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Published: April 14th 2010
Eating our way through Devon & Cornwall
There wasn't a plan in sight and it was the Tuesday before the Easter long weekend. We had toyed with the idea of driving somewhere but many of the plans were probably a little too ambitious for a four-day weekend. On Wednesday we were thinking of heading for Devon and Cornwall and by Friday we were being joined by another 3 people with another car - our biggest concerns being the weather as it was snowing in parts of the UK, and finding accommodation for 5 people on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
Our aim for the first day was the northern coast of Devon or Cornwall and after packing the bags and managing our fastest run out of London yet, we managed to make it to Porlock in Exmoor for an early lunch. The weather was terrible; rain, hail and strong winds, with brief patches of sunshine but we put our raincoats on and braved the weather and managed a stroll in the countryside without getting too wet. From Exmoor we headed further along the coast to the small tourist town of Clovelly before realising we really
needed to find somewhere to stay for the night. We ended up in a B&B by the ocean that had room for all five of us in the seaside resort town of Bude and had dinner in Life's a Beach
which seemed to be one of very few restaurants in Bude, but served lovely food right on the beach.
In the morning after the compulsory B&B breakfast of eggs and bacon we went to the seaside city of Tintagel which boasts the ruins of a castle that has links to the legend of King Arthur. The first castle was built on the site in around 1200 AD and the ruins which balance precariously on top of the grey cliffs does have a legendary quality and an isolated feel which the crashing waves and jagged rocks far below help to amplify. After scrambling around the rocks for a few hours we took an interesting drive (our GPS enjoys very minor backroads) to the seaside town of Padstow where we got caught in a huge downpour before really getting stuck into Cornwall's culinary delights such as fish & chips, fish pies, Cornish pasties and of course fudge. It was decided that
Penzance would make the best base for the following day's travels and were lucky to find a B&B at all, even one that was all pink and floral! We had a delicious meal on the Promenade before retiring to bed surrounded by dust ruffles and floral sheets.
Another English breakfast and we headed to Land's End. Looking at the map it doesn't look like it is the furthest west of the furthest south. It has been tarnished by the crazy amusement park complete with bars and restaurants which really diminishes the sense of isolation you expect to feel somewhere called 'Land's End'. After being blown around for awhile we headed to the more sheltered Minack Theatre which is built into the cliffs of Cornwall not too far from Land's End. The sun was out in force and the coastline around the theatre was lovely, less dramatic than Land's End with sandy beaches and only a slight breeze compared to howling gales.
After dragging ourselves away from the sunshine and views we made our way back past Penzance to St Michaels Mount, a castle and small town built on an island that is accessable by foot for 4 hours
a day. We arrived too early for the walk across and had to take a boat, but after indulging in cream teas and pasties we were able to make the walk back again, although our feet did get a little wet. We had one more destination of the day - the Eden Project. The Eden Project is home of the largest greenhouse in the world, the two largest housing plants from tropical climates and from Mediterranean climates. It was really interesting and an extremely impressive venture - but we thought that seeing all the plants in their native setting would definitely be preferable.
We spent our last night of the weekend in Plymouth, had a lovely meal on the Barbican, and a good laugh. We checked out the Mayflower Steps (we were with Americans afterall) and the location James Cook set out from amongst other people before visiting Dartmoor National Park, we stopped a few times and climbed a Tor, saying goodbye to the other car over coffee and cake in Widecombe-in-the-Moor (a location Lara remembers fondly from childhood) and then we headed to Exeter.
Rather than seeing the cathedral or any of the other sights in Exeter
we went straight to the riverside where we managed to locate a chair dedicated to Lara's grandparents. We sat on the bench watching the world go by before we reluctantly made our way home.
Note: Unfortunately a (probably) drunk driver side-swiped Sven while parked outside our house and drove away. It is highly likely that our poor Saab has been written off and insurance won't cover very much as there is technically no other party involved. After less than 6 weeks our road-trips have come to an end for the time-being and the most annoying thing about it is that we weren't at fault in any way.
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