Going Cornish

St Ives at High Tide
St Ives at Low Tide

AussieGirl and I spent a nice, long weekend travelling down to the southwest tip of England in the new wheels. I had never been to that part of the country and often heard how beautiful it was. We drove south from Cambridge, circled London to the west and then drove through the arm that points at the Atlantic Ocean. Final destination: the county of Cornwall, town of St Ives – a popular Summer vacation spot since it’s one of the few places in the UK with nice beaches. They actually surf there.

St Ives is intolerably crowded in Summer, so we thought we’d check it out in low season. It was nice, with unexpectedly clean and beautiful beaches. The tides fluctuate so much that you can walk across the harbor twice a day, but be twelve feet under water other parts of the day. That was a little strange.

As it was too cold and wet to don the swimming trunks, the highlight was just roaming the narrow streets and chowing down on Cornish pasties and local seafood. Once, while eating and admiring the ocean, a sea gull swooped down and almost stole my Beef and Stilton pasty right out of my hands. The thing came from behind me and I felt its claws brush the top of my head but I pulled the pasty down before the bastard bird could snatch it. Evidently not so rare an occurrence. Oh, and it being an artist community, there’s a branch of the Tate that we checked out. Cool gallery building, so-so contemporary art on exhibit.

While there, we stayed at a hotel with an interesting history. It was built not long after Columbus “discovered” America, was a prison, a brothel, and most significantly “the first Inn in Great Britain to sell Guinness”. Unfortunately, they didn’t sell it any more, but we visited the popular Sloop Inn pub on the wharf (circa 13th ceentury) and had a nice real ale.

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