A Travellerspoint blog

Day 12 - Travel from Bath to Southampton and Isle of Wight

Halloween! Boo! Studying train schedules. Train trip took 1 hr 28 minutes.

all seasons in one day 13 °C
View Cotswold Way, England on Laura Walking's travel map.

I woke up early this morning - had a lot on my mind I guess! The giggling girls were gone from next door, replaced by a couple who arrived quite late and as a result had not really settled in before midnight. Very loud voices!
However, at this moment, when I woke up, it was blissfully quiet. A few birds stirring outside, but the town still seemed to be sleeping. It was too early to get up. I lay there thinking about my journey today. Could I carry my big backpack, (and the little one too!), all the way down to the train station? (Better down than up!) Would it be raining? Would the timing be right to catch the train and then the ferry? I had seen all sorts of different schedules and their various fares when looking online last night. So many questions swirling in my head.

I knew the first train I could possibly and probably get to was the 10:35 am to Southampton Central. Since I was up early, and the sun was out (Yay!) - although it seemed cooler - I thought catching that train seemed quite feasible. I had packed as much as was possible last night, so was organized for departure. Check-out time was 10 am, but I was ready and left about 9:25, running into the owners on the way out, a nice retired couple. I wound my way down through fairly deserted streets. A few cafes were open, and a very few early shoppers were out and about. The big backpack (not in its carrying case for the plane, but on my back), was not a problem at all. In fact it felt lighter today, than it did walking around Stratford! I guess that is to be expected.

I set my internal compass for Bath Abbey, and from there I found the train station easily. I bought a ticket for Southampton Central, one way. (On my way back up to Birmingham to catch my flight back, I imagine it will be a slightly different route, and won’t go as far west as Bath again.) The woman at the ticket window was very knowledgeable, however provided so MUCH information that it merely confused the situation. She kept saying to me, “Well, where do you want to go?” When I answered her saying, “Southampton, to catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight.” She said, “Okay, Portsmouth.” We went around in circles like this for a minute until we got it straight. No problem getting the 10:35 train. It would take an hour and a half. A nice rest. There was even a small Starbucks Coffee place at one end of the platform. I had enough time that I couldn’t resist getting a cup; I hadn’t had any breakfast yet.

The train ride was uneventful - and went very quickly! My seat companions, one an older British woman, and the other an American from Arizona, were interested in the walk I had just done. I made sure it was clear that I hadn’t walked every day, nor did I walk the entire way. The American, (I don’t know her name), was then asking me about a walk in Spain that a friend of hers had done… well, that was that! When we started talking about the Camino de Santiago, the time flew by. She was very interested in all kinds of things about it and asked me dozens of questions. The British lady had also heard of the Camino and had been keen to do part of that walk too, for her 70th birthday, which unfortunately occurred during the lockdown here in Britain. So her son gave her a birthday gift of a Virtual Camino! She would walk or ride her bike and record her times and distances to get “rewards”. I’m not sure exactly how it all worked, virtually, but she was so enthusiastic and figured that since she couldn’t go to Spain in person, that doing part of it that way was better than nothing. So the train ride went by in a flash! The British woman got off a couple of stops before the American and I. We both got off at Southampton, said our goodbyes and then she was gone in the crowd.

I was quite relieved to be in Southampton, where I knew the ferry would leave for IOW (Isle of Wight). So now my mission was to actually find the ferry docks! I asked one of the people at the train station and he was very helpful. He pulled up a map on a kiosk (remember I am a visual learner!) and told me while pointing, to go here and there and the docks are over there! Perfect! So I headed off in the bright sunshine. About 25 or 30 min later I was there (with my big pack on my back!) at the ferry terminal. Bought a return ticket, and so here I sit, on the ferry, writing this long hand.

There was a wait before we boarded, I had just missed the previous ferry. They go about every hour. I am in the passenger ferry, a high speed catamaran! The car ferry is a different boat and lands at a slightly different spot on IOW. Got on the ferry about 1:50 pm - under dark and rainy skies now, I might add! (What happened?! These dark stormy-looking clouds, and wind, must have come up in the hour we were waiting in the terminal! I’m glad I didn’t have to walk those 25 or 30 minutes to the terminal in this!) It was already raining. By 2:12 we were rocking back and forth in the wind and waves! I had gotten my little GoPro camera going again, and so filmed some scenes on the boat. The “turbulence” (waves), really wasn’t too bad at all. And then we were there! The catamaran trip is only about 30 minutes. The car ferry, longer.

I came out of the ferry terminal on IOW looking around. I knew where I was staying, but not exactly where it was. I asked a woman working at a cafe near the ferry terminal, where this place was, and she pointed to the building right beside us. It’s right there! I was very surprised! As we were about to disembark, I had put on my raincoat as I was sure (from the map I studied online last night), that I needed to walk to it, maybe a kilometre away. I guess not! It had been a tiring day and I was certainly ready to sit down and relax. I checked into my small room, and after shedding a few layers and my hiking boots, I promptly fell asleep before dinner.

Later, when I asked about an Internet password, the woman told me that they use the same WiFi service (called TheCloud - but it’s not the actual iCloud) throughout this entire hotel and Inn chain. I was really disappointed to hear that. This was the same hotel chain where the WiFi would not recognize my devices in Birdlip. I’m here for 4 days, so I need to have WIFi!
Later when I went down to the dining room for dinner, the server told me that a fellow is going to help me with it tomorrow at breakfast. It’s much later now and I can hear the wind howling outside my second story window. The old wooden panes are rattling. It’s Halloween night, and although I’ve heard a few talking and laughing passersby, it’s so windy that maybe they’ve all gone indoors somewhere!
It’s time to turn my light out. I hope I’m able to cut and paste this later!

Posted by Laura Walking 16:04 Archived in England

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