A Travellerspoint blog

Day 18 - Cornwall

rain 10 °C
View UK Trip 2014 on AlastairPorritt's travel map.

I woke up to the lovely sea view to see the rain coming down. Oh well, not a bad run of sunshine until now. I contemplated staying inside and relaxing for the day, but I thought that would be a waste.
Good job I bought a small umbrella on the first days in London.

I decided to keep things a little light, so I drove off down to the Lizard. I did not realize until now that this place is not called "The Lizard", it is just called "Lizard". It did not take long from Falmouth, but with the rain pouring down, I had to take it real easy.

Just before Lizard, on the right is the turn off to Kynance Cove. When I was little, we stayed there for a few days or week in a little old cottage right on the beach front.
At the moment the cottage is abandoned and fenced off due to the building being condemned.
Opposite to the cottage is now a café. It was nearly high tide, so the sand was not visible. The lady in the café said that most of the sand had been washed away in the recent storms we all heard about recently in the UK. That's a real shame because I remember at low tide, this was one of the most lovely sandy beached I had ever been to. Google with probably show Kynance Cove in all its glory.

Next I decided to head back to Falmouth, with the rain still coming down, I headed to Pendennis castle. This is quite an unusual castle, as it has been modified during WW2 to defend Falmouth. The old castle walls are covered in grass, and in one or two places they can be seen next to the newer structures.
Many of the gun emplacements are still intact as well as the bunkers where they stored the ammo for the guns.
You can't see it in the photos, but it was still raining steadily.

In the keep, on the top main floor, typical as in many of the museums I have visited is a display that starts up as you walk into the room. In this room are canons pointing at various angles out to sea. As you walk in, the display starts up with booms as the guns go off and smoke machines for effect. "Ok me 'eartys, ther be a ship out to sea. Load! Fire!"

Feeling a little tired and still yet to have a lazy day, I headed back to the hotel and relaxed on the balcony for a couple of hours. Luckily, the rain stopped a little while before and the sun came out in full force determined to make up for being missing in action earlier.

So that's my time in Cornwall. Next I am heading off to see some relatives for a couple of days before heading off to Munich. I will give the sight seeing a break until then, so probably there will be not more posts until then.
Bye for now.

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Posted by AlastairPorritt 22:48 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 17 - Torquay

sunny 20 °C
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This is tourist central of Devon. There appears to be more hotels, guest house and B&B than anywhere else I have seen. In one street, for a couple of hundred metres or so, every house on one side of the street was accommodation. Probably why I got such a good price at the Palace Hotel. High season demand probably sees these hotels full, other times, offering B&B prices for a 4-5 * hotel.

Now I have to have a special mention here about The Palace Hotel. I cannot fault the service. The food was just brilliant and the service in the restaurant was first class. The staff were very nice and helpful and could not fault in any way.
I would rate this hotel as 5 stars for service.
However, the wonderful service was let down by the age and condition of the building. It has been allowed to slide and subsequently it is less than satisfactory. Just little things like the door handle loose and a real struggle to get the key to unlock the door, antiquated shower with a fiddly system for setting the water flow. Actually, looked like something that a DIY inventor knocked up.

Unfortunately, I had a very sleepless night on the second night due to the people above, who for a good hour from 10.30pm did not realize their footsteps sounded like a herd of elephants. In fact, I only heard one person, the next day I found out there were two people. So one particular selfish sod had no sense of etiquette at all. At some stages I though cracks would appear in the ceiling as the footsteps sometimes ended with such a thump, the floor make a loud cracking noises. Actually, it was not a one off, because once they rose in the morning, the same thing happened.
So to "The Berry's" who stayed in the Palace Hotel in Torbay for 3 nights in May 2014, probably room 202, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for ruining my stay.

The staff were very good about it and said they would upgrade my room. However, this very nice room had a major fault. Such a loud humming noise coming through the wall. So I asked for yet another room. This last room was tiny, chairs were hard as rock, and no WIFI at all.
So I took this as a message from above - time to move on.
So 10/10 for service & 3/10 for the rooms.

I did have plans to spend the afternoon relaxing and kicking back. In fact, I have been so busy this would have been my first real afternoon just relaxing. Instead I find myself checking out at 4pm and heading to Cornwall on a 2 hour drive.

So I arrived in Falmouth at 6pm, with nowhere yet to stay. Drove around a bit, did not like the look of the large waterfront hotels. Drove around the headland, and eventually found a hotel in a back street. Fortunately, they had a room available. So far, this is the best room I have had on the trip. A little more than what I would like to pay though. Probably would have looked elsewhere if I had booked in advance purely based on price. Being the last 2 nights in the UK I will spend in hotels, it will be OK.

Anyway, I digress. Before all this happened, I did spend a lovely few hours just ambling around Torquay harbour.
I must say this: 3 hours in the sun and I was not burnt or uncomfortable. Just brilliant, and rare, for me. The Australian sun is just too powerful, I can only expose myself to for a few minutes and I start burning. So enjoyable and relaxing just to soak up the sun for once.
On the way to the harbour, I took the scenic route around the headland. I was surprised to see sea fog rolling in, quite a sight, and in such contrast to the beautiful sunny day.

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Posted by AlastairPorritt 23:44 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 16 - Torcross & Slapton

overcast 11 °C
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We used to visit this little place to see my grand parents on my mothers side. This place is really made up of three distinct areas.
Torcross being the seaside town at the end of the beach, Slapton Sands being the very long beach, and Slapton is the village up the hill from the beach.

During the war, the entire area of 3000 people were evacuated so the American's could practice beach landings ahead of the D-Day landings.
The beach was similar in some respects to Utah beach, being 3 mile wide.
Due to mishaps and an attack by the Germans during the exercises, a significant number of marines were killed. In fact more were killed here than on the actual D-Day landings at Utah Beach.

During the exercises, a Sherman Tank kitted out with floatation devices sank because a cover was not fitted. Many years later this was discovered and winched to shore. This now stands as a memorial to the service men who lost their lives in the training exercises.

During the war, this area was heavily fortified against attack from the sea. Little remains now as various storms over the years have eroded the shoreline.

In more recent times, a heavy duty sea wall was built to prevent more erosion.

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Posted by AlastairPorritt 00:15 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 12 - The Cotswolds

Somehow I missed out this one (Was not a full day, I was on my way to Birmingham)

sunny 24 °C
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On the way up to Birmingham, I passed through the Cotswolds

The first place I visited was a place called Bibury.
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Arlington Row, a really old street, dates back to 1380. Very popular spot and has been used in films such as Stardust.
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Next stop was Chedworth Roman Villa.
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Burton-on-the-Water was the last town on the way north I stopped at. Packed with tourists and day trippers, it was still work a visit.
Bought an ice cream and wandered up and down the main street. A river runs parallel with little arch bridges connecting the two roads.

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Dropped into the model village.
The funny thing about model villages, you see the model of the village, within the model of the village.
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Posted by AlastairPorritt 23:35 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 15 - Trip To Devon

rain 12 °C
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As I travelled further south towards Devon, the weather progressively got worse. By the time I got to Torcross, it was steadily raining.
I found the bed and breakfast I had booked, and this was one of those cases where what you see on the internet does not reveal the full picture.

They said they had parking for up to 4 cars in the back lane. Well lane it was with perhaps only 300mm either side of the car. Then the parks themselves, well they were really only suitable for the smallest of cars. After some difficulty parking the car (And there was only one other car there at the time), I grabbed my bags and headed on up. I was met with a steep & slippery steel staircase. After a couple of steps, I thought - stuff this. I went back to the car and googled accommodation in the area.

For another £15 a night I found The Palace Hotel. It was a no brainer really.

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Posted by AlastairPorritt 23:25 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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