Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cornwall: Not as close to Bristol as you might think

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Cornwall almost didn't happen on this trip.

We talked for a long time about going to Wales or Cornwall sometime. Later a friend moved to Bristol and we started to include her in these theoretical plans. As this trip actually started to take shape, three things were certain: we'd be renting a car, Wales would be involved, and our friend would join us for some part of the trip. The remaining bits were up for grabs.

Trip Planning

What I really wanted was to go to Cornwall. I always had a little bit of a thing for it after looking at a map and realizing that it was so small yet had (in the past, and is trying to again) its very own language. But after planning the first half of the trip and realizing how far Cornwall is from everything, I almost kicked it out. I considered going back to Wales, or going to Bath or Avebury or Salisbury, or going to Devon. For two days Cornwall wasn't in the plan at all, and I was looking into Devon quite seriously. Then I couldn't stand it. What if I never had another chance to see Cornwall? What if fate whisked us back to the US and we never had a dime or a day of vacation again in our lives? I put it back in, with the plan that we would not go out to the further points in Cornwall, but hang around in its eastern edges, making getting out there less of a car-y nightmare. I booked a place in Bodmin and planned to poke around Bodmin Moor and do some research for other things close to there.

I kept selfishly saying "I" there didn't I? I was the primary trip planner. But there were three people on this trip, and one wanted to go to St. Michael's Mount, waaaay out near Penzance. I wanted to include this for her, knowing that the desolation of moors that I love so much might not be her cup of tea, knowing that she likes landmarks with a little more impact. So, so much for keeping to the eastern edge of Cornwall - we were going whole hog.

It was a long, long ride from Bristol to Marazion, where St. Michael's Mount sits off the shore, accessible by foot only during low tide. I wanted to get it out of the way right away so we wouldn't feel rushed at the moor the next day. On the way we passed signs for the moors of Devon, Dartmoor and Exmoor, and I said I thought they looked really nice when I read about them. My friend said, "But why would anyone want to go to a moor? There's nothing there." Cue music of doom in my mind. We stopped for a mediocre lunch at the Victoria Inn and pressed onward.

St. Michael's Mount

Well, we should have planned a little better. When we arrived in Marazion, we discovered that everything on the island is closed on Saturdays. Cue some tense hemming and hawing about whether to go to the island if everything was going to be closed - because it wasn't low tide, and we couldn't cross by foot yet. We couldn't find a tide table anywhere in town to tell us how much longer it would be. Supposedly there are ferries to the island when the tide is high, but we couldn't find a schedule for any of those either, and we only thought we saw one making a crossing the whole time we were there. We walked around Marazion a bit, then had a drink at a crowded cafe on the water, waiting to see if the tide would go out. A lot of other people seemed to have the same idea. They waded out as far as they could, then came back, over and over. We didn't have any proper gear for wading across even if it got low enough to make that possible. It never got low enough to cross, and we gave up, wanting to salvage a little bit of the day.

St. Michael's Mount & Land's End Okt 10

Land's End

We figured we'd try to salvage it by heading out to Land's End as long as we were practically all the way out at the end of Cornwall anyway. Land's End is famous just for being the southwesternmost point on Britain. There is a hideous sort of amusement theme land or something out there now, but it's not that big and very easily avoided if you just want to check out the cliffs. We watched the sun set there (complete with sun dogs!) and it was fantastic. There were only 10 or so other people there, and none of them anywhere nearby. It was definitely worth it, even though it took us almost 2 more hours to get all the way back to our B&B in Bodmin (which I'll talk about a little more in the next post). Thus we ate dinner at Bodmin Jail - a restaurant built right into the former jail and supposedly haunted - well after 9pm. It was pretty good, by the way, including the brownie and bread and butter pudding desserts! (I'm ALL about the desserts in the UK, since Germany often falls flat for me in that regard.)

Song o' the Post!
Patrick Wolf has a song that mentions Land's End!

1 comment:

  1. I beleive the saying goes..."from Land's End to John O'Groats" when you're talking about a long distance. Perhaps you'll need to include the latter on your next trip to Scotland?

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