15 May – A more urban day

Cloudy, but warm today. We were in a much more urban environment for most of our walk. First a long “detour” around the head of the inlet/estuary of Hayle which seemed to take forever. Sharing a paved road with cars for the first time in several days was a bit of a drag. Then in and out of suburbs and long a railway track. In places, the trail is squeezed between the track and the cliff edge.

Philip’s explanation of how the route has been recently acquired from private ownership shed much light on the development and placement of this section of the trail. At one point we crept along the edge of a subsiding bank just above the water level. There were signs warning the path would be flooded during high tide. Thankfully we weren’t passing by at high tide, the guide books however made no mention of this potential problem. Clearly the people living along this stretch have been unwilling to allow passage past the end of their properties. In another area the path detours through a hotel because the hotel is in the process of expanding its grounds. We didn’t mind this and went in for our morning refreshments.

Now we are in St Ives. I hope to be meeting my friend Carol who used to live on Seacliff but so far there’s no word from her. Pat and I are about to go out and explore the narrow touristy streets. Marianne has gone to see a sculpture gallery.

St. Ives – tourist Mecca or purgatory? We’ve just returned safe and sound from a foray into the pre season madness of St Ives. Yikes. A lovely young bar tender informed us we should keep our elbows out and be glad we aren’t here when it’s really busy.

As we left the hostel and started down the road a bus load of – dare I say – feeble wobbly tourists disgorged themselves from its interior. They managed to array themselves, clinging one to the other, in a mass of large flailing handbags, walking sticks and other paraphernalia, across the sidewalk in a precarious manner. We were sure that if one got accidentally nudged they would all fall down. Trouble was, people were nudging them to get by. Pandemonium. Pat and I slipped by and dodged into a pharmacy to update our dwindling supplies of ibuprofen. Half the Wobbles followed us in. More pandemonium as they quickly filled the narrow isles with their rotund bodies and glacial random maneuvering. We purchased our needed supplies and beat as hasty a retreat as possible – through the wobbly mob – to the nearest pub!

Fortified we found postcards and stamps – an easily accomplished task. Then found a place by the port to write the cards and people watch while sipping wine. Then into a couple of art galleries. We saw nothing that impressed despite this being an artistic centre of some repute. Turner came here as he liked the light. Then back to the hostel to discover Carol had been and left. We aren’t sure what to make of this but are hoping she returns again.

It is now day’s end. Sadly Carol has not reappeared. We had an enjoyable dinner in yet another pub and are now back at our hostel. I have climbed to the dizzying heights of a very skookum bunk bed. It’s my turn for the top. Last time Pat and I shared the bunk beds was in that weird place with the peacocks and they were too small, wobbly, musty and stinky. The bunks, not the peacocks. These ones are large, fresh and fortified for some sort of rough ocean crossing.

Back to pubs for a moment. Let me explain how to negotiate pubs in the UK. Upon arrival, you go up to the bar, order and pay for your drink and, if eating is to be involved, grab a menu. You find a table and sipping begins while the menu is pursued. Some pubs offer table service for ordering food but at most, you take note of your table number (in larger places) and return to the bar to order the meal, and perhaps another drink. The food is delivered to the table. Once the usually delicious meal is completed, you return to the bar, pay and leave. Tipping is optional and depends on the amount of table service. So easy. No trying to grab a busy waiter’s attention, no embarrassment over over or under tipping. I think the biggest advantage to this system is being able to check out all the beers and ciders on tap, taste test unknowns before choosing and the friendly banter with the bar keepers.

On that note, good night from St Ives.

4 thoughts on “15 May – A more urban day

  1. After choir concerts and company I’ve had a chance to enjoy catching up on your blogs. I’m glad you’re finally getting some better weather! I guess after your walks and treks in more exotic and remote places, the English country-side seems a bit mundane even though it’s quite beautiful. I was pleased to read Philip’s explanation of how some of this coastal path came to be…it does give it more importance.
    I’m afraid I’ve joined your crowd of “feeble Wobbles”. I don’t know how I did it, but I somehow put my back out a few days ago, so now I’m walking hunched over and using my hiking poles on the advice of the physio. Not fun….fingers crossed you never enter that state of being!
    It sounds as though you’re all becoming connoisseurs of English beer and pubs in general…… a great way to end a day!
    I wish you more sunny skies, interesting walks, comfy beds and cold beers!

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