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My Week In Photos: Cornwall

Cornwall

I got home from Cornwall at 7.30am on Saturday, bleary-eyed, with my stomach full of nothing but Watsits.  A pretty standard British holiday, if you ask me.  I had flu/allergies/whatever-that-thing-was all week, but still managed to do some wonderful things while I was away…

Cornwall Polperro

We visited Polperro, a gorgeous fishing village that was just down the hill from our accommodation.

Cornwall

Cornwall

We followed the narrow streets round to the Model Village.

Cornwall

We stole a day to revisit Newquay. Parking was still extortionately priced, but we had an amazing fried breakfast and enjoyed lounging on the beach.

Cornwall Bodmin Jail

Bodmin Jail was an interesting afternoon trip. Curiously, I thought it wasn’t quite as atmospheric as I was expecting, but the exhibits were fascinating!

Cornwall Bodmin Jail

Cornwall Bodmin Jail

Cornwall

Cornwall Bodmin Jail

There was a big blue, terrifying room full of cells, each one housing a different crime. Some were pretty grotesque, and scary… (and this photo is of one of the gentler stories!)

Cornwall

Cornwall

Cornwall Bodmin Jail

Cornwall Reading

It wouldn’t be a holiday without getting in some reading time.

We also did a lot of swimming, eating, board gaming and laughing. And trudging through the rain, of course!

Want to see more Cornwall?  Check out what I got up to last year!

Emma

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September 13, 2017
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Searching for Poldark: A Week on the Cornish Coast

I’m back!

I’ve just returned from an amazing week spent in a quintessential little cottage in Cornwall.  I was hoping to have a week of writing (the end of editing my first draft is in sight), but we ended up with an action-packed seven days of trips instead, which let’s face it, is the next best thing.

You may know of Cornwall as the setting of Winston Graham’s famous Poldark novels.  And even though I didn’t see the handsome Ross Poldark (or, let’s be honest, Aidan Turner) walking the beautiful landscapes of the county, I still had a wonderful time.

Firstly, I simply must talk about my favourite day out, which was to Healey’s Cyder Farm near Newquay.

We chose to go on the Full Guided Tour, which among other things included a cider tasting session, a tractor ride and a glimpse of ‘behind the scenes’ of the process of bottling the cider.  Watching the whole process in the factory from above was vaguely reminescent of the scene at the end of The Borrowers film, where Peagreen gets trapped in the bottle at the milk factory.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan of alcohol, but I still found the tour fascinating, and may have finally discovered a wine I enjoy (strawberry flavoured!).  Also, why did no one ever tell me that tractor rides were so much fun?Healey's Cyder FarmAnother highlight of the holiday was a day trip to Porthtowan Beach.  We enjoyed a BBQ followed by ice-cream from a local shop called Moomaid of Zennor.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stop there because I thought it had an incredible name.  Apparently it is taken from the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor, who lured a young man to his death with her beauty.  Luckily, I survived the visit to the shop!

I also finally got to do some reading, settling into the first chapter of Skyfaring, this month’s Words & Geeks read.  Mark Vanhoenacker actually writes very poetically, though I’ll be interested to see how he creates an entire book from his experiences; I’m enjoying it so far though haven’t read anymore since.  Sitting on Porthtowan Beach with the sound of crashing waves and the sizzling of steaks seemed the perfect backdrop for a good travel read.

I was very excited to visit Truro’s Royal Cornwall Museum.  Though the advertised Poldark exhibition was a little bit disappointing, another exhibition of the watercolour painter Tony Foster caught my eye instead.  Tony’s paintings are just unbelievable – he has traveled extensively around the world to paint some of the most beautiful wild places on the planet.  I can’t even imagine how long it must have taken to get every detail perfect – the overall effect is something quite breathtaking.  You can read more about his work on the Royal Cornwall Museum website.

Tony Foster

Tony Foster

It’s amazing how new and exciting another county can feel, even if the border is just a short car ride away.  I’ve loved my week of eating, hunting for Poldark and gaming (turns out I’m quite good at Poker!), but now I’m back home, refreshed and ready to finish what I hope will be the final part of my novel-writing journey before it is ready to be sent out into the world.

Until next time, happy adventuring!

Emma

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September 11, 2016
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Back to Bath: Art, Architecture and Atmosphere

In July I returned to the beautiful city of Bath – I told you I wouldn’t be able to keep away!  I very much felt at the end of my last trip that I wasn’t finished with the city; there was still so much I wanted to see, and many things I wanted to revisit.

Bath

Umbrellas lined the high street

First on the agenda was the Victoria Art Gallery.  I absolutely love galleries; I can spend hours and hours looking at paintings and making up stories for the characters in them (what better writing prompt?).  My favourite feature of the building was this incredible domed ceiling, painted with the signs of the Zodiac.  SAM_2094We sat under it reading for a while with a D.I.Y. hot chocolate from the machine, and the sense of beauty and magic of being in that space created the perfect atmosphere for reading some science fiction, namely Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler.  Feeling rested, we moved on to explore the main gallery.  It isn’t a very big exhibition space (though we only viewed the free, permanent exhibitions) but it is evident just how much thought they have put into utilising the space, and it was easy to spend a couple of hours there!

As it had made such an impression on me the first time, I made the decision to revisit Bath Abbey again while I was in the city.  This time, I decided to sit for a long while just soaking up the atmosphere, listening to the quiet chatter of the other wandering tourists.  For a recommended donation of just £2.50, there is so much to look at inside (I think we spent as long in there as I had done the first time I had visited the Roman Baths).  SAM_2124

With a little more time at my disposal, I also got a chance to admire the exterior – some of the details were fascinating.  Particularly startling were the angels climbing up and down the ladders – the ones heading downwards looked in pain, their wings back and their heads jutting out unnaturally.  We wondered if they had been sent down to Hell, but after questioning the volunteer on duty, it was confirmed they weren’t, merely moving down the ladder (though I still think they look frightening – you can click on the image below for a closer look).

After visiting the Abbey, we sat in the square watching a violinist perform – he was incredible!  Everywhere had such a great vibe, and the sun was shining…

On one of the days we walked uphill towards the Circus and the Royal Crescent.  There are some really nice shops in the streets between the two places – perfect for quirky souvenirs.

Easy walking distance from the Circus (literally a minute or so) is the Fashion Museum – my favourite part of the trip!  Generally I care little for fashion (think Andy pre-makeover in The Devil Wears Prada) but the exhibition was ‘A History of Fashion in 100 Objects’, and it really was like walking through time.  There was something uncanny about the costumes, particularly the dresses, propped up in the displays.  It was easy to imagine the people who had once worn them, and many actually named the previous owners.

Fashion Museum

Fashion Museum

There was also a really interesting ‘behind the scenes’ section of the Fashion Museum, which showed where all the costumes were kept.  I thought it was a really good way of making something that would usually be tucked away behind closed doors part of the experience, and it was just as exciting as the main exhibition.

Sadly, I couldn’t stay in Bath forever… but I am determined to return; I’m still in love with the city, and I can understand why it captivated the hearts of so many great novelists, including Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.  There is still so much that I want to see!  If you want to read my post about my first visit to the city (where I stayed in an amazing Georgian Mansion), click here.

Until next time, happy adventuring!

Emma

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August 7, 2016
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Dorms and Darcy: Visiting the City of Bath

Inspired by The Teacup Library’s trip last year, I’ve finally been able to visit the city of Bath for myself.  This trip was a first for me, like so many other adventures I’ve written about on here (first package holiday, first time to Asia), as we decided to sleep in dorms instead of opting for a private room as we tend to by default.  More on that later!

The City of Bath

Bath was such a photogenic city.

After dinner on arrival, we climbed the half a mile hill to Bath Youth Hostel, run by the YHA.  I’m a bit of a diehard YHA fan, and have stayed in some incredible locations over the years.  So, I knew when we wound our way up the driveway that it was going to be a unique property, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Bath Youth Hostel

Arriving up the long drive to the Georgian mansion for the first time.

Cursed with rain on our main day of exploration, we kept indoors as much as we could, dodging between shops and tourist attractions. Bath has a surprising long stretch of shops – lots of boutiques too – and the city seemed really clean and well looked after.  It had such a great vibe to it.

The Roman Baths were our first stop.

Roman Baths Ceiling

The incredible ceiling of the entrance to the Roman Baths.

I think it is optional but I felt that the free audio guide is needed to make it a full morning’s excursion.  The design of the exhibitions makes it easy to imagine what it was like to be a visitor all those hundreds of years ago.  Disappointingly, at times I felt that some of the items being displayed were not particularly engaging, but artifacts like the written curses were just incredible to see.

Our next stop was the Jane Austen Centre.  It is based in the house that Jane stayed in for a few months after her father’s death.  The centre wasn’t what I had expected – it was smaller than I’d imagined, and the seated introduction at the beginning had me worried that it would be a tightly controlled guided tour.  However, the exhibition area itself was very interesting, and included information about Jane’s family too.  Our guide – Lizzie Bennet – was really down to earth and clearly passionate about Jane Austen’s history; all the staff were dressed up, which made things feel more authentic.

Jane Austen Centre - Desk

I didn’t sleep fantastically during my first night in dorms. Having stayed up late playing card games, I crept into a completely dark room with just the glow of my phone screen to guide me.  Fortunately I had claimed a bed earlier in the evening (as they weren’t numbered or allocated) and I was able to navigate my way to it easily enough.

13405309_10153657950978008_418705538_o

Anyway, by the second night I was surprisingly well adjusted to the dorm life and slept perfectly.  Considering the massive saving (quarter the price a Premier Inn would have cost at the time), I would certainly stay in dorms again – it may even be the start of a new kind of travelling for me.  Though I did have the benefit of well behaved roommates; I imagine sharing a room with a hen party wouldn’t have been as fun.

The highlight of Bath for me was Bath Abbey, which we visited before leaving (the sun had even attempted to come out for us).

I may not be religious but the sense of peace I get in such grand and sacred places really moves me, and the architecture even more so; I have a bit of a weakness for stained glass and intricate ceilings (couldn’t you tell?).

We didn’t stay in Bath for long, but it still made a real impression on me – I’m already planning my return there!  As well as the history, it is also a great place for shopping – I imagine it is a lovely place to visit at Christmas time.

If you’re planning on visiting Bath, check out the YHA website: http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/bath (it may be a small trek away from the city centre, but the views are amazing and it is much more inviting than a typical hotel).

Have you ever stayed in dorms before?  Was it a good or bad experience?

Until next time, happy adventuring!

Emma

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June 8, 2016
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