Douglas, Isle of Man, United Kingdom: Three important things to know here. First of all, the name of this city is officially pronounced “Dool-ish” though most people don’t care about that. Second, this island off the northwest coast of England, about a four-hour ferry ride from Liverpool, is so individualistic they don’t consider themselves part of England. They even have their own currency which is based on the British standard but has its own artwork and name on it. Third but certainly not last, the people here are so friendly and love their isolated duchy so much they’ll literally take you on a tour of it- any excuse to get outside.
So it was with our whirlwind visit to the Isle of Man, the thousand-year-old home (they claim) of the longest-standing legislative body in the world (Iceland makes the same claim). Upon arriving, we went right to Quid’s Inn, accidently ran into Andy the manager, and accepted his invitation to take us around the southern end of the island the next day on his boat.
The weather here is predictably damp, cloudy, and cool. So it was a good thing I brought a raincoat (mac), waterproof pants and socks, hat and an extra pair of shoes that will take a day just to dry out. Andy took us around Castletown, the national wildlife refuge that’s home to thousands of seals, birds, and other creatures, and to caves, crevasses, and other features of the isle’s landscape. Our only regret is that we couldn’t stay longer than two days. If you really want to enjoy the English countryside in a strange, mystical, and totally fun atmosphere, here’s the place to do it.