Booking a holiday to somewhere you’ve never been before can be a bit of a lottery, even more so when you do it online. It’s very hard to tell the good from the bad and the bad from the ugly just by reading online reviews and “Visit Us!” websites. A web search for reviews on any place on Earth will always yield a mixed bag of polarised opinion. You can literally type “<resort_name> reviews” into any search engine and get an equal number of “best holiday ever!”‘s and “avoid this total ***thole!”‘s.
Our recent trip to Cornwall was a case in point. Our B&B was in Newquay, which turned out to be the a***hole of Northern Cornwall. Newquay’s great if you’re an 18-25 year-old who wants to spend his days surfing and his nights drinking in tacky nightclubs, fighting strangers in the street and topping off the perfect evening by throwing up on his shoes in an alley. For ordinary boring families like us it has little to offer, but our internet research had offered little by way of cautionary warning of this fact.
Faced with this reality there was nothing for it but to tour the rest of the county in search of the real Cornwall. And we found it in abundance, and despite the wet and windy weather had some great times. Wednesday was the wettest day (ever. In History), so we visited Soaking Tintagel — where King Arthur comes from — and the Drenched Eden Project. Both were nice and full of interesting things, but the impact of both was spoiled slightly by our extremely damp situation. It poured — and I do mean poured — with rain all day long. That evening we drove to Truro with the intention of seeing Kung Fu Panda at The Plaza Cinema on Lemon St. But when we got there we found all the tickets had been sold. I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t get in to a movie because it was a sell-out, but then this is Cornwall, and if you combine the county’s small number of cinemas with the general lack of much else to do and you begin to see why the world and his wife wants to see Kung Fu Panda at the same time we do.
Thursday was the best day. Fresh breezes, sunshine, and cotton wool clouds interspersed with the occasional brief shower. We visited Padstow, Bodmin, Boscastle and St. Mawgan. Padstow is a beautiful fishing village with lots of local colour and some delicious seafood. Boscastle is a unique little village nestling in a tight gorge. Its claim to fame is the dramatic storm which completely flooded the village in 2004. Over £50 million-worth of damage was caused but there were no casualties.
Driving around this part of Cornwall is interesting, because as son as you leave the trunk roads (which you have to do to get anywhere) the roads narrow to become small lanes between hedgerows and in many cases are only wide enough for one vehicle. I spent many miles driving along in second gear, sounding my horn on the approach to each blind bend to warn any approaching vehicle of my presence. We had several close shaves in this constricted environment, but nothing too dangerous.
Abigail and I sampled the Pasties and the local ice cream, and Karen ate normal food. We also ate too much clotted cream fudge (is there such a thing as too much fudge? Not sure.)
I have lots of nice photos of the trip, but I’m writing this on my laptop and the photos are on the new iMac, which Elliot — newly returned from India — is monopolising at the moment, so I’ll post some pics of the Cornwall trip tomorrow.
Welcome home Elliot, by the way!