West Cornwall, Southwest England – Part 2

My drive from Tavistock to Penzance went so well that I decided to keep driving the extra 9 miles to Lands End.  Lands End is the most Western part of the England.  Without planning it, I had gone to the most Northern part of the UK when I went to John O’Groats in Scotland and now I was at it’s most Western point.  They have marketed the hell out of Lands End where John O’Groats seemed just a blip in comparison.  But, Lands End scenery is much more dramatic than O’Groats.  I had to pay 5 pounds to park the car so I took advantage of the trail that runs from a mile along the cliffs from Lands End to the coastal cove town of Sennen.  I also had a surprisingly really good fresh, not fried, piece of fish at the restaurant at Lands End.  As I was driving in to Penzance, I turned in the car just before they closed at 6pm.  I rented with Enterprise and as is their practice in the US, here they also give you a ride to and/or from your car rental.  My hotel in Penzance was only about 2 miles from the car rental and I checked in and was able to have a drink before dinner.  This hotel in Penzance was really nice.  It had a nice restaurant, nice sitting rooms and library, free coffee and tea anytime, a nice bar and, even a swimming pool!  Well, I didn’t have a bathing suit but found an “Old Navy” style store the next day and town and got one.  The summer has been quite hot and I was going to take advantage of having a pool.  Breakfast both here and at my Tavistock hotel were really nice.  I had salmon eggs Benedict more than once.  The salmon in the UK is mostly from Scotland and just tastes so fresh.  

My hotel in Penzance

My first day without the car, I took the bus to a little cove village called Mousehole.  And, as the name implies, it’s a little place but very nice with a beautiful position.  I had lunch at a little place with a nice garden courtyard which would have cost twice the price if they had a coastal view.  I have a lovely crab salad – fresh crab and a nice glass of sauvignon blanc from South Africa.  From the service to the atmosphere to the food, this was really nice.  Only 15 minutes by bus outside of Penzance train station, it’s a little escape.  There was a market fair at the church and I bought a 4X6 size photo from a photographer.  She had some really interesting close up shots of boats and coves in and around Mousehole.  It was a hot day so I took advantage and went back to the hotel about 4pm and sat by the pool a couple of hours and with 2 for 1 drinks at happy hour – just 5-6pm – I had a couple of martinis.  Whew!  Like I said, Cornwall was a vacation from my vacation.  
Mousehole before and after the tide

The next day without a car saw me going to, what I call, the Baby Mont Saint Michel, in England it’s known as St. Michael’s Mount.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed walking the causeway, exploring the castle, church and this little slice of island.  It’s what I had hoped the Mont in France would be.  Don’t get me wrong, the Mont was a dream fulfilled but St. Michael’s was just not as commercial.  It felt real and the history came through.  The extent of the commercialism was 1 shop and 1 cafe.  The castle and castle gardens, which have separate entry fees or you can buy the combo ticket, which I recommend because the gardens are just as glorious as the castle.  The castle is still inhabited as is the island.  I think they told us there’s about 40 people that inhabit the island and the island is closed on Saturdays for this reason.  The docent’s in the castle are really eager to let you know any info, if they have the answers and even if the don’t.  

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall – Low Tide
Hight Tide – St Michael’s Mount

My last tourist day in Cornwall I took the bus from Penzance to yet, another cove town, St. Ives.  The bus ride here was about 25 minutes or so through some very nice countryside.  I’m so glad I did not drive here.  The roads are absolutely minuscule and I witnessed about 5 cars having to back up a few hundred yards to let our bus through.  This was a full size bus, mind you, double decker!  Anyway, we arrived unscathed and about 15 minutes after I arrived, a downpour also arrived.  Luckily, I always travel with my umbrella and it was finally needed, for about 20 minutes.  Then, the sun shone again and it was quite warm.  It’s a much bigger town than Mousehole with a bit of a beach, when the tide is out.  I arrived around 11a, explored a while, stopped and had a drink on a second story bar terrace and then later had lunch on the cove at Alfresco.  I have a beautiful small dish of scallops and pork belly.  The scallops were lined up on one side and the pork belly on the other.  Lovely lunch looking out onto the cove.  I walked around some more and before I left, had another drink in a hotel bar with a commanding view of St. Ives, just below the bus station!  St. Ives has several art galleries, cute shops and really good sea food.  They also have a brach of the modern art museum, Tate.

St. Ives – Low Tide

LUNCH!

High Tide


Cornwall is an area I would love to come back to and that the British are quite aware of but foreign tourists are not so aware of.  I will be back!

Complete photos here: Cornwall Part 2 Photos

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