When we first started planning this trip we weren't sure if there was enough to do in Cornwall to maintain our interest for a week. Now we know that we easily could have lingered, but reservations were already made and we had to move on. When we tried to phone our new landlord to get the key code, we discovered that the 10 pounds credit we had loaded the phone with had evaporated somehow. We couldn't put in more minutes via credit card without an account and we couldn't make an account without a local zip code. So we drove to a gas station, bought a voucher and keyed that into the phone. That seemed to work. Then we had to figure out how to dial the number, because we can't tell what is an area code or even what area we are in. People like us who prefer not to take group tours have to be prepared to face such challenges, but they sure are frustrating until we figure out what to do.
We had to leave Nequay by 10am and weren't supposed to be in Torquay until 3, so we had lots of time to linger along the way. We don't like to park and leave the car full of luggage, since you are vulnerable to the "smash and grab," but we are in Cornwall, not in Italy. We took a walk to the Carnewas Bedruthan Steps, a beach area that reminded us of the Oregon coast. Climbing down from the parking lot to the overlooks left us breathless so we were almost glad that it was high tide and we couldn't continue the climb down to the beach. The ocean looks clean and blue around here and powerful waves crashed into the rocks piles that had fallen from the eroded shoreline. A lovely spot.
Then we drove on to Padstow to the National Lobster Hatchery. For locals Padstow is the place to go for ultra gourmet meals; celebrity chefs have their restaurants here, but we are finding normal food pricey enough. The hatchery was begun in 2002 to preserve the local lobster population which was in danger of collapse. Fishermen bring in the females when they are loaded with eggs and the fry are raised for a few months to a size where they might more likely survive predation. It sounded like they are doing well with the project, but could use a lot more space to keep the baby lobsters for a longer time. The last time we were in Maine the lobster population was so large that the fishermen were frustrated by the low prices they were getting, so as far as we know such hatchery techniques have not been tried in North America for lobsters.
For lunch we stopped at the Rt. 38 diner, an homage to the world famous Rt. 66 which ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. At home we are always amused at the great interest Europeans feel for this long gone road and we could feel the love as we munched our American style burgers and listened to Buddy Holly music. American and Confederate flags festooned the walls and we got ice cubes in our drinks. It almost felt like home.
Then on to our next home away from home perched on top of a high cliff after a drive 30º down to the shore and then an equally steep, winding drive up our drive way. The view of the bay below is amazing. Our landlord welcomed us with a bottle of wine and told us that the red gash down the nearby hillside was caused by a large home losing its grip and sliding down into the ocean. Here's hoping ours will stay put for the next week.
Torquay is part of what is called the British Riviera. We think we came here on our first driving tour of England in the early 1980's and were sorely disappointed by this tacky dilapidated area. I remember walking a pier with rotting supports and a merry-go-round whose figures hardly had any paint left on them. Our first impression is that things have improved considerably in the last thirty years. The beach is wide and sandy and rimmed with many boutique hotels.