Paddington to Penzance

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
Paddington Station - London
Penzance Harbor and Jubilee Pool

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, May 18, 2012

It is only 9:45 pm but I feel quite tired today.  I kept falling asleep on the train to Penzance even though I wanted to stay awake to see the scenery.  I didn't even manage to take photos of it....I must have been really, really tired.

I was awake before Astrid told me the shower was all mine about 6:30 am.  I opened the blinds and popped into the shower.  I wasn't planning on eating until I got to Paddington Station so I was ready at 7 am when she headed to the bus stop.  It was early so the people weren't packed like sardines yet.  It was still tough with my packs front and back, but the ride was short and then we got on the Tube.  Astrid left me at the next stop and I went on to St Pancras.  It took me a little extra time to find the Hammersmith line because I was now coming from a different direction but it wasn't that hard.  I made it to Paddington Station before 8 am.  It took about 15 min to get the refund from my Oyster transit pass.  I can't say I have never seen such a laborious process but I haven't seen many of the sort.  Another window would open, take one person and then close again.  It did that a few times - further annoying the line of waiting people.  I am not sure why.

I got a cinnamon bun and some hot chocolate and sat at the Costa cafe until 9:30 am.  Then I went to the "loo" and had to pass over the turnstiles with all my bags - not easy, but it was better than the young girl with the big roller bag that she was trying to push through the turnstile.  They didn't give the platform for the train until less than 10 min before departure, but that was OK.  I managed to jam my big pack up on the luggage rack and had my daypack sort of under my seat.  I had a window so I was happy.  At first I thought I overheard people saying there were no toilets on the train.  I found it difficult to believe people had to get off at the train stops, run in and try not to miss the departing train, but then later I found they did have them on the train.  There were a bunch of boys with cases of hard cider, maybe beer, soda and gin and some other stuff sitting next and across from me.  Two were working on a crossword puzzle and I couldn't help myself suggesting a possible answer, but I am not sure whether it helped or not.  I think they might have tried it.  Their first choice seemed a little off to me, but it might have worked.

I had been really excited by the promise of Cornwall landscape.  I think my tiredness dimmed my experience a bit.  After getting out of London, I saw more green fields.  Even though England has been suffering a drought, they had a lot of rain just recently and the fields are an incredible lush green.  I don't know exactly why they appear so much greener than our fields in NY.  It may be that the grass is thicker and an even length.  The fields were beautiful with the green and the hedgerows separating them.  I did see some cows of various sorts and some beautiful horses here and there.  I didn't see much of the bright yellow rape fields though.  There were rolling hills, some trees, like the English oaks and some really pretty pine trees with short branches - very photogenic.  Wish I had taken some photos.  I am disappointed in myself.  There were some villages with houses clustered together and the fields surrounding them.  I didn't see the kind of thatched roof cottage that I associate with rural England but some of the houses were quite picturesque with their multiple chimney pots.

There were a few places where I could see water - rivers, sea - along the way.  Not sure now what bodies of water they were until the very end - maybe 5 minutes outside of Penzance, we saw the coast and the Atlantic.  It looked very cold.

Getting into Penzance, I began to wonder how I would fare with finding a hotel since I hadn't booked one and also how I would get to it.  Luckily there was an info center across the street from the train station.  However, they were not able to be very helpful, but they did clue me into a fact of which I was unaware:  the Olympic torch was passing through Penzance tomorrow morning.  They gave me a map and a list of B&Bs and marked the areas having concentrations of them.  The first two places I checked were all out of rooms.  A couple I met along the way said they had just gotten the last room at one inn but they felt that there were still some rooms out there and wished me luck.  I walked down one street with quite a few B&Bs and a lot of no vacancy signs.  Then I saw one with a vacancy sign.  First, I couldn't believe it.  I went up to the door and the B&B owner met me, apologized and said she didn't have any singles.  I asked for the doubles price and she told me.  It was more than I would have wanted to pay but I was desperate and she seemed nice, so here I am.

The owner Liz is a fascinating woman.  She just came back from a trip to Crete so that is why all of her rooms were not taken.  She told me she had been to upstate NY - Seneca Falls to be precise - accepting the induction of one of her distant relatives into the Women's Hall of Fame (I believe).  Rebecca Talbot Perkins was a suffragette living in Brooklyn, a club woman involved in charities and founder of an orphanage.  She was also noted for being the first woman to use a typewriter and the local schoolboys would stand in awe of her as she typed.  Liz gave me some pamphlets and lots of info on Penzance and the Lands End Peninsula.  I have to figure out what I am going to do these few days here.

So far I have taken a walk around this part of the town, hit the major shopping street with its antique stores, walked along the promenade along the shore, and had a fish and chips and mushy peas dinner at the Turk's Head Pub.  I am beginning to like pubs but I still don't have the formalities down:  you order your food at the bar and then go sit down, the waiter/waitress brings the food, but I guess you can pay at the bar as well.

I got back to the B&B - I have to find out what Chy-an-Mor means.  Liz informed me that we had wifi again - she managed to get her router installed and working.  I tried it upstairs and lost it, went to sit on the steps and went through a lot of my email before losing it.  So now I am up here typing my journal into Wordpad.  I will upload some pics and get some shut-eye.  It is already after 10 pm.

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