Friday, June 15, 2012

Penzance, St. Michael's Mount, St. Ives and Falmouth...

Penzance is a fair sized town where the railroad line ends.  It fronts the sea with a long boardwalk similar to what you would see in Nice but on a much smaller, less affluent scale.  It is not as pretty as some other Cornish towns but its location on the sea makes it a popular destination.

It and Marizion lie directly across from St. Michael's Mount.

I personally prefer Marazion.  It is a very pretty little market town with lots of character and lies much closer to St. Michael's Mount.

St. Michael's Mount was once enclosed in a great woodland which was covered by the sea leaving this island 400 yards from shore.  The island was mentioned by Pliny the Elder who had access to the ancient Greek texts of the Greek geographer Pytheas who visited the island in the 4th century B.C. making it one of the earliest documented locations in all of western Europe and particularly Britain.

It has been a monastic site since the 8th century and the current monastic buildings were built in the 12th century.  It was given to the national Trust in 1954 but the family that owns it retained a 999 year lease to inhabit the castle. 

It can be accessed via a walkway when the tide is low.

St. Ives was our next stop and it was a tourist nightmare.  It is quaint with narrow streets but was overrun with tourists and I couldn't wait to get out of there.  (It reminded me of the chaos of Venice.  Pretty to see but I don't want to stay there.  Too many tourists!)

Our last stop was Falmouth and Pendennis Castle.

Falmouth is an attractive town facing the bay.

It is located across the bay from another pretty little town, St. Mawes.

To access St. Mawes you can park and ride or park and float!

Pendennis Castle is also found in Falmouth.  It was built by Henry VIII and is really more of a fort than a castle.  It is unusual in that it is round and boasts the the oldest remaining portcullis in the country and its facade still carries the original mark of the king.

Built to protect the entrance to the River Fal, it has stunning views in every direction.

We spent two wonderful weeks in Cornwall and saw so many things but what stands out to me is its sheer natural beauty.  The views are outstanding and dramatic, the villages small and quaint but all of it beautiful.

Next stop Kent!!!!

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