“They walked along in that wide, peaceful, whispering hush of the sea that gives every sound, near or far, some mysterious importance.”― Thomas Mann
When I booked my hotel for the weekend away in March I actually thought I was booking a place at a B&B in Poole. It was only when I received an email from the B&B telling me that all the sea view rooms had sold out that I realised that I would actually be going to Weymouth. Still, at the end of March, I packed my bag and set off for the coast. I hadn’t expected to arrive after midnight and did not think to call the B&B to inform them that I would be arriving late. When I eventually got to the B&B, the lights were off with no sign of life. After knocking for a couple of minutes with no answer, I walked up and down for several minutes in the cold night trying to figure out what to do. There was a pub across the road but I decided that I could not spend the night there and that there was no option but to phone the B&B. I woke the poor landlady and probably half of the guests up as the phone rung for quite some time. Understandably she was not happy and reprimanded me for not informing her of my arrival time. I apologised profusely, collected my key and went in search of my room.
Breakfast the following day was between 8.30 and 9.00. I thought it was extremely early for a Saturday and also very short but I woke up early and dragged myself down at 8.30 anyway. When I walked into the breakfast room all but one table was occupied, everyone apart from the waitress looked over 60, and all had food in from of them already. I looked at my watch again wondering if I had got the time wrong, it was 8.31. Clearly, breakfast started earlier than the official start time. Conversation over breakfast was about care work and its challenges, one of the guests was a care worker in two homes, she complained about the long hours and the low pay, the violence and abuse she experienced. It was beginning to get rather depressing when the subject changed to smoke alarms. I am not quite sure why, but everyone kept wondering when it would go off, and kept mentioning it every time Mary the landlady walked into the room. It was clearly a joke they were all in on as they were all repeat guests. Breakfast which was a full English with all the trimmings was massive and tasty. Regardless of what you ordered, Mary served you everything and told you to leave whatever you did not want. Not good if you are a full English fan.
I had intended on having a relaxing weekend catching up with the reading I have been neglecting but instead after chilling on the beach for a little while I found myself walking along the coastal path towards Osmington Mills. There are many walking paths in the area, I chose this one because it is a moderate route and it is predominantly along the coast. I was not disappointed. The route is on footpaths through farmland and around the coast with very little ascent and descent, it was a deserted, at times I walked for what seemed like miles without seeing another person, it was just me and the rhythmic roar of the sea, bliss. Scenic and beautiful as it was, at the back of my mind I couldn’t help thinking that I would be done for if some crazy maniac sprang from the bushes and decided to attack me, even though there were no bushes in sight.
I returned late afternoon and headed to the town centre which is just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. It was buzzing with shoppers of all shapes and sizes and ages most carrying multiple shopping bags. Austerity clearly isn’t getting in the way of retail therapy in Weymouth. I walked around the shops mainly window shopping for an hour or so before my tired legs could not take any more. I made my way back to the beach for a fish and chips dinner and watched the sunset before retiring to the B&B.
Today I joined the morning joggers on the promenade, it was so refreshing to be running by the sea instead of the polluted streets of London. After breakfast, I set off for the side of town that I had not seen the day before. And there were more surprises awaiting me. I started off at Stone Pier which is on the eastern side of Weymouth harbour, it is a popular place for a spot of sea-fishing and normally attracts both locals and visitors. This morning it was nice and quiet so I took my time as a walked along it admiring my beautiful surroundings. From the Pier, I made my way to Nothe Fort one of the must-see visit places in Weymouth. The Fort is a web of underground passageways, filled with displays of all manner of weaponry including guns, cannons as well as cinema areas where you can learn about its history. It is set on three levels and can be accessed easily by lift. From the outdoor areas, you are treated to the stunning views stretching across the horizon and the Jurassic Coast.
I am now seated in Nothe Gardens which is just outside the fort and overlooks both Weymouth and Portland harbours. My train back to London is in an hour so I will spend the next few minutes just soaking the sun and taking in the beauty of nature around me. Weymouth has been such a pleasant surprise. I knew very little about the place and would never have considered it a place for a weekend break. However, here I am wishing I could stay longer. I will miss the views and Mary’s full English. Weymouth is certainly a place I will be returning again. There is a lot more to explore.