. In this post, I am going to post plenty of photos I took during my ride. Today, we went to the marine ride , a short coastal ride where you can see sunset . At one area, a car crushed into the divine although the driver ( an experienced teenager ) survived miraculously.

The island has different towns at each direction and you can see various photos taken at various places of island here.

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near Peel castle

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Peel castle built by Vikings

I also advise you to go to the Parade cafe which is built more than a century ago. It is located on the way to Port Erin and has a view of the sea with good food especially delicious fresh fish cuisines.

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me at the rock near Parade cafe

Manx people are very proud of their heritage, but never feel reluctant to open their properties for the sake of tourists who might get interested in entering private property for the sake of viewing the sea. I was visiting Ramsey and I went straight into someone’s yard without knowing it belongs to a private owner. But it seemed like the owner purposely opens her door during day time so that curious tourists can get a glimpse of her backyard amazing view.

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this photo was taken from the private property on the coastal area of Ramsey

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Ramsey

Some photos were simply taken by me while I was having a train ride. So the photos are not focus, but I can’t help sharing them as they are quite beautiful.

 

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During electric train ride

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I took this photo from the train, tourists were taking photos, it is near Ramsey

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near Douglas, Onchan

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Although it is quite crowded , being the center of town, Douglas also has the coastal area called Promonade, it is the sea front coastal area where you can see rows of shops, hotels , restaurants and malls. It is the area where people walk, jog and simply sit for a cup of tea.

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taken from the residential area,  Promonade, Douglas

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Near Onchan

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Promonade, where you can have a stroll

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There is also an area called Marine drive which is a short scenic drive of coastal area in Douglas. This is an ideal place for romantic evening where you can watch sunset or sunrise.

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A car driven by an inexperienced teenager crushed into this divine and he miraculously survived.

 

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on the way to Marine drive

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a place where you can use binoculars ( two big white stands ) to see the island historical landmarks

As a person who lived 3 minutes drive from the beautiful South China sea in South East Asia , I can assure you that the sight of the sea and the sound of the waves always calm my nerves.  Now I live near Irish sea and although it is cold and unimaginable to swim in, I am still deeply fond of sea. And so are other people who are alike me.

Helen Keller said I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought. 

I have been an anxious person and I was born as a sick child, grew into an anxious teenager and entered into the career with lots of strife and stress. But whenever I walk near the sea, I can forget about material world with greedy people, I can be myself at that moment, drifting my mind completely into the vastness of the sea and can think how little I am and I realize my worries are not significant compared to my love for nature. For all those moments, I am truly thankful and it reminds me how blessed I have been.

Hninn

 

 

Isle of Man ( Random photos )

As my relationship becomes intense and I realize I am spending more and more time with him and less time to do other things like blogging. At the same time, I am quite obsessed with my job which is pretty unhealthy.

Today, My boyfriend asked me why I am not writing the blogs and not using hundreds of pictures in my phone. Well, it is true and now my phone is crammed with lots of photos and I need to put them into blogs so that later, I can come back and look at all photos. Pretty weird, isn’t it? I wonder whether I will remember to come back to blogs and read what I write when I become sixty.

So here are random photos of Isle of Man I took whenever we go out for sightseeing or walks. I can’t remember exactly where I took some of these photos and even with that, I hope readers can see what is the island look like in winter from pictures.

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the view from Ramsey cottage
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national park in isle of Man , these birds can follow you like puppies if you offer them some food

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Peel, isle of Man

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Peel

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Peel castle built in 11th century by Vikings, now owned by national Manx heritage

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statue near Peel castle

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Port Erin

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People kayaking in Port Erin, even with wet suit, it is crazy cold

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Port Erin

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On the way to Port Erin

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on the way to Port Erin

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one of the windy days when I was travelling to Port Erin

Dining experience in Isle of Man ( Part I )

 

Isle of Man does not have many varieties of food like in London. But I need to explore more to know in detail. Definitely, Oriental food like sushi is not so popular in Isle of Man and so far, I have seen only one shop in Douglas ( capital of Isle of Man ).

On  19th November 2017, me and my friend decided to hunt for Chinese food, She wanted to go to a shop near her house, but unfortunately the shop was closed . ( the shop she wanted to go was called Imperial Dragon, the Chinese food at Imperial Dragon is ok, but it is not fantastic to my taste. There is another Chinese food shop near Electric train station called China Town which I think is horrible, the food was too sweet and too bland  ) We were driving around the town and suddenly we thought of going for sushi, but again, the shop was closed at 5 pm and luckily, we ran into a shop with Chinese decoration near the corner around Tesco.

I told my friend that I am too hungry to find more shops and we should go in. The shop was dim lighted and carpeted the whole area. Surprisingly, although it looked small from outside, it was very spacious with many levels inside. I admire all the decoration inside especially the whole maps and intricate drawings of wall paper. There are rivers, sea, boats and people pictures on the wall. They displayed many statues which are glittering gold and silver and several Chinese writings hanging here and there.

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all the lanterns and chairs were made in China

 

As there was no customer, I doubted whether I made a good choice. Usually, my dad would say “ never eat at any restaurants with very few customers”. However, my thought was interrupted by the cheerful voice from a lady in her late 20s or early 30s coming towards us with a broad smile. She was carrying two menus and she greeted my friend “ are you not working today?”. We found out the owner of the shop has known my friend for two years. The owner Mrs Yang is extremely friendly and eager to give us advice what to eat.

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The shop owner Mrs Yang

I ordered platter with sea weed, pork rib, chicken satay and dampling. For the main dish, I ordered roast duck and my friend ordered sizzling sea basss.

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sizzling sea bass is yummy, spicy and hot

 

 

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menus with reasonable prices, there are lots of dishes you can choose

 

While we were waiting for our food to arrive, we inquired Mrs Yang, who is the designer of the restaurant? She answered “ it was me”, I said “ wow”. I was quite impressed. The whole area gives me feeling of Zen like relaxation although colors are complex. The restaurant is extremely tidy and scented. Mrs Yang said she diligently chose each and every item of decorations at China and brought back everything by ship to Isle of Man.

 

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lovely wall mirrors from China

She was working for airline and decided to start her own business. She recruited all Chinese chefs from Uk. She said  “ nowadays, it’s difficult to recruit Chinese chef as they can earn very well in China as well”.

Contrary to my first impression, her place has been always fully booked except on Sunday. Sunday is usually less people.

I am a good addict and you should know by now if I recommend a Chinese restaurant anywhere, it must be as good as authentic Chinese food anywhere in China. The chef of Mrs Yang didn’t let us down. We enjoyed all our platters, sizzling fish and duck.

We especially like sizzling sea bass as it is fresh, very delicate and spicy. The fish melt in our mouth . Even Satay is really delicious and so are pork ribs.

Here are more photos of menus.

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If you want to make reservation for MRs Yang, here is the address and phone number

Mrs Yang Restaurant

Clinch’s Court, Bank Hill, North Quay, Douglas

IM1 4QF, Tel- 01624-886886.

 

For European food, I would recommend Tandroagan Seafood restaurant. There website is http://tanroagan.co.uk/

The address is 9 Ridgeway St . Douglas, Isle of Man. IM1 1EW

Telephone number is 01624 612355, Email is fish@tanroagan.co.uk

I have been there only once,. The place is packed and it is a small shop. But the shop has been in Isle of Man for more than a decade. The fish and crabs are very fresh and delicious there. Some more, the price is reasonable.

IF you want to enjoy English tea in classic style, I would recommend tea junction in Douglas town center. You have to book for the place as tables are fully booked especially at tea time.

Here is the link.

https://www.theteajunction.im/

The address is

14 Castle Street,
Douglas,
IM1 2EU

To make a reservation, you can  call  on 01624 616578 or email  at tea@theteajunction.im

There are so much variety of tea and they give the timer to adjust the strength of the tea. I really like almost all flavor of tea. For me, the food is just ordinary, but tea is amazing. And the shop is lovely and the staff are very friendly. Here are photos of tea junction shop.

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a book and a cup of tea is my savior.

 

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very friendly staff and well organized counter

 

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lots of regular customers inside the shop

I hope I can come back and write another blog about dining experience. There are many more shops to explore.

Image result for quote about food

Hninn

Isle of Man part 1

Past two weeks has been overwhelming with preparation, traveling and coping with new environment.

For readers who don’t follow me before, I migrated to Malaysia from Burma in 2004 and decided to come back to Myanmar in 2016. It was really a painful decision as I really like Malaysia and already have many friends there. I settled in a cozy house which is owned by a lovely extended family and they looked after me like a real family member. The house I rented was only 15 minutes walk from a beautiful warm beach with a forest nearby. I had everything I need there. However, I had to move back as a hospital owner offered me a job in Myanmar where I bought a new flat. The move had lots of tears and regrets as I didn’t enjoy working back in Burma at all because of very unfavorable working environment and a totally different system. I was misunderstood by a lot of local doctors for doing different things.  So I applied for a job in UK and I got a job in Isle of Man. I had never thought that I would need to move to another place after only a year of a major move.  Moving from one place to another place is exhausting even in the same country, you can imagine moving from one continent to another continent.

I have mixed feeling of excitement about the new place and anxiety to face difficulties. I was born in a tropical country, Burma and lived in the same place for twenty nine years. I moved out to my second home in Kuantan , Malaysia at the age of 29 and learned new language and new working environment. It was love at first sight with Malaysia.I always told my junior colleagues that I only had 500 USD in my pocket when I migrated. I was naive, never been to any other countries and decided to leave my country with a luggage and a good attitude. Without my uncle’s help, it might had been a nightmare to start a new life with very little money in hand. But I was well accepted by warm Malaysian people and integrated into their culture easily. I can still say the quote that ” there is no place like Malaysia”. I left Malaysia as I know there are more local doctors every year and we would have less job market in the future as expats. And it was really difficult to leave after 12 years as I love beaches and wild life in Kuantan.

Anyhow I found a place in England which might suit my taste for nature. So, I finally am ready to work at an island owned by Queen Elizabeth. My cousin booked for me business class flight to fly from London to Isle of Man . But when I got on the plane, I realized the plane was a small one and managed by only one flight attendant. There was not even overhead luggage space. So, I shoved my hand carry under my seat and after less than one hour, the plane landed at airport. It was also a small airport and no security check. Mind you, the island is one of the safest place in the world.  You can walk on the street at night and nobody would bother you. At airport, people were a bit curious as I was the only Asian among arrival. I asked an airport staff where the taxi stand was. He said there was only one gate and I needed to get out and stand at exit / entrance to wait the taxis which usually pass by. Luckily,  my friend came and pick me up. I was smitten by the calmness of island. The weather is wet, windy and cloudy. There are lots of mountains.

The next day, the weather was clear with blue sky. I observed mountains where the sheep graze. I walked near the bushes with the aim of picking up berries. Suddenly the bushes shook violently and big rabbits jumped out of bushes. I was in awe.

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Then when I was eating at a cafe, I heard the noises of big sea gulls. Although I am fond of them, I have a feeling that they can easily snatch food from your hands.

It was 12 C even in late summer. Last weekend, I braced myself to walk at the beach and observed some plants tangling at the beach. The water was icy cool and could not imagine to swim.

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There was a tram carried by a horse at the seaside and the horses not allowed to work in other seasons apart from summer. The health of horses are well looked after and when they get sick, the tram business close down until they become well.

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hnin 22

I have not been in other parts of islands where Vikings lived ten thousand years ago. Some legend said the island is linked to dragons. And I keep on imagining these legends in my mind.

Two days ago, I walked across the quiet roads and I felt very strong feeling of connection to the trees. I could sense they talk to each other ” look, there is a new person in this island. Lets greet her”. I also felt they were sharing information to each other. I had the strong sense of being watched and I could feel I am so liked by them and suddenly I became quite flirtatious. My my. I know I am crazy. So, I literally stopped walking, looked up at the trees and said aloud ” thank you for liking me”. No wonder Alice in Wonder Land might have felt the same thing

This morning, I was rushing and saw an elderly lady standing outside the building. I smiled at her and asked her whether she was alright. The weather was cool and it was drizzling. She smiled and said ” oh, I am enjoying. After a few days, fall is coming and we won’t be able to stand outside like that”. She continued ” I was born in island and still like this place after sixty years. Some people like it but they also hate the island for being too remote. It seems there is no mid way. But when I go to London, I cannot see beautiful stars and sky like here”.

Although I was in rush, I stood still beside her and enjoyed her definition of good weather, shivering. I looked up and saw the trees were shaking off leaves.  At least, I am glad some people feel the same like me.

I will write more about island. Thanks for reading.

Hninn