Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cornwall: Bodmin Moor!

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Every day this vacation is receding further from my mind, seemingly at a faster and faster pace. I've got to hurry and post about it or I might never!

Bedknobs Bed & Breakfast in Bodmin

All three of us stayed in a two-bedroom apartment at Bedknobs Bed & Breakfast. We arrived a bit late but both of the proprietors greeted us and spent plenty of time with us showing us everything and suggesting things to do the next day. They also helped us find a place to eat since we arrived right before most places stopped serving food, and called in for us to get a table! The apartment was really fantastic. The first bedroom was enormous - probably the size of our whole living room - but the second bedroom was even twice that! The living room was also huge and there were two TVs, one in the living room and another in the bigger bedroom. The bathroom didn't have a standing shower (they're going to add one soon) but it DID have a BATHTUB!! I enjoyed it thoroughly. They also have some really nice soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner in the rooms. (And you can buy some of it too.) Breakfast was fantastic. I was already getting sick of the full English breakfast by then so I tried the porridge with brown sugar and clotted cream. I ended up getting that the second day too. Also, the first night I slept the best I have in ages.

They gave us an Ordnance Survey map for the area with a route showing tons of old rocks and things and reviewed it all with us so we could plan out our day. With that, we were off!

Some cool stuff we saw at Bodmin Moor

We made our way through the moor toward a town with the amusing name of Minions, stopped a couple of times on the way to see some old crosses. At Minions, there's a nice little walk from the town past three stone circles called the Hurlers, toward a hill with some crazy natural rock formations and the remains of an old fortification. Along the way you also have views of other standing stones and mining ruins. (Tin and copper were mined in Cornwall.) There are also great views of the moor from the hill, and you can see south to the ocean. It was a beautiful weekend day so there were plenty of people out, but not enough to make it feel fake and weird.

Bodmin Moor & More Okt 10

After the walk we stopped at the Minions Tea Rooms for a snack and tea. The weather was so nice that we actually got too hot sitting in the sun. Did I mention October is supposed to be the rainiest month in Cornwall? We really lucked out! We then continued on to St. Cleer, where we checked out their holy well and church, and then drove a little ways outside of St. Cleer to see Trethevy Quoit, a dolmen. I wasn't expecting such a nice one! It was at least as impressive as Poulnabrone, but without all the damn tour buses pulling up. In fact we had it all to ourselves.

This marked the end of the tour the B&B laid out for us on the map, but I noticed another holy well in St. Neot nearby so we went over there to check that out. It was more interesting than the one in St. Cleer, and they also had a more interesting church, so I'm glad we stopped there. The first time I saw a holy well, we just stumbled upon it in Ireland and I thought it was really cool, checking out all the things people left behind there. I wanted to see a bunch when we came to Cornwall, but there just wasn't time for very many.

Tintagel Castle

My friend wanted to see Tintagel, purported to be "King Arthur's Castle" and we really had to hightail it up there after St. Neot because we wanted to get there before dark. Unfortunately the quickest way to get there was closed down and we had no warning until we were actually at the roundabout to turn off, so we wasted a few minutes trying to get turned back around. I'd been reading the map all day in the car and was starting to get really nauseous so we had a map hand-off to my friend as well, and it takes a little time to reorient there. We ended up making it to Tintagel just as the sun was setting. It was officially closed already, but the part we got to (up on a hill rather than down by the shore) was wide open to stroll into, so we just went in. There isn't much there except a bunch of stone walls (I'm really getting jaded about castles - don't need to see any more of them unless they are really special), but the location is fantastic. It was a great place to watch the sun go down. The town of Tintagel itself seemed to be mostly closed down. It had some cute old buildings but you had to dodge some cheesy tourist bits.

We returned to Bodmin for dinner at a restaurant down the street from our B&B that came highly recommended, Steak and Thai. (Using the cached version because their site isn't working at all right now. Good job, guys.) It wasn't bad, but we all actually thought the Bodmin Jail was better, and this place was also more expensive. On the way out, we ran into a Thai woman working there and she was so excited to see my (Filipina) friend that I felt bad for her. I guess Bodmin probably isn't very diverse.

Monday: Two more wells pls?

That night after dinner and of course a wonderful bath I took out the Ordnance Survey map and studied it for any possible wells near our route back out the next morning, since we'd only seen two and one of them (St. Cleer) was kind of lame. (There wasn't anything left there or anything, and the water was under a grate you couldn't open.) I found a couple, so the next morning we tried to find them without having the map, which we of course had to return when we checked out. The first was in a village called Laneast. When we got there, there weren't any signs for it, so without a map to show which way to leave the village (there were a LOT of possibilities) and not that much time, we never found it. We went to the next village over, St. Clether, to try another one, and that was perfect! There were signs at the church pointing the way to the well. It's out in the country a ways and there's even a tiny chapel out there for it! (And, uh, people trying to sell things like pagany candles and walking sticks in it - they're not actually there, just some honesty boxes - but still.) So that was really worth going a little out of the way and I felt a bit better about seeing what I'd hoped for. Although a little bad too, because I'm sure my friend thought the wells were a bit of a drag. Traveling with friends can be hard. However, after our day on the moor, she told us that she was surprised, but she really liked it after all. What a relief after she asked in the car why anyone would want to go to a moor!! Now she wants to retire in Cornwall. :)

Song o' the Post!
Did you know Aphex Twin grew up in Cornwall? In a tiny place near Redruth, which I never previously realized was a town name rather than something he just made up.

1 comment:

  1. CORNISH ACID INDEED! ughhhh why is he so scary

    new vacation goal: go to the minions tea room!!! or, more generally, stay in a B&B in europe, because apparently the majority of them are AWESOME

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