Isle of Wight

It’s a complete change of pace for our next adventure. This time we’re not heading too far, just a few days in the Isle of Wight. Not quite as exotic as we’ve become used to . . .

First up is an evening in the largest town on the island – Ryde. It’s where the ferry arrives and also has an rather exciting hovercraft!! It’s known as “The Gateway to the Island”.

Ryde has all the attractions of a traditional British seaside resort, including the museum of saucy postcards . .  and of course a chippie.

As usual I snout out anything closely resembling street art for a quick snap.

Ryde pier offers the chance for some refreshing sea air but you have to contend with cars in the same space.

The pier is an early 19th-century pier and is apparently the world’s oldest seaside pleasure pier. There’s no arcades on it but there is a quaint little railway station.

Here’s a few random snaps of the pier including a social statement and a few signs that caught my eye.

In the distance you can see a passenger ferry and I am enjoying the greenish hue of the sea.

Next up we’re heading to our woodland cabin for a few nights and will explore more of this little seaside island.

Biting the bullet

Finally it’s come to the defining Japanese moment that the train geek man has been waiting for for months . . .  our first bullet train!!

These super slick, pointy nosed, high speed beasts criss-cross Japan at jaw dropping speeds.

There’s no time for dilly dallying, hence the sight of cleaners lined up ready and waiting for the train to arrive. They then dive on and whizz around tidying up before exiting and bowing to the waiting passengers.

Bullet trains are also known as Shinkansen trains and can reach up to 320 km per hour – that’s 200 miles per hour.

Trains can be up to seventeen cars long. With each car measuring 25 m / 82 ft in length, the longest trains are 400 m  end to end, that’s quarter of a mile!

As with everything in Japan, trains stations and timetables run like clockwork.

The florescent stripes you can see on the floor indicate first and second class queues.

But even more organised is the fact that the floor also shows the exact spot that your carriage will stop at.

You simply stand there and wait . . the Japanese are almost as fanatical about queuing as us Brits!

I am particularly fascinated to see that the train seats rotate themselves around to make sure that people are always facing in the direction of travel!

Below is a short video of the super speedy cleaners in action whisking around and sprucing up the carriages during a quick stop before we board.

We actually spotted a railway cleaner “waxing on and waxing off”! no word of a lie!

 

Throughout the trip we rattle around on bullets several times and we bought a Japan Rail Pass to save money.

For any train buffs out there, in total our bullet train trips were:

  • JR Shinkansen TOHOKU from Ueno Station to Utsunomiya Station, we then transferred to the JR Nikko Line to get to Nikko National park
  • Shinkansen HIKARI train to Nagoya and then we transferred to the Ltd. Express (wide view) Hida to Takayama.The wide view Hida has deep windows that give you a panoramic view of the stunning scenery.

    hida

  • Ltd. Express (wide view) Hida from Takayama to Nagoya
  • Shinkansen HIKARI from Nagoya to Shin KobeShinkansen_Hikari
  • Shinkansen SAKURA 553 from Shin Kobe to Hiroshimasakura
  • Shinkansen HIKARI 460 from Hiroshima to Shin Osaka
  • Shinkansen HIKARI 504 Shin Osaka to Kyoto
  • Shinkansen HIKARI 531 Kyoto – Shin Osaka.