A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Garden of Eden

First day in Falmouth and we decided to take it easy. After all the driving yesterday, we left the car parked all day today and started with a walk around the town. It's a sweet medium sized town and harbour. There's lots of art galleries and craft shops selling pieces by local artists. Like most Cornish towns it is very steep and there are steps and hills everywhere, including the cottage we are renting. It is on three levels. As you come in the front door you walk into the kitchen, from there you either go up a flight of very steep stairs to the bedrooms and bathroom, or you go down a very steep set of stairs to the lounge and the outside courtyard. The problem is if you are downstairs in the lounge you have to go up to the third level to go to the loo. After a week here we will have buns of steel!!

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We tasted the delights of traditional Cornish pasties for lunch then took a leisurely boat trip along the Fal river. We both love being on the water and the scenery was beautiful. There are some gorgeous houses along the river and it was peaceful just sitting there in the sun watching the sites pass by.

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After jumping off the boat it was time for a afternoon cream team.....life is just so hard!!
We stayed in and had dinner at home and an early night.

Next morning it was back into the car as we decided to visit a couple of the little fishing villages and also see the Eden Project.
First off we went to Mevagissey. A picturesque fishing village, with more steep narrow lanes filled with shops and cafes.

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Polperro is another fishing village on the south east Cornish coast. Again, like most of these villages it is steep and narrow. Although they are still working fishing villages, there is a big focus on tourism as a major industry and they cater to the tourists with all the souvenir shops. People come to see the traditional fishing villages but the vast majority of the people staying in the villages are now visitors and the locals move away.

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The Eden Project is about 5 miles outside St Austell. It took about 2 1/2 years to create and opened in 2001.
It has biomes (plastic domes) that house plants from all around the world. One biome replicates the rainforest environment the other replicates the Mediterranean. They are fascinating and the plants are amazing as are the outside flower beds. There is a wild flower garden that has a myriad of colours. It looks as though a rainbow has shattered and all it's colours fell in shards to the earth.

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We headed back home to await the arrival of my brother and his family. They are coming to spend the weekend with us, but because of the kids being at school could not leave until late afternoon. I haven't seen them for 4 years so really looking forward to spending a couple of days together. We are staying with them for our last week as well, but nice for us to all be away together.

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7 Go Wild in Cornwall

After a big hearty fry up we packed our beach clothes, buckets and spades, stocked up with lashings of ginger beer (not really) and headed for the golden sandy beaches of Fistral and Newquay. These are two of the main surfing beaches and you can hire boards if you want to try your luck at riding the waves of the wild Atlantic ocean (we didn't!).
Summer (my 4 year old niece) had great fun building sand castles.
We scoured the rock pools for fish and crabs and Ted (my brother) even managed to catch a couple of fish, which he put in the bucket to show us before he and Summer went to put them back in the rock pool.
It was really warm but the wind off the ocean made it a bit nippy at times.
Once we got off the actual beach and wandered around the town, it was really quite warm. Certainly warm enough to have some Cornish ice cream!!

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We drove back to Falmouth and decided to have some fish 'n' chips. Falmouth has a Rick Steins fish restaurant, we'd tried to book a table but they run it on a first come first served basis. We were lucky that just as we arrived a large group were leaving so we only had to wait a couple of minutes while they cleared the table. I was worried that it might have been a bit disappointing and hyped up, but it really was good food.

Back home and a couple of drinks - I've discovered pear cider mmmmmm - then it was time to hit the hay.

It was a late start in the morning. We spent the morning wandering around Falmouth then headed north and stopped off in Fowey for some lunch.

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Ted and Susan walked up to the car park while we waited in the harbour for them. When they arrived there was only one car. Ted had forgot to get his car keys from Steph. We all piled into the one car, which meant Teddy had to get in the boot. We could hear him sliding around each time we turned a corner, particularly the steep, sharp ones, of which there were many!! We made it back to the car park safely, with Teddy in one piece and the family headed off home. It was going to be a 6 hour drive for them, so they couldn't stay too late. We'll see them again in another couple of weeks.

Once they'd left we decided to drive through Bodmin Moor and head to Jamaica Inn. It's an old coaching house built around 1750. Most famous for the Daphne Du Maurier book of the same name, which has been made into a film and a tv series. I read the book when I was a teenager and wanted to see where poor Mary Yellen was sent to live with her Aunt Patience. It is a still an Inn but also has a smuggling museum. The Inn is reputed to be haunted and run "ghost hunt" evenings and weekends. It was also featured on the TV programme Britain's Most Haunted.

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We set off across the Moor again, this time heading for the north west coast and the ruins of Tintagel Castle. This is of course the place where King Arthur was conceived - historical fact not Arthurian legend!!! It's a dramatic and atmospheric place, with the wild and windy Atlantic smashing its waves against the rocks.

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On the way back to Falmouth we passed through Port Isaac, better known as Portwenn form TV's Doc Martin. It was also used for filming the Poldark series back in the 1970's. My mum was addicted to Poldark and we watched it religiously every week. It's fascinating to see the places you've watched for years on TV.

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End of The World

We only have two days left in Cornwall and still so much left to see. Today we decided to drive along the south coast. He headed first of all to The Lizard, the southern most point of mainland Britain. There was very few people around and it was so peaceful. All you could hear was the waves crashing against the cliffs and the sound of the gulls. It was a lovely clear day and you could see for miles.

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We went further along the coast to St Michaels Mount. When the tide is out you can walk to the island via the causeway, however when we arrived the tide was in and the causeway flooded, so access is only by boat. We caught the boat across and decided that instead of climbing up to the castle we would relax over a cream tea in the gardens - tough decision. The Mount is owned by the St Aubyun family and they still live in the castle. The National trust run the visitor access, but the family's private rooms are not accessible. After our strenuous tea we took a boat ride around the island to get a good view of the castle. The local fisherman who took us told us the stories of smuggling associated throughout the years to the island and also pointed out the smugglers cave. The island still has an underground railway that runs to the mainland and is still used to transport goods to the island. By the time we got back to the island the tide had gone out enough for us to walk back to the mainland across the causeway.

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We planned to stop off at Penzance but after driving around for a while we couldn't find anywhere to park so we went on to Mousehole instead. Guess what Mousehole is? Surprisingly enough it's a small fishing village, not many of those in Cornwall! It was destroyed in 1595 by the Spanish and rebuilt in the succeeding years. More recently the local population has declined and it has become an area used as second homes and weekend houses. We stopped in one of the local pubs for lunch, where I had a rather lovely ploughman's lunch.

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After lunch we visited the Minack theatre. Built by hand by Rowena Cade and her gardener, the Minack theatre is built into the cliff-side that surrounds Rowena Cade's house overlooking Porthcurno Bay. It is an amazing place and incredible to think it was built almost single handedly by a "frail old woman" Rowena Cade continued to work on building the theatre up until her mid eighties. There is a story that she had carried three 15ft wooden beams that had washed ashore from a shipwreck up from the beach to the top of the cliffs and used them for the theatre. Whilst back on the beach looking for more wreckage she was approached by customs officials. She told them she had taken some salvage up the cliff, however they didn't believe it could be what they were looking for as there was no way a little old woman like her could have lifted the timber, let alone carry it up the cliff. So the didn't bother going to check and she used the wood for the theatre. They still have plays running and on the day we were there the actors were rehearsing for "The Death of Sherlock Holmes" We would have loved to have stayed and watched but we didn't have enough time.

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Now it was back on the road and off to Lands End. I think we all know what and where Lands End is. We declined paying an extortionate amount of money to have our photo taken next to the sign post, but took in the beautiful scenery and took a walk along the cliff top before heading back to the car and St Ives.

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St Ives was our last stop for today. Again another fishing village. A bit bigger than many of the others though and has both a harbour and a surfing beach. It also has a bigger choice of cultural pastimes and has a branch of the Tate gallery here. It still has the steep, narrow street like the other villages we visited.

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Lost Gardens and the Mud Maid

Last day in Cornwall today and we didn't want to be rushing around everywhere like we did yesterday. Just two stops today. First up was spending the morning at the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Home to the Tremayne family for over 400 years the estate went into decline during the early years of the 20th Century after WWI. Rediscovered and restored in the 1990's it's now one of the most visited gardens in the UK. The grounds are divided into various types and styles of gardens including a woodland walk (my favourite) a flower garden, jungle and Italian Garden. In amongst the woodlands they have constructed mud sculptures, the most amazing is the Mud Maid. We spent all morning wandering around the various gardens and rambling through the woodlands.

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We drove back to Falmouth and parked the car, had a little wander then caught the ferry to St Mawes. To drive to St Mawes is about an hours drive, but there is a ferry that runs once an hour from Falmouth, which is far more relaxing. It has a castle that was built by Henry VIII along with Pendennis Castle in Falmouth between 1539 and 1545 to protect the coastline against invasion. It's yet another of Cornwall's myriad of pretty villages, many with thatched roofs. We stopped here for a leisurely walk and some lunch before catching the return ferry back to Falmouth.

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We went back to the house and packed ready for an early start the next morning, then treated ourselves to dinner and a bottle of wine in a lovely restaurant on the harbour. How very unlike us!!

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Donkey Hotty

All packed up and on the road by 9am. We need to be in the Cotswolds by 5pm latest to pick up the keys to our apartment so we're just gonna have one stop on the way, the historic Devon village of Clovelly. The whole village is heritage listed and cars aren't allowed into the village. The street down to the village is very steep and cobbled so not the easiest to walk on. It's so steep that for years the residents went up and down the streets on donkeys. They still have the donkeys but they no longer use them for heavy loads. Now all goods are taken down to the village via sledge.

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As we walked down the cobbled bob sleigh track we were passed by sweating, panting, purple faced people who'd left started the trip back up the ski slope three day before. Panic started to set in!!

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We wandered around for a while, putting off the trip back and eyeing the donkeys, wondering if we could steal a couple to get back up when we noticed a sign that said we could get a land-rover ride back to the top from the harbour. Guess how we made it back????

Once back in the car we set off for the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds are located in west, central England and cover areas of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Apparently the word "cotswold" translates to "sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides" hmmm
The whole area was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, so we are looking forward to spending the next week there. We're also looking forward to our apartment. We booked something a "bit special" for this week and once we arrived we were certainly not disappointed. Our apartment is wonderful. It has every luxury mod con you could dream of, and a couple I'd never thought of! We have a TV that comes out of the ceiling in the bedroom, a denon sound system in the bathroom, air con hidden behind art work, remote control lighting and my favourite, a self closing toilet seat and lid (I want one for the new house!!)

We went to one of the local pubs for dinner and a couple of drinks, then sunk into our 1800 pocket spring bed zzzzzzzzzzzz

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