August 15th-18th, 2003


In August Dave and I finally made it over to the Southwestern most tip of the UK. That area of the world is called Cornwall and is very pretty. We took the train from London to Penzance Friday morning (5 1/2 hours) so that we could have a long weekend at the coast. Since we finally decided to make the trip Thursday night, we didn't have long to pack! A few items of clothes in Dave's backpack along with a couple of sandwiches for lunch and we were off!

The first Bed and Breakfast we stayed in Friday night had beautiful flowers on every available square inch of the yard. The rooms were light and airy with flowers and pastels. Dave thought it was a little too girly for his likings!
flowers at B&B room at B&B

For orientation, that afternoon we walked around the town and walked along the beach. The beach directly in front of the town center is pebbles. We picked a nice spot and relaxed to watch the clouds go by. There were a few kids playing in the water and a couple walking their dog, but much too cold for me to go into the water!

Feeling a little peckish (That's hungry for those who don't speak the Queen's English!), we decided to go off in search of dinner. A purely scientific approach, we picked the restaurant because they had a cute little decoration that blew bubbles into the street. Of course, the menu looked good too! It was a little Spanish restaurant that served tapas. Since it was still a little early, the place was empty except for on other table. However, every single table had a reserved sign on it! The waitress told us that we could sit at a little couch in the bar area and still eat dinner. Turns out the place was booked because Friday night is live jazz night after 7:30! The couch suited us fine, as we were in no hurry and usually eat on the couch at home too! So we ordered a glass of red wine, a beer, and appetizer plate and settled in for the evening. The food and jazz band were good. The dessert was really good! Anyway, full and tired, we wandered back to the B&B to turn in for the night.

Saturday morning, we ate the full English Breakfast (eggs, ham, sausage, boiled tomato and mushrooms, and toast) and headed off to the bike store. We planned to rent bicycles for the day and ride out to Lands End (about 10 miles away). On the way to the bike store, we saw a used bike outside a used furniture store that was really cheap! I rode it around a little, tried the brakes, raised the seat, and decided to buy it! Little did I know what I was getting myself into! The B&B owner let us borrow a bicycle route map for the area and directed us on the best roads to take. Our main objective was to see Lands End and the Minack Theater (round trip about 20-25 miles). He told us about one big hill (which was really long and steep), but it seemed like the hills never ended! However, the scenery was absolutely beautiful!

First stop on our ride was Sennen Cove. A big sandy beach and lunch! Yeah!!!! I had the seafood casserole and Dave had lasagne. It was nice to relax on a bench and enjoy the sights!
Sennen Cove beach Sennen Cove

After lunch it was back on the road again! We had to ride up this hill to get back on the trail to Lands End, which was no easy task after eating lunch! (Don't tell anyone, but I walked my bike up a lot of this hill.)
on road from Sennen Cove

All of our ride so far was on the road, but this part to Lands End was on a sandy trail. Nice to be away from the cars, but a little bumpy.
trail to Lands End trail to Lands End
trail to Lands End

Ah, we finally made it to Lands End! This is the beginning and end of the UK! The area is setup totally for tourists. There are gift shops, little amusement rides, and picture taking. We sampled some of the fine Cornish Fudge while we were there!
Lands End sign Lands End directions
Looking down from suspension bridge Suspension Bridge Lands End -ship that ran aground
Lands End house

Back on the road again, we headed toward the Minack Theater. This was the last scheduled must see stop for me before we headed home! I had seen this place on the internet and I was really exicited about going there. They actually have shows at night, but the show playing for that night didn't seem that interesting. The place was built into the granite cliffs in the 1930's. Oh and I strongly recommend trying the lemon cake at the cafe there! It was excellent!!!
Minack Theater -looking at stage Minack Theater -looking at stage
Minack Theater -standing on stage Minack Theater -standing on stage
Minack Theater -seats Minack Theater -rocks below theater

There are my artistic pictures!
Minack Theater -pretty flowers Minack Theater -seaside

To the right of the theater and down the cliff side lies Porthcurno Beach. This was a really, really pretty beach! It was already getting late for riding back to Penzance, but I was dying to see the beach. Plus I didn't mind a little rest since my legs were tired of cycling. So we took the short detour and spent a few precious moments with our feet in the sand!
Porthcurno Beach Porthcurno Beach Porthcurno Beach

The ride back to the B&B went a little quicker then I thought. We had to hurry before it got dark, so I tried not to think about it. I pulled the little walkman out of my bag and listened to music in one earpiece to take my mind off the riding. Then we trudged up hill and sped down! That night at dinner I could bearly keep my eyes open!

Sunday morning I was in no hurry to get back on the bike. We ate a late breakfast, relaxed a while and then headed off to St. Michael's Mount. The Mount is actually an island for part of the day, depending on the tides. The interesting thing is that as low tide approaches the water goes down and a pathway materializes! It was the neatest thing I've ever seen! We got there around noon (low tide's at 3:00pm) and the Mount was surrounded by water. There were little ferry boats taking tourists back and forth. Then around 1:00pm you could start to see a few stepping stones and it almost looked like people were walking on water. As time passed, a full stone path was uncovered and then more and more of the sand surrounding the area. The green along the path is actually seaweed plants. Before low tide the water came almost up to the seawall beside the houses.
St. Michael's Mount St. Michael's Mount pathway

Originally the castle on the island was a Benedictine priory built in the twelfth century. It witnessed many military seiges over the years. Then in 1660 it became the home of the St. Aubyn family and finally a Property of The National Trust. It was neat to learn the history on the castle tour and to see some of the canons still standing around the walls.
St. Michael's Mount Castle St. Michael's Mount Castle

On the day we visited, the gardens were open to the public. We actually walked all the way around the island on a small trail halfway up the mount. The terracing and walkways up to the castle were beautiful.
St. Michael's Mount terrace

You really have to be careful where you park your boat around here!!!
St. Michael's Mount marina

Hungry for a late lunch, we abandoned the island in favor of a pasty shop! Pasty's are like big Hot Pockets. They are a lite flaky pastry filled with meat and potatoes, or cheese, or chicken and veggies, or whatever other combination you can think up. The most common filling is meat (like beef hamburger or lamb) and potato. Anyway, we got a couple of these and sat on the seawall to eat. Afterward we headed back to the B&B for some tea on the front porch.

On Monday the bad traveling kharma hit! We boarded our train in the afternoon with our bag of snacks and books. About halfway home the train conductor announces on the loudspeaker that there is a stalled train on the tracks up ahead so we have to stop and wait. Of course, we weren't the first in line either, so we'd wait even longer! What should have been a 5 hour ride turned into an 8 hour ride. We pulled into London at 2 am! However, the train company did do a really good job getting all of us into a taxi for free to go home. Oh well, we can catch up on our sleep later!

The island End

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