170819-Ahhhh

Last night I learned that the Mannanan, the ferry I took from Belfast to the Isle of Man, has run into one of the docks and is out of commission, meaning all ferries are running on a delayed schedule. That meant I would likely arrive late in Liverpool, potentially after dark.

I also had two people recommend the junk story in Jerby and the nearby Jerby Transport Museum. Would have been nice to know that yesterday morning, as Jerby is (relatively) close to Ramsey, and i could have made a loop out of it. Not enough time to get there today before the ferry left.

I awoke to the rumble of motorcycles, as the hordes arrived at the campground for the TT. I took a while packing up, giving the tent a chance to dry out under mostly sunny skies. Wishing the host and my neighbors good-bye, I headed to Douglas and the ferry port to see how the delays might have impacted my journey to Liverpool.

At the port I learned that my ferry would be delayed a couple of hours. While that could prove problematic to getting to the hostel during daylight, it also offered an opportunity – could I get to Jerby? Given the terrain and winds, I couldn’t cycle there and back (and have time to do anything), and be certain I’d make the ferry. I stopped by the rail station, but the trains only run on the east coast, and I needed to get to the far north west. The trains are tourist trains (steam to the south, and the electric tram from yesterday to the north), and no bicycle to make the jump from Ramsey. Undeterred, I headed to Tourist Information to see about a bus. The ladies at Tourist Information were skeptical. I would have to change buses, and those delays meant I would only barely make it back. They said they were not responsible if it didn’t work. But if I could make it from Vienna to Brasov, Romania in a day across plane, train, bus and automobile, surely I could handle a couple of bus transfers across the day, right?

Leaving my trusty steed behind, I boarded the bus, and make an easy transfer to Jerby. Jerby isn’t much of a town, with a prison as its main feature. Jerby Junk (and used bookstore) is a tourist legend, piled high with detrius. It’s closing its doors this year after 40 years in business.

From there it was a short walk to the Transport Museum (which had a lot of parallels to Jerby Junk), a collection of old cars and buses in various states of repair.

While waiting for the bus from Jerby, I struck up a conversation with another traveler making the same excursion. He and I talked while we waited. I caught the return bus(es) on-time, and arrived back in Douglas with time to spare. I hunted up lunch, wandered the main pedestrian area, and did a little shopping before heading back to the port.

Boarding was uneventful, lining up behind the motorcycles as usual. As we boarded I noticed we were again boarding the Mannanan, the ferry theoretically damaged the other day! Hmm. They also warned that the seas were exceptionally rough, but I passed the time watching Despicable Me 2 (I’d watched Dr. Strange on the journey over), and hardly noticed.

I also had time to view the news. Looks like tomorrow’s weather should be ok until late afternoon, perfect for exploring Liverpool. The rest of the week looks great (not that weather forecasts so far have had a hard time predicting four hours ahead, much less four days!).

People often ask me how much I plan a trip, and my response is typically a cavalier, “I once bought a map in the airport.”. And that’s true. But a more accurate statement would be that I don’t plan much before I leave. I pack according to The List, and I usually print out an 8 x 11 piece of paper with various notes scribbled on it of places (mostly castles) that fall along my route. Once I’m on the road however. I suspect that if you add up all the planning time, my planning vastly surpasses that of the average traveler. Every days I’m trying to look forward to what’s coming next. At the same time I’m trying to factor in weather, distances, terrain, and various other things that impact my day.

I was shocked by the cost of this hostel in Liverpool ($30) when I made the reservation, but it cost about the same as other local hostels. Fortunately, I hadn’t realized that rate was only the first (Saturday) night, and then reverts to the usual $15 or so. At Reception they said that’s the pattern for all of the hostels in Liverpool; Saturday nights just happen to be expensive. While this isn’t the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed at, it’s in very good company.

The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) are consistently “nicer” that the independent hostels. Larger, and a bit more homogenized than the quirkier independent hostels, which have a lot more character. This hostel has a full kitchen (and serves a full breakfast). There’s a bike shed, self-serve laundry facilities, and my 6-person room has its own “private” bathroom and shower. My roommates are from Belfast, Poland, and Hong Kong.

“Authentic” English pub music – I’ve been Through the Desert on a Horse with No Name.

I miss the lost conversation due to travelers all having smart devices.

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