Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wales: Day 19 Cornwalling

We left at 6 am for a 2 day trip to Cornwall, which proved to be one of the best couple days of our entire stay here. All in all, the drive was about 3 hours, but went by very quickly, as we were all studying like crazy. Yeah, we've actually been "studying abroad."

Our first stop was the famed Tintagel Castle, the place of conception and, some say, birth and childhood of King Arthur. While there is some fact and some fiction regarding a certain "King" Arthur, it's hard NOT to believe in the legend when you stand on these cliffs.

On these cliffs there was a 5th Century Abbey which is theoretically contemporary with Arthur, although the castle was not built until the 16th Century. Still, the entire site is absolutely stunning. We climbed down the slick, steep steps to Merlin's Cave (which is actually more of a tunnel). The tide was low enough that we could go all the way through, which was pretty awesome. We also enjoyed hanging out on the coast, which included a beautiful waterfall.

We hiked back up the towering stairs and even further still until we reached the top of the cliffs and the castle ruins. It was so majestic and just awesome. The coastline is gorgeous, and we were up so high we could see for miles. A light breeze was blowing, and the sun was shining, clear and bright. It could not have been more perfect. Plenty of photo ops, and even some time for yoga.

We enjoyed some delicious, DELICIOUS pasties at the local Cornish pasty shop (umm we were in CORNWALL. How could we NOT get some legit pasties?), and then hit the road again. We drove further down the coast to St. Ives. This little coastal town is just so quaint and picturesque. I loved it. The beach is clean, the lighthouses worthy of paintings and postcards, and rows and rows of winding streets filled with cute boutiques kept us busy all afternoon.

During free time, after perusing some shops, I chilled on the beach while my friends took a nap. I finally started writing a letter that I've been meaning to write for months, and it was just the perfect setting. I loved it. Unfortunately, after writing the letter, the girls and I were brutally attacked by SEAGULLS. The seagulls of St. Ives are particularly vicious. They will stop at nothing to seize your savory treats - in my case, a croissant. Somehow, at the end of the day after accounting for all the girls who were attacked on the shores of St. Ives, we found that all the girls were residents of Penny Lane - my house. What are the odds? Us and only us were affected. Effing seagulls. They actually cut Sam's lip! They drew blood! This is why I hate nature/animals.
The best part of the day came after St. Ives, when we drove further yet down the coast to Sennen's Cove. From there, we hiked all the way up to the clifftops and down to Land's End. This is the furthest westward point in Britain. It was fantastic. It was slightly cloudy, with a fresh breeze tossing my hair about my face. The waves crashed into the rocks and cliffs, and the grasses and wildflowers of the clifftop meadows swam in the salty air.

If you listen to touching love ballads and epic songs while sitting on a huge rock, on the edge of cliff, looking out over a neverending ocean, as the sun drifts toward the horizon,

Your life will change.

This will go down in my top 5 favorite things we've done, guaranteed. Absolutely amazing. You feel so small and insignificant, and suddenly every Mae song you've ever heard makes sense. It was an introspective, quiet sort of evening, and I really really love those. Thanks to the Irish girls for all of the "creeper" pics of me! :)

Our day was supposed to end there, but we added another stop so as to have less to conquer on the following day. Carn Euny is a site marking the remains of the longest occupied settlement in early British history. Built in the 5th Century BC and occupied until the retreat of the Romans in the 4th Century AD, this town is remarkably preserved, and pretty cool. We didn't spend too long there because it was cold and we were exhausted from climbing and walking all day long, but it was neat.
The funniest part of our day was when we were barreling down this narrow, hedged road in the countryside (as per our normal procedures), and all of a sudden we round a bend and find our self bumper-to-nose with 5 horses and their riders. So funny! Maybe it was because it was getting late and we were just so tired, but I could not stop laughing. So great. We scooted to the side as far as we could and tried to let them pass, and eventually both parties were free.

Finally we went "home." Home for the night was my first hostel - Penzance. I've heard horror stories about hostels, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Luckily, Tom got us a SWEET hostel. It was great. The bed there was 100000x better than my bed here in Penny Lane. The rooms were spacious and clean, and I didn't feel grossed out at all (which is saying something. Most of the time I've been here I've been at least 30% grossed out, often times more). I was in a room with the "Irish" and we had a lovely evening. A great end to another great day! :)

1 comment:

  1. Personally... I love how you think the guy in the row was the funniest thing from the whole day. Yet, really, the killer seagulls, in fact, was truly the most funny thing from our perspective.