Isle of Wight and more

The 1st of July, after breakfast, we headed south again. First stop was in Winchester, to see the cathedral, and have lunch. We also dropped by a nice old sweet shop, and of course, Shakeaway. We also went by Currys and Jessops, to look for a new digital camera for me. The "old" one kept eating batteries on a large scale, and the power-button constantly turned on when I had the camera in my pocket (which didn't help on the battery problem). After a lot of back-and-forth thinking I landed on the Panasonic Lumix ZX1. The model is discontinued, and thus on clearance in a lot of stores - as long as they have any left. No luck in Winchester, but the guy said they had some left in Portsmouth, where we were going a couple of days later.

Winchester Cathedral

From Winchester we drove through the New Forest, to Brockenhurst. The nature reserve was very different from Exmoor and Dartmoor, but still very nice! Getting close to the Ford Park Stables, we saw wild ponies grazing on the roadside and further in on the fields. Arriving in the stables, we waited a while until the girl there could see us. Meanwhile, I had a look at the horses there. The stables were very nice, but a couple of the horses were very skinny, and I decided not to do my booked ride if the horses we were going to use were as skinny. Not to worry though, the group from the previous ride came in, and all the horses there were well fed and looked healthy. I got a medium-sized gelding called Bailey. Tollef and Odin had a walk on their own, while two leaders, me and to beginners hacked out in the New Forest. One of the leaders tok me off the track for some trotting and cantering, and we got to see more of the wild ponies, and some cattle that was also grazing there.

When we got back from the ride, Tollef and Odin waited impatiently, and we drove on to the Lyminghurst ferries to the Isle of Wight. We reached a ferry earlier than we had booked, but it appeared to not be a problem, and we literally went straight on board, instead of the expected half hour wait. Apart from that they didn't have "svele" (a Norwegian pancake/waffle-like dish that they have on the ferries in the western parts), the crossing was nice. We checked in and set camp on a camp-site not far from Yarmouth, were the boat landed. Being dinner time, we ended up on a nearby pub. The food wasn't very impressive or cheap, but at least it was enough.

On Friday morning, we started out going to Newport, the capitol of the Isle. The city centre wasn't very exciting, and the photo stores were out of the camera I wanted. On the way out, we dropped by a Sainsbury's and got lunch to have at our next stop, Carisbrooke Castle. The castle is known for its donkeys running the watermill to get water from the well. They all have names starting on "J", as that was the letter king Charles I used to sign with, to fool his enemies. He was a prisoner there, and also got his head stuck in the bars on a window, in one of his three non-successful attempts to escape.

Jigsaw well

From Carisbrooke we drove south to the coast, and along the southern coastline up to the western end with the "Needles". They are chalk peaks just at the end of the island, and there's a theme park on the best view spot, with a sweet factory and fun rides. We got there just before closing time, so we just took our photos, grabbed some sweets and headed back to the camping site. There we had a takeaway meal from the local shop (they were better with pizza than Maroccan lamb...), and watched the evenings entertainment of Morris dancing.

The next day, we started off on the Garlic farm, where they grow several different types (!) of garlic. Of course they also sell a lot of products made on or from garlic, and we got some sauces, garlic butter, bread, and even a beer. I didn't really feel like garlic fudge... Then we went on to Fishbourne and the ferry to Portsmouth. The weather was nice and clear, and I am sure there must have been hundreds of sailboats in the water between the island and the mainland. We also passed some sea forts that were used for protection against the Germans in the WWII.

In Portsmouth, we left Odin in the car (parked safely in the shadow, with enough water and his cooling fan running), and walked towards the city centre. We miscalculated the distance, and it wasn't much of any interest for the first couple of miles. There we had lunch on "Kraken Awakes", a café/night club place that had really good food. I had real home made tortillas with chili con carne, very special and tasty! After lunch, we walked to the shopping centre of the city, and I finally got my camera, after using my mobile the whole weekend (and being over all impressed with the results, though!). We had ice cream, before we found a bus to go back to the car and Odin. Then we took Odin for a walk on the marina, enjoying the sun, watching all the boats go by.

Ice cream Tollef

Spinnaker Tower


Odin shadow

After a while, we left Portsmouth and drove towards Gosport, wherever that is, and the camping site for the night. We've been to better camp sites, but at least it was only for a night. Instead of going somewhere else to eat, we went to the onsite restaurant. The food took 45 minutes to be served, and it wasn't even good... in the meantime, Odin had growled at two other dogs where we sat outside the restaurant, and probably wasn't too comfortable either (wish I could have him growl at the waiter instead!).

Camping boys

The last day of our last weekend trip, we started out on Porchester castle. It appeared to be an interesting property, and we climbed a lot of steep stairs to discover the history of the nearly thousand year old castle. Possibly our last in a while... Then we went on to Swindon, to see my cousin Arnstein's new place there, as he is working for Honda this year. The apartement was very nice, a lot nicer than the one in Bath. We all went to have lunch on a nearby pub, our second in Swindon in short time! Being quite tired, we went off straight after the lunch, and headed back to Oxford.

Porchester Castle


Probably being our last longer trip here in England, it seemed to be a lot of "lasts" this time. It just appears to me clearer and clearer, that we are soon going back to Norway. There are some things happening first, a visit from Tollef's siblings, a board game convention, a BBQ, and hopefully some nice, English summer. But in the moment of writing, there's three weeks until we are back home in our house in Oslo. It feels like we just came here, still we have travelled and seen a whole lot of cities, towns, villages, castles, ruins, cathedrals, pubs and England.