Thursday, 26 January 2012

Oh Boy(le) !

And Ma is not alone. There's Rukma. My mad friend from those corporate days. Rukma is one of the wisest people I know. We get along famously. The bond is such that after months of no-contact, we just start from where we'd left. You know the type. The no-hi-hello-needed type.

Where others compliment the pretty pic, she comes up with curt ones like, ''So apart from clicking your own photos & commenting on them, what else are you doing?'' I give a wicked, ''And you think that's less work?'' But the damage has already been done!

So I decide to tell her about Cornwall. And of course, do it for Ma too :)

Christmas holidays are a big deal in Western countries. Unlike India where we have barah mahine mein terah parab, Jesus rules in the West. Whether godliness does is quite another matter. But the festivities sure do! NOBODY works those ten days is what we'd been told. We saw the truth in it only after we came to London. Offices close on or before 24th Dec & reopen only on the 3rd of Jan. The tube & bus services remain closed on the 25th of Dec. All are expected to stay at home & celebrate with the loved ones. And the homeless, I wanted to ask. But didn't...

'So where are you going in the Christmas hols?' is a common refrain among friends this time of the year. I'd told P that London was as new to me as any other part of Europe so I didn't intend escaping to any place else. "Let's spend Christmas & New Year's eve in London, the in-between four days we can go somewhere." I also wanted to experience the Boxing Day madness here!

Whatever made P decide on Cornwall, I don't know. But that's another of his choices I raise my hat to! is where he started his research from, apart from the tried & tested Wikipedia! Situated in the South West of England, Cornwall is balmier than most places of UK. For the Dec cold, this was one of the more comfortable options. The Great West Rail from London Paddington took 5.5 hrs to reach Penzance, the most westerly major town of Cornwall. 
Penzance Railway station
The breath-taking view from the train makes you stay awake during the journey. The Penzance station & the Celtic Sea run parallel, much to the wonder-struck gasps of holiday- makers. The cameras start clicking even before the train has rolled out of the station! There are B&Bs at affordable prices; check for deals before travel. We found a pub-hotel-restaurant named Longboat inn @ £60 per night. Just opposite the Railway & Bus Station, at the entrance to the market place, lb is ideal in many respects. The food is fresh & the service, friendly. The Tuesday night quiz is open to all, winning which gives you a free dinner! They also have a state of art theatre in which you can watch the listed flicks from 8.30pm every night for free :)

The umbrella structure above my head is the bus station

We spent the first evening walking along the sea & later in the evening, strolling in the market place. You cannot escape a Tesco or an Iceland anywhere in the UK! For the followers of familiarity, that's a bonus!
The second day's itinerary had Minack Theatre & Lands End, both of which places left us hungering for more. See these pics below to get a glimpse of what you will miss if you don't visit Cornwall :)

Rowena Cade built this open air theatre

The Longships Lighthouse
 that can be seen from Lands End
The First & Last House of England

Don't venture further than this 

The next day was St Ives, a small sleepy coast 20mins from Penzance. Take the rail, you will love the journey; the reasonable ticket fare will only add to the happiness quotient! Alternately, one can take a bus. That is a longer journey at almost double the cost!

I am boarding off at St Ives & I spot a familiar face! I cannot shout out the name, I try hard to poke P who is busy dragging the bag out. Just a small backpack! Before P can join me & look askance at my flushed face, the man has walked away. Which celebrity freezes to be photographed while you frantically search for your partner so he can capture the moment! Oblivious to my near-brush with fame, P tries looking at the receding figure. To no avail. Boyle has taken long strides into the future...

No, I did not click this :(

Town of St Ives behind
Don't miss the Barbara Hepworth museum

Whoever said opportunity never knocks twice must have dozed off! I am boarding the train at  Penzance the next day & again I spot the famous face! Fair, radiant, refreshed! Again I insanely try to catch P's eyes. But the spectacles come in the way! His. Not mine! Boyle has again walked away before husband dear could sense how famous his wife could become! 

The Porthmeor Beach @ St Ives

As I lament not featuring in the next Danny Boyle film, you go check out St. Michael's Mount. You cannot miss this if you are in Penzance.

At low tide, one can walk to the Mount
St Michael's Mount. Take a ferry from Marazion to reach here

And don't forget the Eden Project, the Island of Scilly & feeding the seals.
Happy Holidays, people!

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