Friday, 14 April 2017

Cornwall break

On the way to Paddington station we encounter a woman carrying a huge religious icon and a man wearing a ladies' hat. It all seems like a casual saturday, but today was more than that. It was the 1st of April. We even got a joke from the GWR's conductor: "your compartment doesn't exist". And it didn't.

If you know me, then it's no secret that I love trains. I would live on a train, work on a train, spend all my holidays travelling by train. I even tried to have my 27th birthday party on a train, but James convinced me to reduce the 24th hour travel to 5 hours only and go to Edinburgh. 

The journey from London to Camborne takes 5 hours and a half, which leaves you enough time to write a story, watch two vintage films, get drunk at the restaurant or re evaluate your life. Or glue your wedding photos in an album for your grandparents and all sort of things you should have done by now. 

We went through Bath Spa, Bristol and Plymouth on our way to Camborne, which reminded us that the only reason why we didn't revisit or visit some of them was because we're terribly poor, so poor that we didn't even "visit" any shop in six months ( THAT'S 180 DAYS, BEAT THAT) . You all know what I mean by "visiting" a shop, don't pretend you're a snob and if you are, stop reading this article and stop being my friend. 
*visiting shops= So you're just going there to see what's new with no real intention to buy anything or even touch the exponents, pretend all clothes have a transparent glass in front of them as you do in every decent museum. The only accepted activity is that of sneaking a picture of the item and deleting it in a week after realizing you don't have enough memory on your phone.   

Day 1- Camborne

Our first trip was to Camborne where we stayed and visited a lovely garden, then headed to Godrevy, which inspired Virginia Woolf to write the Lighthouse. I just think I should start writing another novel and turn it into a trend or literary movement on novels inspired by that specific lighthouse from Godrevy. 

My teeth look a bit yellow in the picture below, but it's just the filter. 

Yes, James, we all got it. You enjoy being 15 now.

Literally all my photos from Cornwall are in this jacket from The North Face. Not because I'm terribly poor, but because the entire trip was cold and windy. You need to check the weather forecast before leaving London.

Can I just add how scared I still am of the British tide? I just fear the moon will get upset one day on humanity and generate massive waves and I'll be caught on the beach trying to take stupid selfies so I generally try not to spend too much time on beaches that I couldn't possibly abandon in 5 seconds. 

Day 2 - Porthleven

First of all, if you go to Cornwall and want to see things you need a car. Secondly, Porthleven is the most southerly port on the island of Great Britain. The panoramic views on Google look more spectacular than mine, so give it a go.
  Interesting facts: the cafes and restaurants serve fresh fish from the most impressive harbour in Cornwall, which was built with the aid of French prisoners of war since Napoleonic times. If you're an experienced surfer, this could be paradise. If you're not, they still have great tea, seafood and old historical buildings dating 200 years ago.

White cat, make a wish or take it home!

I love the houses' names(Anchor Cottage, Song of the Sea Seacrest etc) , I assume they all belong to fishermen or rich investors who barely spend their holidays here. #givemeyourhouse

Spotted: an artist's garden. HOW MUCH IS THE MERMAID?

Interesting rooftop, just in case the waves would come to that point. Noah, is that you? 

  The Lizard and Kynance Cove Beach

This is the first place I visited while being in Cornwall. It's my favourite one as well and the most south-westerly point in Britain, listed within Cornwall's area of outstanding natural beauty.  In pubs by the shore people are singing Cornish traditional songs and folk music and I'm sure they're great as I never heard them. Artists are gathering to paint the cliffs, surfers do their tricks, photographers plan their best shots, families get lovely memories for life, writers give birth to memorable characters and couples fall in love with each other even more. 

I could see me and James coming here with our children and I could see my dad experiencing this beauty, which just happened because his grandparents are absolutely outstanding human beings, my favourite ones. But I will write more about them in a different post.  

My head is your shoulder.

Can I, please, live in that house there where they serve tea and ice cream? One thing I love about Britain is its ability to preserve beauty by holding on to rules. One rule is that you're not allowed to build on this land. 

Not the serpentine you know

There's a 10 minute walk down to the cove and I recommend doing it at low tide, so you can explore the caves above the beach. Kynance Cove belongs to the National Trust who is preserving areas like this in the UK with the help of its members. Tempted to get a membership next year along with a Tate one. 

As James put it: "When the guy running around with no shoes on (in the first week of April) asks you to take a photo of his family standing on a big rock you oblige."

Not too sure why this, the second venue in the whole area is closed, but we came up with a lot of ideas on how it could be developed the entire way back home. 

The Lizard Lighthouse 

Oldie but goldie for 260 years, guiding ships home and now becoming an interactive learning centre due to the National Lottery. Send your lover a message in Morse code and learn how to spell your name using Semaphore flags.

Lifeboat station- closed since 1961

Day 3 - Saint Ives

Saint Ives starts with a lovely walk where you can see the city from above. It also starts with cream tea at Porthminster Cafe. My first one this year, a true delish. 
Saint Ives is one of the ten best European beach destinations recommended by TripAdvisor and has been a muse for artists for decades starting with Henry Moore, Turner and continuing with Barbara Hepworth whose museum we visited later on the evening. 

What you can do here: Take a boat to watch the seals sunbathe or cloudbathe at the Sea Island, visit the Tate, Barbara Hepworth's studio, take surf lessons, get lost through the cobbled streets and fishermen's cottages and try to resist their souvenirs.

Enjoy the wild air.

Cream tea with scones at Porthminster Cafe

This is the point where fishermen would notify others of the location of fish in the sea on the day and signal it to help the finding.

Were they waiting for the bus or just for a photographer to surprise this scene?

Barbara Hepworth museum

Wild seals and good woman wanted to cook, clean and sew. Saint Ives, I thought you're open minded.

Outstanding vegetarian salad at Porthgwidden Beach Cafe with a sea view on our way to the Island.

Heading to the Island

A group of students sketching the epic landscape

Tate Saint Ives-quite conceptual and focused on sculptures. They had good wine though.


Day 4 - Minack Theatre and Porthcurno Beach

An outstanding open air theater built 80 years ago not by the greeks, but by Rowena Cade into the granite cliff. This is a perfect example of how to take your garden to the next level. 
The summer theatre runs from may to september and has amazing views and sub-tropical gardens. 

Make your way from the Minack Theatre to Porthcurno beach  by walking the steep coastal path down the side of the cliff and enjoy the soft sand and the turquoise water. Remember you're not in Greece though and don't get too excited, you might not be able to get into the water, it's the Atlantic Ocean, remember? However, you can try wearing a wetsuit and spot dolphins. 

In the 19th century the Telegraph Museum ( which is 5 minutes away from this beach ) was connected to the rest of the world by submarine cables. Today you can experience two secret world war tunnels and enjoy the interactive activities organised by the museum. 

Cape Cornwall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Can you spot Charles de Gaulle? 

Cape Cornwall Mine was  a tin mine (really?) which was closed in 1883, but the chimney near the peak of the cape was kept as an aid to navigation. Mind the wind and paint the waves if you can.

Ceramics workshop with artist Margaret Kumsang 

As I will be teaching my pupils ceramics at my new job, in july, I thought it would be a good idea to learn it from a true artist in an epic setting. 

Last day- Cream tea, scones and seals in Godrevy from the van

My ideal family day, picking up wild flowers for Margaret and spotting seals on an isolated bay.  We ran on the shores of the Atlantic once again, skimming stones and making plans for the future. 

The journey back

It's always hard to leave Cornwall and its magic behind, but we've got two special people and this place to look forward to seeing again next time we visit. On the way back  a french family with 2 children was sitting next to us and they were all wearing matching sweaters. I know you see this in schools as a sign of equality, but today it was a message of love and unity. 

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