When I visited Cornwall with my parents growing up,we spent a lot of time driving around visiting small fishing villages. I remember one time we pulled over to the side of the road to photograph a small island with a castle on top, but although it looked intriguing, we moved on. I’ve often thought of that island and today we went for a visit.
St. Michael’s Mount was built 1500 years ago as a monastery,but was later converted to a fortified castle, and eventually into a home. Now overseen by the National Trust we were thrilled to find a parking space until the lot attendant said, “St. Michael’s Mount is closed on Saturdays.” Why Saturday of all days I did not know, but it really was not a problem. With the tide out, we walked across the stone causeway and were able to tour the base of the island where 39 people live in stone houses. It sounds so rustic, but when I opened the creaky wooden door to the bathroom I was greeted with a recorded voice that said, “Welcome. Please wave your hands if you are visually impaired and instructions will will be given.” I have never experienced anything like that.
Back in town we stopped at an outdoor restaurant overlooking the island. Children with bucket and spade in hand either dug in the sand or went meticulously tide pooling.
The sun came out as we headed to our next stop which was the ancient village of Chysauster. It’s the archaeological remains of a prehistoric village high on a wind swept hill. Walking up the gravel path to the site we stopped to admire miniature ponies munching on grass while bees buzzed about the raspberries growing along the hedge. Once we reached the top of the hill, signboards explained each dwelling. All that remains are the stone foundations but they stir the imagination. Some people believe that if Christ visited Cornwall which he may have because one of his disciples was a tin trader, its the round stone thatched roofed houses he would have seen.
Our last stop today was St. Ives, a seaside town with an expansive beach. Finding a parking space was a nightmare. We ended up driving along the beach with hundreds of people oblivious to a car behind them. The streets were so narrow everyone pulled in all their mirrors.
At the promenade I bought a Cornish clotted cream vanilla bean ice cream cone. As I stepped out onto the beach it suddenly felt as if someone threw a stiff pillow at my head. It happened so fast that before I knew it, my ice cream cone was being carried off by a resourceful seagull. We’ve heard stories about this. All I remember is a flutter of wings and it was over, a total ambush right on the beach.
Dinner tonight was again at Indidog in Falmouth. It is a new restaurant owned by Simon and Vanessa who own our accomodation and it was delicious. We had hake and mussels fresh from the sea. All this while enjoying a view of the harbor. Tomorrow we leave for Yorkshire.