Day 15: Cornish Excursion

This morning started with a big breakfast and a cheeky waitress!  Our spunky waitress, Betty, was full of jibes and gentle insults as we sorted out our breakfast choices.  We then headed off for an early morning boat cruise in and around Plymouth harbor.

Douglas and I reversed our decision to not go on the excursion.  The tour director extended our cruise length, and it turned out to be a nice day and a smooth cruise.  We saw many of the local sights around Plymouth harbor, including the site of the Mayflower steps,  Drake's Island, and several NATO warships.  At the end of the cruise, we came up to two large bridges.  One was built in the mid 1800s, and the one next to it was built just a few years ago.  During the recent inspection, guess which one was found to need significant repair?  Amazing!

The Mayflower steps!

We drove up the coast across from Ireland, stopping at St. Michael's Mount.  I walked out onto the beach at Marazion to put my toes in the Atlantic.  The beach wasn't at all what I expected.  The sand was large grained and course.  The beach was filled with small smooth stones of various colors.  At the top of the beach, there were old abandoned Pullman train coaches on the end of the rail line.

Next, we drove up through Penzance, a fishing community just down the road from Marazion.  We saw dozens of boats sitting in the sand as the tide was out. 

A warship in Plymouth harbor.

It's quite a sight to see!  After driving through Penzance, we drove up to Land's End, the furthest point south on the U.K. mainland.  A striking difference between the U.S. coastland and the U.K. is how quickly the landscape changes.  In the U.S., it seems the coastal landscape and "beachy" look and feel extends for miles inland.  Here in the U.K., the view changes within just a few blocks.  Within a mile or so from the coast, the view changes back a farmland and country look!

The "old" and "new" bridges in Plymouth.

Land's End was a horrid place.  What was a few years ago a quiet hilltop above the cliffs, is now a cheesy amusement and fast food area.  Fortunately, the government (or someone with good sense!)  kept the developers far enough back from the cliffs and paths as not to totally ruin the view.  Some of the best pictures we took on the trip were from the cliffs.  Although the long view to the ocean was obscured in mist, we could clearly see the rocky cliffs below with crashing waves.   Hundreds of seagulls nestled in tiny nooks along these cliffs.

Keith and Douglas at Land's End.

Our last stop of the day was St. Ives.  This small village is located on the coast in Cornwall.  It is a beautiful town, but packed with tourists, especially since this is a bank holiday in England. 

Douglas and I met a retired couple at the boats on the town side of the sea wall.  We stood and chatted with John and June for thirty to forty five minutes!  They moved down here from the Cotswolds several years ago when they retired.  After a few snapshots, Douglas and I walked though the narrow streets, making "discoveries" as we went. 

The ocean from Land's End.

Off the bridge at Land's End!

Keith at the beach at St. Ives.

We came across old 17th century archways, and even the oldest house in St. Ives.  All too soon, we had to leave, but we got some great video and pictures of the village.

We had to retrace our route on the way back to Plymouth, so our tour director played a video of Scottish Highlands and music.  What memories!  We arrived at the hotel, and took off to do our *last* load of laundry for the trip.  We ended the evening having dinner with the group.  Douglas took off to check the Mayflower site and met a guy from Scotland.  Needless to say, another friend!

Tomorrow we're off for Stonehenge and will end the day in Portsmouth.

Our friends June and John at St. Ives.

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