Our final morning in St Ives was another glorious one and saw us saying a sorry goodbye to the apartment that had been our home for the week. We took a slow meander down through the town and along the seafront before heading up to the bus stop where we joined the queue of people waiting for the bus to Penzance.
We got chatting to a couple in the queue who were from Sweden. They had been walking some of the South West Coastal path on one of those schemes where your luggage is picked up by courier and delivered to the various hotels you have booked along the way so you can walk the path with just what you need for the day. They had train tickets booked with the Trainline to travel from St Ives to London, then on to Gatwick for an evening flight home. They had not been sent any warnings about the train strikes, so had literally arrived ready to travel home and found the station shut! They were frantically trying to figure out what they could do and were hoping they could hire a car in Penzance with the idea of them driving all the way to Gatwick. I felt so sorry for them, what a horrid way to end your holiday. We had everything crossed for their onward journey.
Once in Penzance, we hoped off the bus in the town centre and headed to our B&B which was on the same street we stayed at 5 years ago. When we thought we were only having to book one extra night we had gone for somewhere more central, but now we were staying a couple of nights this location halfway between the town centre and Newlyn was ideal.
It’s a wide tree lined street full of hotels and B&Bs, check in was meant to be 4pm but we had arranged to arrive early and drop our bags off, with the plan to mooch in town and head back for 4pm to check in properly. As luck would have it our room was ready when we arrived at 12, so we were able to check in straight away giving us the whole afternoon as a bonus. Our room was gorgeous, bright and airy at the top of the house with a big bay window over the road. We did a bit of quick unpacking and headed out into the sun.
The weather really was lovely, so we decided to walk to Marizion and St Michael’s Mount. When we arrived, the causeway was just clearing so we were able to walk right over, however when we got there a member of staff was greeting people and warning them there were only 15 minutes until the last entry closed, and only an hour until the island shut.
We decided to save our visit for another time. Instead, we pottered around Marizion, finding a craft fair in the church hall which I dragged Himself into. I couldn’t resist one enticing looking gift shop where I found a birthday card for my friend and some amazing earrings made from recycled copper for myself.
Final purchase was an ice cream to eat as we strolled back to Penzance.
Once we got in, we collapsed on the chairs in the bay window with a refreshing drink, we had both managed to catch the sun despite sunblock. The only downside of our room became apparent, the road below was fairly busy so there was traffic noise (I really must start travelling with earplugs) The other constant noise was the crows! As mentioned, the street was tree lined, and literally every one of the many trees had a colony of crows nesting in it. When they all decided to start cawing at once well, the noise was just incredible. Anyway, I digress.
The restaurant was bliss, not too big and with a lovely, relaxed vibe. The owner seated us and throughout the evening sporadically wondered through to chat with people and help serve. I chose the aubergine parmigiana, I love aubergine and as soon as I saw it on the menu that was it for me. The owner was delighted and was soon waxing lyrical about how every Italian mama has her own version and how every Italian son would travel continents just to get home to eat it, how it should be cooked slowly for hours. I think Himself had glassed over by this point. I have to say when it came the dish was delicious and so plentiful there was no room for pudding. Replete with good food and wine we strolled back along the seafront before turning in for the night.
The next morning was another hot one and after breakfast we set off for Mousehole, slathered in suncream with my burnt bits from yesterday covered up!
It was a gorgeous walk and once there we had absolutely no agenda. We wandered wherever took our fancy, up steep winding streets and down hidden alleyways, with me popping into a couple of the touristy gift shops that I couldn’t resist.
I had spotted a pair of sparkly crab earrings in a shop that was shut with a ‘back in 30 minutes’ sign on the door. We ambled back 40 minutes later and it was still shut, so we gave it another 15 and nope still shut. Boo.
By now it was lunchtime so Himself suggested a drink, we headed back towards the harbour and found a pub where we settled in a window seat to watch the world go by. When it was time to leave Himself suggested giving the shop one more try and this time it was open!
Earrings purchased we walked back to Penzance stopping in a couple of junk shops in Newlyn on the way. We walked the full length of the seafront down to the Jubilee Pool then back through the town centre looking in any shops that took our fancy before going to put our feet up for a couple of hours back at the B&B.
We didn’t really have any plans that night, I had wanted to go back to the Admiral Benbow at some point because I had loved it’s cluttered madness when we visited 5 years ago, Himself was not so keen as it had freaked him out then! As we were leaving the B&B we bumped into the owner who asked us where we were going and then suggested The Dolphin as we hadn’t booked anywhere and it was a Saturday. We had eaten there before and knew the food was good so decided to give it a go. Luckily as it was still early, we were able to get a table for two.
I had delicious fresh caught fish with samphire and sprouting broccoli whilst Himself, who as you may recall hates fish, ate chilli. We knew we had an early start the next day so decided to buy a bottle of wine to take back and drink in our room, I was secretly delighted because it was Eurovision which I never usually miss. So armed with wine and some mint chocolate buttons I settled in front of the TV. Bliss.
The next morning we had an early breakfast, settled our bill and headed to the station to see exactly what trains were running and to where. Luck was on our side and there was an early train heading to London and calling at Reading leaving in the next 20 minutes so we jumped aboard. We only had to buy tickets from Penzance to St Erth as they were honouring strike day tickets. I’m so glad we caught the train at Penzance, which is the start of the journey and meant we could get a seat, because it very rapidly became packed full and standing. I guess there were many other people like us who were now trying to get home. Thankfully it was an uneventful journey, and we were back in the house by late afternoon.
Considering when I first found out we were going to have to book extra days I was not at all happy, we did have a really great time. So thank you Cornwall as ever, and here’s to next time.