So, Cornwall Day 2. We stayed at the Penzance Youth Hostel, which was super nice and clean. Thank goodness. I decided to go on the optional "Dawn Patrol" trip, which was meeting at the vans at 7 am. I know. I'm always tired and burnt out, but I am here! I want to live out every second I can and see all the cool stuff physically possible. We climbed into the vans, blinking in the gray sky morning, and headed down a winding road to see some Neolithic sites.
First was Men an Tol. This "stone doughnut" formation was said to increase fertility and cure rickets if you passed through the center hole. I didn't do it. Sorry, future kids. I just want to see how bad you really want me to be your mom.
We had to climb through fields and hedges to get there, and then went in pursuit of another stone formation nearby but couldn't find it. Delirious and sleepy, we ran back to the vans and drove another quarter of a mile or so to our next site, Lanyon Quoit. This is a fairly typical quoit, or Neolithic burial site.
We rushed back to our hostel, hoping to get back in time for breakfast. We stumbled in, covered in leaves, grass and mud, just in time to smell the aroma of a hot English breakfast beckoning our hungry bodies through the door. If any of you don't know what the "full English breakfast" is, it's basically pure cholesterol deliciousness.
Eggs, bacon (uh no. This was a huge slab of salty ham. Yum), sausage, potatoes and/or hashbrowns, tomatoes, baked beans (was a little weirded out by this, but SERIOUSLY. My favorite. So so good for breakfast. I'm craving it now.), toast, croissants with jam and butter, yogurt, cereal, fruit, milk and juice.
It completely knocked my socks off. I loved it. I kept thinking "Man. My dad and Grandpa Stan would really appreciate this." Most mornings here I will have an English muffin, if that, and lately I've been pounding Diet Cokes as I run out the door. This was absolutely fantastic. Since I didn't post these with the previous post about the hostel, here they are now. Pretty nice room, me and the Irish had a good night.
Despite how much we ate, I think we worked it all off at our first stop - St. Michael's Mount. This was one of the coolest places we've been. Yeah. It's on top of that mini-mountain. Luckily the tide was low so we could walk all the way across. And then all the way up. :)
First noted for it's military strategic location, it's use has always been coveted by political and economic leaders. The legend is that St. Michael appeared there in the 5th Century, so a chapel was built on the hill. Now owned by the St. Aubyn family, the chapel is now surrounded by a majestic castle and manor house. Incredible. Once again, my breath was stolen by the heavenly gardens.
Next, we drove out to the Lanhydrock House. First an abbey in the 13th Century, this manor house was built in the 1700s and was owned by the Robartes family. They were the richest family in the southwest quadrant of the island, and the decor certainly testifies of that. Did I see multiple tiger rugs? Like the ones in the movies with the mouths open and roaring with their coats spread out behind them? Yes. One can be seen here on the left hand side of the ENORMOUS billiard table. (Yeah, this house reminded me increasingly of Clue as we were walking through it.)
The craziest thing about this house is that the kitchen, for all intents and purposes, included 7+ rooms. They have rooms for breads, desserts, meats, fresh produce, cleaning, preparing for service, and tons more.
It was out of control. It made me want to have a ridiculously huge dinner party. With drinks and music in THIS garden afterwards. I want it.
Our final stop for the day was the Cotehele House. A Tudor-style manor house, it reflected the shift from military and basic living necessities to more decorative and extravagant details, especially gardens. Unfortunately, the house was closed so we just walked around the grounds. At this point everyone was pretty tired and ready to be home and shower (we'd been wading in the ocean twice, climbed quite a bit and not showered because we stayed in hostels), so we were quite goofy and bored here. We hung out in the gardens, took home a black currant seedling which we affectionately named "Dongle," and then finally headed home. I wish I had taken more pictures, but since I didn't take my laptop to dump my memory card to at the end of the day, I quickly filled up with 2 days worth of photos. At least I got some good ones. Showering was so nice when we got home. I don't think my feet have ever been dirtier.