Thursday August 30th
Dear Family & Friends,
Here is a blog just about the Isle of Man.. More motorcycles in the next blog…
This week I have really enjoyed learning more about the Isle of Man and exploring the entire island. I have really fallen in love with the island’s beauty and history. I wouldn’t say it is the ideal vacation spot only because the weather is very unpredictable, but it is definitely worth coming here even if your not into the motorcycle racing. It is basically cloudy and rainy interrupted by patches of sunshine. No one comes here for a tan, but if you want to rust it is ideal…
There is lots to see and do here. Douglas the main city has theaters, concerts, good restaurants, and a classy, if not a bit weathered, Victorian air about it. There are also lots of other small towns with castles, ruins, arts and crafts, and LOTS of fish and chips.
The island has a fascinating history. The first known human settlement here was about 10,000 years ago. They must have been a hardy group because it is not always easy to survive here. Harsh weather and isolation make it difficult to live here. Since that time there has been one invasion after another. I am not even sure what they come here to fight over. A lot of it was religion and freedom, not so much for economics. It has not been a wealthy island for most of it’s history.
The main economic drivers in the past were agriculture, some mining later on, and liquor.. seems they brew a lot here. In the 1800s , the Victoria Era, it became a popular vacation spot and became more prosperous. That was its big hey day.. At the local museum they have photos of the Douglas seaside and the buildings and promenades in the late 19th century and it looks pretty much the same today.
One thing that seems to stand out is the Manx people are very proud of their culture and religion and have fought for their individuality for thousands of years. Because the island’s isolation the people that live here have a freedom, culture, and language not found anywhere else. While it is part of the UK it is actually a separate country with it’s own government and currency. It is also a very low tax zone so you get a lot of wealthy people here now days.
Today the big economic drivers are retired wealthy people that move here, tourism, banking, shipping, fishing, and of course the 3 motorcycle races they hold here each year.
The Vikings invaded the island about 1000 years ago and built an outdoor amphitheatre that was used as a Parliament for their government back then and it is still in use today! Once a year the government meets there and announces new laws, meets with the public, and discusses local issues.
We have ridden completely around the island and crossed it several times. The coastal cities are quaint and charming and have lots of history.
In the history of the Isle of Man they have had four different capital cities so different areas of the island have been the focus of development and activity over the years.
One city we visited has a great large stone castle right in the center of town. The city is cleverly named Castle City.
Their are lots of artists and craft shops all over the island.
And of course there are several motorcycle museums spread over the island.
My blog this time just features photos of the island and structures so you can get a feel for it.. The next blog will be back on to motorcycles since there is still much more to report on.
So for IoM photos go to:
Walking along the beach front in Douglas on one of the few relatively sunny afternoons..
Downtown residential area of Douglas.
They light up the beach front at night and it is very pretty, unfortunately this is not a great photo.
The bay in the town of Ramsey..
The Bridge leading to the Manx Museum..
As an island nation they have had a long sea fairing history..
A map of the island. By now I have covered most of it on my motorcycle.
Even the Manx museum covers some of the history of the TT race here. It has been a major factor in the island history for over 100 years.
Some of the more famous riders in the TT are treated like royalty here.
A long military history here too. Seems like EVERY culture and nation has a military component. It is part of the human psyche?
The history of Island humor….
I can speak from first hand experience that the Isle of Man gin is pretty good.. 😉
Some of the local architecture is so classical beautiful!
This is the fort of Peel.. It defended the Isle of Man from invading Irishmen.. Why everyone wanted to invade this island is beyond me.. I guess because it is there.
Another view of the fort at Peel.
This was a village in the inner part of the island. There are valley’s in the mountains with lush forests, quaint villages, and lakes and streams..
Taking break from our afternoon ride across the island.
A Manx Gin and tonic overlooking the patio of our hotel.. I am not much of a drinker but it seems the right thing to do when you are here.. 😉
Lots of history here.
When the suns shines here it certainly is beautiful!
Typical village shopping area in most of the larger towns on the island.
The annual public meeting at the ancient “Parliament”
The perfect license plate for a 911 Porsche on the Isle of Man.. We rode past the island Porsche dealer. It is one of the biggest dealerships I have ever seen. There certainly isn’t enough people on this island to support a dealership that size but because it is a tax free island people come here to buy a car from all over Europe.