To Land's End

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

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Where I stayed
Chy an Gof Guesthouse Penzance
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Penlee Gallery and Museum
Morrab Garden
Cornwall Coast Walk from Porthcurno to Land's End

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, May 19, 2012

My finger and legs are stinging again .from stinging nettle.  This stuff is fierce.  I am without wi-fi still.  I had it briefly yesterday here at the B&B, but poor Liz had been on the phone for 3 hrs today trying to get the problems straightened out.  After awhile she ending up canceling her new account but she still has it for a few days...lot of good it is doing me though.

Liz and I agreed that it was better for me to have breakfast today after the Olympic torch comes by.  I was up around 7 and organized until around 8 am when I went out to the street to wait for the torch bearer.  There were quite a few people out but not a mob scene although the police woman in the snappy bowler hat with the checked ribbon had to keep telling people to stand back.  There was a group of people drinking champagne and mimosas from the B&B nearby.  The police motorcycles were very colorful and bright when they went by...especially since they had their lights flashing.  Some other commercial trucks went by and I got a British Flag provided by Samsung.  A helicopter was flying overhead and Liz had been listening to the reports on her TV or radio.

Finally the torch came close.  I could see two torch flames about 30 yds from me and the procession seemed to have halted.  People circled around the bearer(s) and I couldn't really see them.  When they started moving again, the people were still in the way.  I tried to zoom in with the new camera - I purposely took it out to get close-ups, but I lost the bearer and couldn't find her and then she was past me.  Liz said that she was able to get a good shot when the torch was passed from one bearer to the next and that she would email it to me.  I hope so.
She and I both came back to the B&B and she made me my English breakfast.  It was quite filling and I took my 2 remaining pieces of toast and banana with me for later.  She said that the British usually drink their orange juice, eat cereal, then eat their eggs and stuff, and then finally they eat their toast.  She said her Japanese guests first take photos of their food before eating it.  Tomorrow I will have to take my camera to breakfast.

First thing on today's agenda was the Penlee Gallery and Museum because on Saturday the Museum is free.  I went through the Morrab Garden on my way to the Museum.  Penlee had a nice exhibit on paintings and drawings that show the connection between artists in Cornwall and Brittany.  Apparently in the early 1900's English artists studied in Brittany and came back to Cornwall, especially Newlyn, to paint.  A lot of the English painters' subjects were scenes or people in Brittany.  I especially liked the portraits.  There was one of an old woman that I wanted a postcard of but there was none.  How disappointing.  The museum also had some artifacts in the permanent exhibit.  I learned that it was only around 5000 BC that England separated from the mainland.  The stone circles of some of the early settlers were also mentioned.

I returned to the B&B to repack.  It had gotten quite warm so I switched to different clothes and almost immediately regretted that I didn't take something warmer as well.  I only had my sweater and raincoat and beret, but I made it ... being just a bit cold at times  I forgot to mention how happy I am that living in my house at 60 F during the winter prepared me so well for traveling in England.  I am acclimated to the cold English weather, but I have been told that it is now colder than usual.  Cornwall has a lot of subtropical gardens and I have seen palms, succulents, and a lot of unfamiliar flowers here.  So even though it is chilly, there are a lot of things blooming - some earlier and maybe some later than home.  I expected it to be warmer here now but I guess the important thing Is that it doesn't get as cold as New York in the winter....important for the sub-tropicals, that is.  

I walked down to the bus station to catch the bus to Minack Theatre but the bus station was closed so I had no idea which bus to take.  The tourist info center came to my rescue again and a bus was going there in 10 min.  You pay when you get on and it cost me 3.50 pounds.  Silly me, though, I got off at the town rather than the theater.  I could have saved myself a hike up a pretty big hill, but it did have a nice view.  I wanted to see the theater without paying to go in, but that wasn't possible.  The mother and daughter walking next to me said it was definitely worth it so in I went.  Minack's has a garden surrounding the outdoor amphitheater built of a woman in the 1920's:  Rowena Cade.  The theater was definitely interesting -- the tiered rows with grass seating and some boxes as well.  The ocean is part of the stage's backdrop.  Two young boys were pretending that they were performing.

The Coast Path started right outside the theater parking lot.  The mother and daughter had done 1 1/4 miles from the next town over and said there were a lot of ups and downs.  My Balkan step climbing regimen helped me a lot I think.  At first the path was a very rocky one and I had imagined it as a gently sloping hard dirt path somehow.  Later on it did turn into a hard dirt path at times, alternating with rock steps, other steps, wooden steps, gravel, grass - all sorts of different surfaces.  The views of course were fantastic - rocky cliffs, sparkling water, seagulls crying, that salty ocean smell - big bays, little coves, natural arches and caves.  And the flowers - there was the yellow gorse, bluebells, white cow's parsley and all kinds of other little flowers, including one with white bells that mingled with the bluebells and smelled of garlic.  There were little cushions of sea thrift that I have seen in catalogs but never so much in real life.  I took loads and loads of photos. 

I was disappointed that the SLR ran out of batteries in the am and I didn't have time to charge it.  I mostly took photos with the fuji because I didn't want to kill the coolpix too.  The problem with the fuji is that I usually can't see the display and the colors aren't as bright.  Looking at them, I think the best were taken in the late afternoon with big, threatening clouds in the skies.  It had been a beautiful day - not much wind, mostly sunny, and relatively warm.  Late afternoon the clouds kept getting darker and darker and I was afraid I would actually have to use my raincoat.

I was told by some girls that Lands End wasn't that much farther - 1/2 hour beyond those big rocks.  I think I passed those rocks twice over, but I could see the Holy Grail in the distance looking like El Dorado.  Hmmm, mixed something, if not metaphor.  Part of the last bit was also the scariest with the path being very close to the edge of the cliffs.  I gave some money to 2 men walking for charity:  one had a heart transplant and the other a kidney transplant.  The second man made sure he didn't knock me over when he went on the inside of the path.  Finally I made it, but Lands End park was deserted.  There were a whole line of portapotties (or portaloos) so I availed myself then tried to figure out where to go to find a bus back to Penzance.  I looked out into the parking lot and way at the end were two buses.  I wasn't really up to running but I did jog a few steps at one point and got a ride back in one.  Apparently it was a different kind of bus and cost 5.20 pounds I think.  I loved driving through this part of Cornwall because I got to see more of the old stone houses.  They are very appealing.

Once back at the bus station - I should have gotten off sooner to save some walking since my blisters are worse now, I headed for somewhere to eat that was along the way.  Actually I figured the closer to the B&B the better in case it started to rain.  I ate at the Dolphin Tavern in Penzance - I had stopped there to see if they had a room when I first came to Penzance.  I had a nice fish main course with fettuccini as a side - it was a special and came that way - and I tried a blonde ale today.  Yesterday I had a darker Sharp.  Today's was a Tribute- both Cornish I believe.

Liz popped out of her living room when I got back to find out how my day had gone and what time I wanted breakfast.  I asked her about the name of the house and it is House of the Blacksmith(s).  We chatted a bit and she told me more of her history.  She has had a fascinating life - living In Iraq when she was six, being sent to boarding school in Cyprus and England.  After she divorced and her daughter was living in Abu Dhabi, Liz joined her daughter and granddaughter there and she ended up staying for 11 years.  Quite the traveler and businesswoman too.  I can't believe I have been journaling and uploading photos for 2 hrs now.  Time for bed!

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