Friday, September 8, 2017
On to the Isle of Man
We like quirky places and the Isle of Man certainly qualifies. Its motto: "Quocunque Jeceris Stabit" (Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand) is represented by the three legged emblem found on its flag and by this sculpture which greeted us outside the airport. The island is a self-governing crown dependancy - it has its own parliament but relies on the UK for military protection and Queen Elizabeth is officially the "Lord of Mann".
The Isle of Man was a Viking stronghold for many years. The parliament, Tynwald, claims to have been in existence since 979. The word Tynwald comes from the Norse.
Douglas is the capital. The entire island has a population of about 85000 people with about 28000 living in Douglas. It was been a holiday destination for many years as well as something of a tax haven (not why we went there!). The Promenade - a semi-circular row of buildings facing the sea is made up mainly of Victorian buildings.
This daytime photograph gives a better idea of all the architectural details. Just beyond the boardwalk (actually a paved walk) is the beach, part of which is covered at high tide.
The island loves to hang on to old traditions and old ways of transportation. Although we did travel on modern buses to get to and from the airport, while on the island we experienced a variety of older methods of transportation. A horse-drawn tram (founded in 1876) takes people from one end of the promenade to the other with many stops in between. With our five day transportation pass covering all possibilities we could opt for public transportation whenever we wanted it.
There was an abundance of flowers everywhere from those which have been planted to the fuchsias lining the sides of roads and railways to the heather on the hills...
This is known as the Tower of Refuge. It was built on a small island off the coast as a safe haven for shipwrecked sailors.
It seems that there is a passion for motorcycling in the Isle of Man. Each year they have races - the TT races over mountain roads and there have been deaths over the years. The city had flower arrangements like this, each a different shape, in a variety of spots. We were told they were put there for the TT to decorate the town. The Grand Prix was about to start while we were there. The Friday night ferry brought many motorcyclists.
More on the island's eccentricity in my next post.
All photos at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm89FFnk