My Workout Regimen - St Michael's Mount

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
Trip End May 12, 2012

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Where I stayed
Trevoil Guest House

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, May 21, 2012

I am really sleepy but so excited to have wi-fi again finally that I wanted to do at least today's entry, but maybe I will make it shorter than usual.  Ha, Ha!

I tried to get an earlier start this morning and managed to get packed up, eat breakfast and leave to get to the bus station by 9:30.  Unfortunately, the bus to Marazion didn't leave until 10 am I think.  It wasn't too bad because it was a short ride.  The tide was out so I could walk over the stone causeway to the castle.

I should have learned more of the history as I went along but I did pick up that the castle belongs to the St Aubyn family.  St Michael's Mount is very striking because the castle sits on top a pyramidal rock formation off the coast of Cornwall at a short distance and it makes a fairy-tale picture with its towers jutting up.  Of course, you have to climb stone steps up to the top to get into the castle.  I saw quite a few rooms with old memorabilia - a crocodile shield, old swords and rifles, many paintings and watercolors including old maps.  Some of the furniture was quite unusual including a chair made by a bodger  - or something like that - a hermit who used a twig as part of a lathe to make spindles.  The entire chair is made from these spindles and is about 300 years old.  There is also a dining room - it has a long table in the center - called the Chevy Chase room for its friezes of hunting scenes.  The stained glass windows were beautiful - or painted windows perhaps - but nonetheless, beautifully done. 

The church, also on the top of this stone island, was quite large and had lovely windows as well.  Because the castle was used for protection, there were numerous cannons in position.  I am not sure about the buildings closer to the shore of the island, but half way up, there was a sign for a dairy:  a hexagonal building attached to another smaller building.  I took a few photos of the small cemetery from outside the wall since tourists were not allowed entry.

Along with my castle entrance fee, I needed to pay extra for the garden.  The garden was open today but not during the weekend - this is why I delayed my trip here so that I could visit it.  Of course, it also has many steps since it is built into one side of the hill or small mountain on which the castle is perched.  Along the outer periphery you can still walk into a pill box from WWII.  The paths are constructed in different ways to eliminate slipping.  There were wooden slats covered with wire in addition to stone paths and steps.  The terraces were quite steep and lots of people were breathing hard.  Like some of the other Cornish gardens, this one is well supplied with various succulents and some palms.  There was rosemary in profusion and sedum, rhododendron, other familiar flowers that when I look at the photos I may be able to recall.  I think the flowers that impressed me the most were the swaths of bluebells.  I just love those fields of blue.  Maybe I was too tired so my appreciation level was lowered for the other flowers.  It was certainly impressive gardening on the side of a cliff and they were starting quite a few new beds.

So I hadn't had enough exercise yet because I was obsessed with the idea of walking back to Penzance for 3 miles along the sea walk.  Why, I am not entirely sure because I needed to get to Falmouth and find a place to stay.  And I still had my bags to pick up at the B&B.  Maybe I should have listened to Liz's suggestion of taking them to a hotel nearer the station for a fee.

The sea path was mainly a gravel bicycle path once I found it outside of Marazion and not the best for feet that already had some blistering.  I hate to look and see what the damage is.  But it was a glorious day today - brilliant blue skies and a pleasant temperature.  I still keep putting on outer clothes and taking them off again.  I was kind of chilled last night and this morning so I wanted to be sure I didn't get cold.  I was OK - sometimes hot in the sun and sometimes cool in the wind.

I went into the Tourist Info in Penzance to try to get some info on Falmouth and managed to confuse the young man helping me.  He was using the computer and I had him going from one topic to next - train times, places to stay, where the gardens were,....It was beginning to take too long.  I had told Liz I would pick up my bags between 1 and 3 and it was after 2:30.  So armed with the info that I should take the 4 pm train to Truro and transfer to go to Falmouth, I race-walked back to the B&B. 

Liz was outside under an umbrella.  She had brought my bags out into the hallway and said they were dangerous.  I got to see her cat and she told me that the black & white cat is a bully and had killed her other cat.  Yikes!  The bully cat's owner was supposed to let him out only at night from now on.  Liz was still waiting for the gas man and she still hadn't resolved her wi-fi problem, but I bid her goodbye in order to rush - as fast as one can laden like a beast of burden - to the train station. 

The train trip was OK.  I got to sit in the train for 1/2 before departure instead of standing around.  I was ecstatic!   The transfer wasn't so easy because I had to go upstairs and downstairs to get to the other platform but it was tolerable.  I arrived in Falmouth and headed to the town.  First I followed the signs to Town Center and Maritime Museum.  About 2-3 blocks later I saw a guest house, inquired about a room and wi-fi and took the last room they had even though it was a family room and higher priced than a single room.  Still, it was 20 quid less than my Penzance room.  I quite like it and the wi-fi has 4 or 5 bars - what a surprise.  The owner's partner Sue was very helpful in giving me some brochures so I could get to the gardens tomorrow.  I will have to leave my bags again and pick them up on my way to St Austell.

The Harbour Lights restaurant turned out to be quite as good as Sue (I hope that is her name) recommended.  I had a smoked haddock special with half salad & half chips.  It was excellent but much too much so I brought some back.  I hope I can eat it and not get sick (since I have no refrigeration).  My waiter was a nice young man who asked where I was from and what made me come to Cornwall on vacation.  He said he is Swedish (with an English mother) and has been in Falmouth 6 or 8 years.  He was supposed to go to school but ended up working.  I wouldn't have guessed he was Swedish but yesterday I thought an Australian woman was English - so much for my ear.  He also mentioned I think that Falmouth has about 20,000 people.  These cities are smaller than I would have thought because they do seem to be such tourist destinations - at least for me....and I have seen a lot of other tourists in the places I have gone.  Touristy, but not tawdry touristy.

Now it is time for me to wrap this up and get some sleep for an early start tomorrow.  Hopefully.

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