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Day 6: London to East & West Cowes

I awoke to a text from someone asking if I’m OK around 5:30 am, so I knew that something must have happened in London. I quickly checked the news on my phone and discovered that a car had driven into a group of people who were near a. Mosque. I was a bit concerned because Shehzad’s wife had gone to the mosque to pray. Not only is it Ramadan, but it is the 10 holiest days of Ramadan, when people hold sort of a vigil every night, so she was participating. It sounds like the Muslim version of Holy Week. I got out of bed to see if her car was there, so I was relieved that it was. I turned on the news to see what was going on, and I never was able to go back to sleep. By the time I had a bit of breakfast, some coffee, worked on this blog, and packed my suitcase, it was time to make my way to Waterloo Station to catch the Southwest Train to Southampton.

Waterloo Station

It was a pretty easy ride to Waterloo, and I had plenty of time to figure out my ticket situation. I had purchased my ticket online, but according to the email, I needed the same credit card to retrieve the ticket. Unfortunately, I had lost my card in NY, so I asked the ticket agent about it, and I was able to use my confirmation code and another card. Everything was fine. I bought some water, EmergenC, and some saline nose spray because the allergies have not been good! The train boarded soon after, and we were on our way!

The ride to Southampton was just over an hour long, so we arrived around 11:20. I had booked a 1:00 ferry to West Cowes on the Isle of Wight, so I had time to find lunch. I saw a Marks & Spencer, so I decided to have lunch there. I knew I could find a healthy salad that would be inexpensive, so that’s what I did, and it was a good choice. While in the cafe, I read that check-in for the ferry was 12:30, so I didn’t waste any time getting to the terminal. There really was no need to rush, but I didn’t know what to expect. It was easy to find, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I asked someone, and she escorted me to the front of the line, around a large group of school children.

The Mayflower follows me through my life

As we boarded the ferry, it was larger and nicer that I expected. Since there was indoor and outdoor seating, and the day was hot, I chose an indoor seat, thinking that it would be more comfortable. It was lovely and peaceful (a bit warm) until no less than 1 million children descended on the room. I decided to just stay and make peace with the noise.

We set sail on our 1 hr journey soon after, and it was lovely. There were no breathtaking views to speak of, but it was nice. With about 20 minutes left, I decided to check out the upper deck outside. The breeze was wonderful, and it was nice to be outside as week approached the Isle of Wight. There were so many sailboats out as we approached!

I didn’t realize when I booked the ticket, but I booked a ticket to East Cowes instead of West Cowes, where I was staying. It was not a real problem, and all I had to do to get to West Cowes was take the floating bridge. I disembarked, found the floating bridge nearby, and began my walk to Onefifty Cowes. Without the breeze on the boat, it was very hot, and the walk was nearly all uphill. I was a hot mess by the time I reached the inn, and although I was early, I really hoped I could check in. I knocked on the door, and a lovely lady named Paula answered. I told her that I had a reservation, and she escorted me up 2 flights of stairs to my room. She told me that I would have a sea view, as well as a nice breeze.

After she left, I closed the door, removed some clothing, and cooled off/napped until I felt like I was ready to move again. I washed my face, put on my coolest shirt, and walked out to explore town. Fortunately, this walk was downhill.

Pretty soon, I found Northwood House and Park, as well as St. Mary’s Church. Northwood House is a Grade II house. Not sure what that means, but it’s not quite Downton Abbey. The church was a nice surprise with a beautiful cemetery.

I continued down the hill into town, and I discovered that since I took the wrong ferry, I had missed the really charming part of town–the High Street. There were many lovely shops and restaurants, and I made note of an ice cream shop that I might like to visit after dinner.

I would have died

I walked down by the water and started walking towards a large, old building, which I found out was the Royal Yacht Squadron. They gate was open, but it was marked “private.” I walked around a bit more until 6, when I decided it was time for dinner. I went to The Yachtsman, because it was by the water and they had some things on the menu that looked good to me. I ordered the whole grilled sea bream and substituted the new potatoes for chips. It was truly a whole fish! It was very nice–not life-changing–but good.

As I began walking back to the inn, I passed the ice cream shop to find that it was closed for the day, so I decided to go to Marks & Spencer to get something to take and eat in my room. I got a chocolate pudding parfait and started the uphill journey back. I was tired from a day of travel and heat, but also my allergies were awful and making me feel more tired. I broke down and walked to a nearby shop and bought some allergy medicine. It seemed to help. I struggled to make it until 10 pm before going to bed, but I made it and slept pretty well since the room had cooled of significantly after the sun set.

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