Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. – John Lennon
Well, the pod AirBnB started as a nice idea… and quickly became a not so nice one.
As in, I woke up at about 1 AM freezing cold.
Normally if I’m cold I have options. Turn up the heat. Add another blanket. Put on another layer.
In a small pod in the garden with only a sleeping bag, those didn’t really exist.
On top of that I really had to use the bathroom.
So I stumbled out of the pod and down the garden path until I arrived at the guest house where I could use the toilet. It was cold, but I figured maybe the outside air would make me more appreciative of my little pod.
When I got back I realized the pod was pretty much the same temperature as the outside air. Not sure if it was because of the window doors, or just really poor insulation overall, or what had happened, but it was quite cold.
I slid on my fleece and snuggled back in the sleeping bag.
I woke up again around 3 shivering. So I got up, put on a pair of pants over my leggings and a sweater under the fleece and climbed back into bed.
Woke again at 5. Pulled on my rain jacket and another pair of socks and then crawled back in the sleeping bag, curling into the smallest ball I could. It was pretty much all the layers I had at that point, so I was hoping I didn’t get any colder.
I sound dramatic but that’s honestly what happened. I woke up again at 7, well before my alarm, still cold and miserable. So I ended up going to use the bathroom and realized it was warm in there. Which was how I ended up curling up next to the heater in the bathroom for twenty minutes trying to warm up.
Got back to the pod. I was basically already dressed. Opted to just leave the leggings on under the pants since I was still cold, and otherwise I was ready for the day. I made some coffee, put on gloves and did my best to warm up a bit.
Basically my lesson learned was to never do any kind of “camping” in England without the proper clothing and a really good sleeping bag, or extra blankets. Left a review on the pod to tell future travelers they might want warm clothes. Or maybe the owner will know better and provide more blankets next time or something. Or a small space heater. I cannot imagine what that must be like in winter.
Well, I used the early wakeup to go catch a bus back into town. My pass from the day before had expired so I purchased a ticket with cash. Unlike Dublin they actually will give you change, so that was nice. Regardless it was cheap and fairly easy. I got off a stop early by mistake, because they don’t announce them very often in Isle of Man, but regardless I managed to find it.
I walked to the ferry terminal and dropped my stuff in a locker there. Made it so I didn’t have to wander all the way back to my accommodation to pick up my backpack and such, but also didn’t have to drag it with me.
Then I headed over to the steam railway station.
There are several railway features in Isle of Man. They’re one of the things you’ll see advertised to do, which makes sense. They’re an easy transport and they are also incredibly fun and make it easy to go explore other parts of the island that might be more interesting than Douglas.
I’d decided I wanted to go to Castletown for the morning. There were two trains at decent times to be able to go there and back again. It seemed like a good option.
I bought the Go Explorer Heritage Pass for a day thinking that the pass gets you into attractions. It does not. Unless you buy the five day pass. So for any looking to use this, be warned. If you’re going to use lots of transport in one day, it’s a good deal, if not then I’d opt to just buy individual tickets and save your money. There is a pass that lets you into lots of the attractions on the island for like 14 days for only 20 euro, which is a very good deal, but obviously it wasn’t a good one for me being there only a day really.
Nonetheless I boarded the first train and quickly found out why these are recommended to do.
It’s a mix between Disneyland and a scenic drive. It felt sort of like a ride, but it was beautiful as well. You’d look out the windows and feel like you’d stepped back in time, rocking along in the carriage, steam billowing outside the windows. It was absolutely wonderful. I definitely enjoyed it to the max.
I arrived in Castletown slightly later than expected. The problem is the conductors sell tickets too, so sometimes they take a while making sure everyone has a ticket before setting off. So be warned your train might not be precisely on time if you’re in a hurry.
Regardless I set out from the train to go explore Castle Rushen, the famed part of Castletown. You might understand why.
It’s a really well preserved castle. The exhibits are slightly dated looking, but all in all it’s quite a nice space, and that’s coming from a girl who’s seen castles all over France as a child.
My favorite element was that there were fantastic views from the top of the tallest tower, and you were allowed to climb all the way up and stare down at the city. On a beautiful sunny day it was perfect.
After that I strolled through town quickly before heading back to catch the 12:27 train to Douglas. It was sad I had to cut my visit so short, but unfortunately it was needed
I enjoyed the rolling hills and beautiful scenery of the Isle of Man as I rode back. Again, if you’re on the Isle and have a chance to do the steam railways, especially on a nice day, it’s well worth it. The views are simply spectacular. You’ll see sheep and cows and pheasants. Views of the sea. Beautiful plants and farmland and so much more. And the steam engine is charming as well.
From Douglas I headed down to the ferry terminal. I technically had about 2 hours until my boat, but I knew trying to do much else would likely be pushing my luck, so I grabbed some coffee and tried to polish off the remaining Manx pounds I had on hand. Be warned if you go to the island that they use a different currency. If you’re coming from England they’ll still accept your British pounds, but for a visitor like me heading into England it was a problem because England won’t accept Isle of Man’s currency…which seems ridiculous, but definitely is something to be aware of.
The ferry was very similar to the one coming over. Quite nice overall. Cafes and shops and two cinemas showing films. It’s definitely a very comfortable way to travel (I’m writing this current post on a cramped train so you might understand why I say that).
From the ferry I had a mile walk to my hostel. I probably could have found transportation, but really didn’t want to mess with it. Thankfully it was a beautiful day so no problems on that front. I admired Liverpool’s lovely architecture as I walked.
I arrived at Hatters Hostel. All in all my review of this place is quite good. It’s in this beautiful old building and quite cheap. On top of that you get free breakfast so I’m definitely not going to complain. The rooms were a bit cramped and they only had tiny lockers, so just could store valuables and that was it (not even a backpack would fit). But overall I was quite pleased.
I asked for dinner recommendations on the way out and was told that The Leaf on Bold Street was supposed to be quite good, so I decided I’d try it.
However, before heading there I figured I’d stop and see just a few things.
I arrived in Liverpool around six. So I knew everything I’d possibly want to see would be closed. Which meant I’d marked some more “public” spaces that I could still access as a tourist.
I started at St. George’s Hall which was a filming spot in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It wasn’t open of course, but I could still admire the beautiful outside.
The central library was also a stopping point for me. I love old libraries, and this one was very fun. It had been reconstructed, but the center room with triple layers of book shelves still seemed like the stuff out of movies, and the modern section was quite open and beautiful as well. On top of that it also has nice views from the roof. And again, it’s all free!
From there I headed to dinner as I was quite hungry.
The Leaf was popping, so it seemed worth a shot. I wish I’d gotten one of their teas, but it was a bit crowded and confusing and my server was training, so sadly didn’t get a chance to try any of that. I did have a Victorian Lemonade, and a dish of falafel with flatbread, which sounded quite good at the time.
The food all in all was decent, but definitely nothing spectacular. The flat bread was dry and the falafel itself pretty tasteless and the combo of flavors just left something to be desired. But it was cheap and filling and I do have to remember this is England… not exactly the center of fine cuisine.
Then back to the hostel for sleep. Unfortunately I should add this to my review of Hatters. Quite nice overall, but the fire alarm did go off for no apparent reason in the evening. When my roommate and I dashed out into the lobby, the receptionist said it was no problem and to not worry about it. But it continued going off for a good few minutes for no apparent reason. Definitely a bit strange. Didn’t help that we’d left our room key in our haste to get out. Thankfully they made us another one.
Then on for a good night’s sleep. Because the next morning I was off to Scotland!