Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Weekend in Cornwall

Where to begin?!

Although our weekend started off with a rough travel day on Friday, the next two days that followed were more than I could have hoped for.

To make a long story short, our plans went a little off kilter.
Day 1 went a little something like this... (Feel free to skim past to the good stuff, I just feel like I need to tell the whole story!)

- (7 am) Bus from University of Sussex to Brighton Coach Station
-Brighton Coach station bus (delayed about 10 minutes) to London Victoria Coach station
-Then, we thought it would be easy to walk from Victoria to Paddington train station, but after a bus driver and a Royal Mail driver gave us questioning raised eyebrows, we hopped the tube instead.
-The train was delayed at Paddington about 10 minutes, and we were swept in a rush of anxious travelers to our seats.
-After 3 hours of a full train of loud, raucous, laughing drinkers (probably a stag party), our train stalled and stopped for 30 plus minutes.
-We were off again, but not for long, until our train broke down for good just past Truro station. For whatever reason, the train had just enough power to back us up into the station and let out all the confused passengers.
-Attendants said "I don't know" repeatedly and pointed us at bus stops with lines that had actually stopped running a few hours ago, told us there might be another train coming to take us the rest of the way, and shrugged their shoulders. Finally, Karina and I fed up and exhausted, found two lovely old British women to split a cab with us to take us the rest of the way. It had been such a long day and we were more than ready to take a hot shower and fall into bed.
-Our dilapidated, dirty hostel was not what we had in mind (to say the least--I'll keep all the gory details under wraps), so we hit the streets looking for any open room. I now know what Mary and Joseph went through. Word of advice: don't try to look for a hotel room at 8 on a friday night in the middle of July in an beach town.
-By some stroke of luck, we found THE last rooms in town, just for the night and collapsed, after a 13 plus hour travel day.
-The next day, it was off to the neighboring town of Falmouth where we found, once again, what seemed like the last available room in all of Cornwall. Then, the real vacation began...just a day late, and a little off the original X on the map.

Phew! It makes me tired to even recount all of that, but I am so very grateful for the next few days Karina and I spent together.

I had visions of the county of Cornwall, situated in the southwestern most tip of England, since watching About Time a few months ago. (I highly recommend it to anyone that hasn't seen it yet, by the way!) Although England is a part of the island of Great Britain, and it's location is fondly known as "across the pond," the country definitely isn't well known for it's ocean beaches. However, Cornwall challenges all of that. People were swimming, surfing, paddle boarding and boating everywhere we went, and the views were incredible!

We were blessed with sunshine the entire time we were there, even through threatening thunderstorms in the south of the county. Anyone that knows me knows I love the ocean, rain or shine. Cloudy, stormy Newport or tropical Hawaii--I'm there.

This was the hotel that saved us in St Ives:

 Thank you to our lovely hotel managers who fed us hot breakfast and tea, gave us advice and directions for the rest of our journey!

Day 2:
We spent the morning in St. Ives relaxing on the beach until taking the bus to Falmouth.
The climate was so markedly different here and so were the flowers. There were especially beautiful hydrangeas in a variety of bright colors!

The Harbor
Smiling again :)

Seagulls and sandcastles :)

This was the first time we visited a sand beach in England. Most have rocks instead!

We arrived in Falmouth without a hitch, (thank goodness!) and we spent the afternoon exploring the beaches and the docks.
Our hotel here was another saving grace. Give me some English tea and a hot shower and I'm a happy camper :)
Our room was in the front of the building with a large bay window overlooking the neighborhood with the harbor in the background.

The houses in Falmouth were different than those in other small towns. They had a distinctly nautical feel, with stucco walls and bright plants.

 Although I'm not entirely sure what this alien/ape is, we liked the message :)
 Queen Mary Gardens

 View out on the water at Gyllyngvase Beach.

 After eating out take away dinner on the harbor as the sun came down.

Day 2: 
Filled with another full breakfast and tea from our hotel, we started out early to hike out to Pendennis Point and Pendennis Castle. The castle is an English Heritage site, built by Henry VI as an artillery fortress for nationwide defense. It was active until World War II, in use from 1539-1956! Although we didn't pay to go in, we were able to see the castle and fortress grounds.

You can actually rent these cottages to stay in once the castle is closed for the day!

The castle fortress built by Henry VI

I can't help it with all the hydrangeas--too pretty!
Past the castle was Pendennis point. The sky was clear,  and the warm breeze was perfect for all the sailboats dotting the sea.

Another piece of the fortress left over, along the point where it meets the ocean.

A window in the fortress. 

Lunch time was time to find our own little slice of heaven between the rocks and sand. We sat for hours having heart to hearts, watching the sea, and crisping our skin under the sun.

What's amazing about Falmouth is how it's situated between the ocean, harbor and lush pastoral hills. It has everything!

The perfect way to spend a day!
We walked back into town to visit the harbor again and eat some delicious Cornish Whippy. 
It may just be ice cream, but something about this soft, sweet treat is undeniably unique and delicious.

When in Cornwall, there are a few famous bits of fine cuisine that must be sampled. Fish and Chips and Cornish Pasty. Well, maybe not so "fine" but very delicious. Karina grabbed takeaway from the famous Rick Steins Fish and Chips, and I opted for a vegetarian pasty. Rick Steins (we learned after googling) is a celebrated chef and author with the fame of a Food Network star.
Karina did say it was the best fish and chips she has had, so Stein's must be famous for a reason :)
My pasty creamy, flaky and delicious. These are traditionally made with a gravy laden mix of beef and potato, but Pasty Presto's vegetarian version was chock full of peppers, corn and potatoes. Yum!

All in all, we ended up having an amazing weekend. What's life without a few bumps along the road anyway? :)  I am desperately in love with you Cornwall, I'll be back! 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Young Traveler- Where to begin for sure! Wanted to thank you for sharing the rough travel day stuff too. England was beginning to sound like Heaven and I fear we all were going to have to move there! NEAR perfect is ...better!:) You paint such a picture with your posts.... I have such a good time reading along....waiting to see whats next!. But I was laughing so hard when you refered to Mary and Joseph's journey I nearly feel off my chair!!! Knowing EXACTLY what you guys must of felt like. If a picture truely says a thousand words..."Smiling Again " said two thousand!:) No matter how much you talk about many pictures you post...I am continually amazed at the beauty and the history all around you . Henry The VI castle...used from 1539-1956! AND still standing today...WOW. I'm crazy about all the Hydrangeas, the way the city is built up along the water, the port and" The Cornish Whippy"... Gotta love that! I totally see why you are " Despartely in love with Corwall ". Continued Blessings and love to you Puppet as Your Summer in England unfolds!