Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 5: Leaving Cornwall/Entering Bath

Today we woke up early again to make sure we took advantage of the free breakfast offered. We got to the dining room at 8:30 and helped ourselves to some fresh fruit and cereal. We were the only ones at the B&B that night so we had complete reign of where to sit. We chose this great table near the window with, yet again, another awesome view.
Karen, our host, whipped up a delicious, freshly made breakfast for us. We each got eggs, sausage, toast and tomato. All local ingredients from no more than 5 miles away! Eric was experimental and tried the black sausage (which is sausage with honey, spices and...blood). He liked it. I didn’t muster up the courage to try it. Also, those mushrooms on his plate were incredible...
From there we checked out and had a great conversation with Karen about her husband who is a diver. He’s currently decompressing from a 600ft dive he did the other day. He’ll be in a chamber for 6 days getting back to normal and then he goes in a watch period for another 2 days. He inspects the bottom of boats and legs on bridges, etc... That explains all the diving bells and diving photos around her house. That was a great place to stay. We both hope to make it back there one day.
From St. Ives we drove north with more photo ops along the way...
We stopped at Tintagel; the town believed to be the birthplace of King Arthur. We parked our car in a field before walking along the coast to the ruins. Finally got a great shot of our sweet ride...
The footpath to the ruins was sectioned off by these wooden gates you had to open along the way.
Lots of snails tucked in quiet corners.
 Stone fences.
Here’s the chapel, the first stop before the ruins. It was gorgeous, quiet and dark.
A lot of the headstones were covered in moss.
Entrance and tower.
Door from the inside.
Ravens add to the somber ambiance.
Continuing on the footpath towards the ruins we took more pictures of the crazy cliffs.
So here’s the background of the castle King Arthur may or may not have been born in... The castle originally stretched out along a peninsula. About 100 years after it was built, the piece of land under the middle of the castle eroded and eventually collapsed bringing down the the parts of the castle it was supporting along with it. This separated it in to 2 pieces of land; one being the island. On the outskirts of the island are remains of buildings that date back to the iron ages. Obviously, that’s pretty awesome so we couldn’t really stop taking pictures. The picture below shows the castle remains that are on the mainland (the patch of grass that's connected to the steps).
The rest of the castle remains are on the island (shown below).
These are the steps you have to take to get to the island.
Original entrance to the castle.
 These rectangular borders are the remains of shelters dating back to the Iron Age.
At this point, it was 2:30 and we were starving but had an 1.5 hour drive ahead of us before stopping for a bite. It was 90 minutes of intense driving. Super tight lanes, extremely sharp turns, a couple encounters with the the barriers and our wheels but no blood! We parked the car at Ilfracombe; a small town along the coast. The restaurant our guide book suggested smelled like foul fried food. So we bailed and asked some locals for their suggestions. One was too expensive, the next closed, the final was a local pub recommended by a mother walking with her daughter. Local indeed. Tiny, quaint and nothing but Ilfracombers inside. We sat at a table situated right next to a very old well (700 years old) and ordered some bar food and drinks. The food was nothing to write home about but the atmosphere and experience were great. You can see part of the well in the bottom left of this picture.
Before hopping back in the car, we took a walk up Lantern Hill to St. Nicholas Chapel (built in 1320).
The path up to the chapel.

 Back of the chapel.

 Hunting for snails.
From there we had to rush up north 3 hours to Bath. The ride was mostly on an M road making it a lot safer as it got darker. Those B and C roads aren't too well lit. We got in a half hour before check-in ended. A quick bite to eat at a bistro up the street and we were off to bed in no time; prepping for another long day ahead of us.

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