Into Cornwall: Biomes and Beaches (from N. and T.)

Trip Start Jun 14, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Lowarn B&B

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On June 22, after dropping Mark off in Salisbury to do some last minute holidaying before he flew back to Calgary the next day, we headed off into the countryside in our rented car with Cornwall as our destination. Some things to know about driving in England are that there are lots of roundabouts, which make good sense; but they appear rather chaotic. Secondly, Cornwall is especially known for its very narrow roadways; but Terence soon was back in touch with his driving skills and all I had to do was navigate which turnoff for each roundabout, which was not so easy.

We eventually arrived at our first B&B in St. Austell on the southern coast of Cornwall. That evening we walked to Charlestown, a tiny harbour with a tall ship in dock, where we had a lovely meal of Cornish sea bass on a bed of squash, followed by dessert—mine accompanied by a big dollop of Cornish clotted cream (made only from rich Jersey cow milk)—delicious, but heavy to go to bed on. Burp!

The planned highlight of June 23, our first full day in Cornwall, was an excursion to the renowned Eden Project, a series of biomes built into the excavation of an exhausted china clay quarry. Initially they hauled in 86,000 tones of compost to lay the foundation of the gardens, which range from various tended and labelled expanses of native species (moorland, marsh, woodland, etc), to Mediterranean, Savannah, and Tropical Rainforest. I (Terence) particularly enjoyed the rainforest since it was very hot and I was carrying a very heavy backpack--gave me a bit more confidence for India. Nancy says that the rainforest was her favourite too. What she found appealing was the effort to faithfully reproduce some of the dwellings native to rainforest regions.

We were also impressed that it focuses on educational programs around sustainable agriculture and ecological consciousness. As a sampler to tourists, information stands were located here and there offering sound-bite knowledge that was at least an enticement to those who have never thought too deeply about ecological issues. One piece of information that I found stunning was comparative volumes of water used in the production of different foods and drink. It takes 22,000 litres of water to produce 1 pound of beef—8,000 litres for your average hamburger! I haven't been able to stop my brain teasing around the arithmetical edges of 8000 litres of water x over 1 billion hamburgers MacDonalds boasts of selling.

One of our surprises was that it was rather sparse of visitors after being told that it is usually packed. We didn’t understand why until we were on the way out and could hear what sounded like a sports crowd gasping, cheering, and groaning as we returned to the entrance pavilion on the way out. It was filled with soccer fans watching the England vs. Slovenia game on two huge screens. Thank you soccer; you made our visit to the Eden Project just a little more enjoyable than it might have been!  

In the evening we drove into the tiny fishing village of Polpero to the east of St. Austell.  It was bit tricky to get to as there was a big inlet around Fowey that we had to cross either by ferry or, as we chose to do, drive around.  It always turns out to have been an adventure when we finally do arrive at our destination!  We enjoyed Cornish pasties in the last rays of the sun on the dock, fighting off the swooping, curious seagulls, their cries echoing from the granite houses terraced in the steep hillside rising high from the harbour.

As we walked back to the car park to make our way back to the B&B, we stopped to take in a free classical piano concert in a pub courtyard—brilliant piano against the backdrop of gulls still crying into the sinking sun.

Terence & Nancy (combined efforts)
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Shirley on

We loved Fowey when we were there in '96 with Jan & Robin, in search of Trefry castle for Pat & Alec (we found it!). We enjoyed Cornish pasties & ice cream, and paddled at Readymoney Beach. We had a hike at Polruan, toured Mevagissey, Charlestown and Dodman Pt. Lovely, lovely!!!

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