Random pairings

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Thanks to the tanking dollar against the rising pound and Euro, accents are plentiful on New England’s slopes, from the Eastern Europeans manning the lifts to the Brits skiing. Bretton Woods, N.H., is no exception. So, I wasn’t surprised, when I struck up a conversation on the Rosebrook Express chair, to hear what sounded like a British accent peppering the reply to my usual conversation opener: “Having a good day?”

I’ve met folks from Newfoundland to Alaska, Bosnia to New Zealand, and I’ve received insider tips from those chance chairlift meetings, but until yesterday, no one had ever replied to my “Where’s home?” question with “The Isle of Man.”

Whoa–I Googled the grade school geography files collecting dust in my brain: Great Britain, no; Ireland, no; Scotland, close; Wales, not really. Hmm, as familiar as I was with the name, I couldn’t pinpoint it on my inner-vision map.

“It’s way out in the Irish Sea,” he said. At least I was somewhat close in my mental ramblings.

Back in my room, I Googled my computer’s brain. Ahhh yes. The 227-square-mile Isle of Man is located between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (roughly midway between Liverpool, England, and Belfast, Ireland). It’s a self-governing kingdom with its own language (Manx) and currency, although English is the spoken language and the pound is accepted. Its parliament, called Tynwald, was founded by the Vikings 1,000 years ago. Who knew? Not me, but I’m intrigued enough to see if I can add it to a travel itinerary the next time I’m in the general area.

But it won’t be for skiing: It doesn’t have a ski resort.

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