02.10.2016 - 07.10.2016 16 °C
On Sunday morning, we departed Torquay and soon wished we hadn't. We had planned to stop in Plymouth for some lunch, but a large roundabout and too much traffic forced us into making alternate plans very quickly. The back up plan became Plympton (practically the same thing, yeah?) and the target destination changed to the castle - or what remained of it. Unfortunately the streets surrounding the castle were exceptionally narrow (even by English standards) and Warwick Capperccino was renamed Warwick Scrapperccino after getting a little too close to one of the walls. Oh well - that's what travel insurance is for, right? We admired the views from the former castle, and then wandered the streets of Plympton aimlessly, ending up at a pub that just turned out to do the best Sunday roast we've had on our travels so far. With excellent Yorkshire puddings, too - even though I thought we were a bit too far south for that sort of thing...
With full tummies we continued our quest to Penzance, and soon found our apartment. No pirates to be seen, unfortunately, but apart from that it was quite satisfactory. The absolute highlight of the day was the discovery of Netflix in our flat, and the discovery of an as yet unwatched season of Gavin & Stacey. Lush.
We continued our Cliched Foods of the South tour on Monday, and enjoyed a Cornish pasty in, well, Cornwall. We walked from Penzance along the South West Coast Path to Mousehole and back again, enjoying the sunshine and the wind, the sea views and the squirrels, and all the happy little dogs taking their owners for a walk. Mousehole reminded us a little of Stromness, with its sea breeze and narrow streets that seemed highly unsuitable for vehicles. It was a little bit different though, in that there were trees and the houses weren't all grey. We returned home and finished off Gavin & Stacey and counted that as another successful day.
The success continued on Tuesday - the rain that had been forecast miraculously turned into wind instead, which made us MUCH more inclined to stop watching episodes of Making a Murderer and get out into the Cornish countryside. First stop - Minack Theatre. Or the carpark thereof. We didn't actually check out the theatre, but we did ooh and aah appreciatively at the beach right beside it - because no self respecting nink pays £4.50 to go to a theatre when there's no show on. Plus we were more entertained by the tourists in thongs and Simpsons pyjamas who followed us down the steps to the beach.
We then toured via Land's End very briefly - long enough to pose with the sign, but not long enough to pay six pounds for the privilege of parking at an amusement centre. From there we carried on to St Ives, where we were gifted some free parking by a departing parker, which gave us enough time to enjoy a coffee and a salted caramel milkshake which then also meant we had enough change to pay for parking for the rest of the afternoon.
We spent the time admiring the beach, watching the surf school participants and trying desperately not to be blown off the hill while seal-spotting with a man who seemed to think that Finding Nemo was filmed in Hollywood and not computer generated at all. We wandered the streets a little, declared that St Ives was a Cornish Port Fairy and then set off home again.
The next day we took ourselves (and our discount coupons) off to the Eden Project, a place where the carparks are named after fruits, much to our amusement. It proved to be an excellent place to spend the day, wandering around the gardens, the biodomes and the exhibits. We had a tour of the rainforest dome (undoubtedly the warmest and most humid place in all of Cornwall), listened to stories of Dionysus (and learned to put our grapes in the freezer), had free samples of tea, activated a ginormous nut-cracker and watched an apple pressing demonstration (apparently it's harder NOT to make cider than it is to make cider). All in all - a rather informative day out! We capped the evening off with a trip to the laundromat and baked sweet potatoes for dinner. Smashing.
On Thursday we got another section of the South West Coast Path under our belts, this time walking from Penzance to Marazion and then across to St Michael's Mount. The wind was fairly fierce, and Simon was glad that he had heeded my advice to wear his long pants instead of his shorts. I probably should have capitalised more on the whole 'being right' phenomenon, but I was busy trying not to be blown off course myself.
When we reached Marazion, we had to wait about fifteen minutes for the path across to The Mount to appear. Obviously the ocean didn't check the website that had said the causeway would be accessible from 12.45pm, and we opted to wait and keep our feet dry rather than splash our way through. Once on the island, we managed to find a sheltered picnic spot for our cheese sandwiches - such luxury! We enjoyed a tour around the village from one of the locals, and had a cream tea to round out the experience. I think you need a certain personality and a certain sense of humour to want to live on a place that is cut off from the mainland for eight out of every twelve hours. We didn't bother with the castle - we'd seen so many for free that we couldn't justify £9 each for this one. Instead, we treated ourselves to dinner out at the meadery. Which sounded like a simple proposition - go to the meadery, have dinner, right? Wrong. It went more like this: follow the sign to the meadery, find a restaurant sign that led to the top floor of a building, go to top floor to find restaurant closed, curse Vodafone for not having internet reception when we need it, pace up and down along the harbour trying to get TripAdvisor to load, call the meadery and get directions, walk back the way we came, sit down, eat. Phew. Thankfully the meadery served fruit wine (the peach stuff was scrummy) and chicken and chips. Which was exactly what I wanted after a big walk and a dash of confusion. Absolutely hit the spot.
On Friday morning we farewelled Penzance, and made our final stop in Cornwall - Padstow. Padstow tricked me initially by promising a food festival that was, in fact, several weeks ago, but all was forgiven when we saw the beautiful coastline. Such 'Escape to the Country' type views. Every man and his dog was there, either walking along the beach or strolling through town and eating a pasty from one of the sixtythree bakeries selling the 'best' pasties. Another Port Fairy-esque town, full of tourists and seachangers and Rick Stein devotees. Our parking money used up, it was time to move on from Padstow and farewell Cornwall - just as the rain started. Definitely our cue to leave.