Date of Trip: June 2016
Flying back to Bristol once again, I stayed another night at the HomeStay Hostel and was upgraded to a better dorm room with a twin bed. I strolled to Brown’s Restaurant for bar bites & beer. This 1872 building was modeled after the Doge Palace in Venice and was the former City Museum & Library. It was heavily damaged in the WWII Blitz, but the stunning facade survived and the building was completely restored.
The next day I took the bus to the train station and went to Penzance in Cornwall. I had to make my way thru the town during their annual Mazey Day Festival to get to the Backpackers Hostel to drop my bag & then joined up with fellow beer drinkers sitting on the sea wall. But I really had to find a quiet place to eat and I found it tucked away behind the Chapel House. This former historic home was recently renovated into a little boutique hotel and there was a small patio with shared tables where I ordered a local Korev beer and a huge mixed platter and chatted with other visitors in a much quieter setting than out on the streets or in the bars.
Back in the hostel TV room the 2016 Football was England vs Iceland and it was an agonizing defeat. There was a lot of socializing at this hostel, it was well run and I snagged the only twin bed in the dorm room of bunks.
The next day I took the train to St Ives, a delightful seaside town. Because I got there early I was able to wander around just as the shops were opening. It was Sunday, so soon the families and dogs took over the narrow streets and it became quite busy everywhere. I grabbed a Cornish pasty meat pie to eat at the beach. By noon it was misting a bit so I ducked into a cafe to have another cream tea before heading back on the train. The hostel had a nice kitchen so I stopped at the supermarket to pick up dinner and breakfast foods.
The following day I took a bus to Mousehole and again arrived very early. I like walking around even before the shops open and the cottages & gardens overlooking the sea were so pretty. I popped into Hole Foods, a cute little cafe for yet another cream tea. Later, I also discovered the Rock Pool Cafe with an outside terrace overlooking the sea. I got a “rocktail” called Merry Maiden, made up of Eideflower, pomegrante & Prosecco garnished with fruit. A delightful drink in a delightful setting chatting with fellow visitors and watching sea lions frolic in the water below. In a little shop called Cat & Mouse I bought a couple little piskies (Cornish good luck charm pixies). Mousehole is such a charming Cornish town.
When I returned on the bus to Penzance I immediately caught another bus to Marazion to get to St Michael’s Mount at low tide. Like Mont St Michel in France, this was another Benedictine abbey dating back to the 11th century, is also surrounded by water and part of the pilgrimage of St Michael’s Way. However it has been owned by a family since 1650 so serves as a castle home and parish. Also different is that the stone walkway going out to it is only passable at low tide and it is magical to watch the tide recede and the walkway appear out of the water. Again, lots of stone steps to get to the top. When the tide is high, boats go back and forth to the Mount.
I had my final night at the hostel in Penzance and then took the train the next morning back to Bristol and stayed yet another night at the HomeStay Hostel. This time they upgraded me to my own room with a double bed, so each stay got better. I have been to Anne Frank’s House, Auschwitz, Berlin & recently the Imperial War Museum in London so on this trip I grasped even more about World War II. History, cultures, people & food are all a big part of travel for me. I’d been to Scotland, Ireland, London & many other places in England before so this trip to the rest of the British Isles gave me a better understanding of who is who in this British zoo.
What the differences are in these countries, who is really British, who is Great Britain, who is the United Kingdom & who is in the EU. Of course the Brexit vote also happened whilst I was there, so maybe the kingdom is not so united after all. I heard a lot of opinions about this referendum to Leave or Stay, yet I was as gobsmacked at the outcome of their vote to leave the European Union as many others were.
So Cheerio, Ta-Ta, Tally-ho and Toodle-oo. Just as in the onset of World War II, the poster still reads: Keep Calm and Carry On