Monday, February 6, 2017

Cornwall Part I: Mousehole & St. Ives

On the coastal path in Cornwall, near Tintagel

Back in early November, Anna, her mom and I went to stay in Cornwall for about a week. Anna's mom is friends with someone that owns a 13th century cottage near the coastal town of Tintagel, which is where we stayed. The cottage was very rustic, but I really enjoyed the opportunity to stay somewhere so old. It was amazing to sit near the fire and think of all the people who lived there over the centuries and what their lives must have been like.

When I say it was rustic though, imagine a place that's perpetually a bit cold, damp and drafty, although once you got the fire going and put on a couple of extra layers it was surprisingly comfortable. It even had electricity! I spent a lot of time during that week sitting by a window that looked out over the fields to the ocean sipping coffee and doing some creative writing.

The 13th cent. cottage that we stayed in

Where I spent most of my time that week

Near our cottage was a farm raising red Cornish cattle and to get to the nearest pub we walked through about a foot of mud in the cow and sheep fields. The ocean near there was gorgeous in a very rugged way, with black cliffs and a very dramatic coastline.

Some of the Cornish red cattle near our cottage

Our first day trip from the cottage with Anna's mom was out to the little port town of Mousehole (pronounced like "mouz-ole"). We had all read a famous children's book about the town called the Mousehole Cat, which is a really beautiful story about a cat and an old fisherman who save the town from starvation by going out into a storm to fish. Both the story and the illustration are wonderful.

It was really fun to see the actual town of Mousehole, which is quite small, and you can easily walk around it in an hour or less. There were some nice shops selling local art and souvenirs, a few good pubs, and we had some amazing Cornish ice cream (it's very rich and creamy). 

The port town of Mousehole

One of the beautiful illustrations in the children's book, The Mousehole Cat

From there we drove over to the much bigger town of St. Ives, which like most towns in Cornwall is also a port. There was a lot more to do here, with lots of narrow streets crowded with tourists and plenty of good places to stop and eat or go shopping. The harbor was a really nice area to walk around at sunset.

Walking through St. Ives

The St. Ives harbor at sunset

There was a lot of good food everywhere we went. The most famous things in Cornwall are the pasties, which are basically little pies filled with meat or vegetables. They're similar to the empanadas we used to get in Chile. The other thing Cornwall is known for is its fudge, which was definitely one of my favorite things there. It was really thick and not quite as smooth as the fudge I've had in the U.S. The most common flavors were clotted cream and rum raisin, and salted caramel was really popular when I was there.

Cornish pasties on display

But really, the best thing about Cornwall for me was the landscape. It's really beautiful in a wild, craggy way. I loved the red and green fields, the black cliffs, walking along the coastal path to little beaches... I really can't recommend visiting Cornwall enough.

Cornwall Part II: Tintagel & Padstow

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