Monday, December 21, 2009

Meet Wooly the Alpaca

On the 3rd day of blogging, my true love gave to alpaca?

One of our best unblogged trips of the year so far has to be a long weekend trip in late March/Early April to Cornwall on the west coast of southern England. We had heard how spectacular the coastal walks were and we weren’t disappointed. In the course of our 6 hour drive there, Katie found an unusual pub stop—the Eliot Arms was full of old clocks, and served delicious food.

We stayed at Caradoc on Tregardock, a renovated building on a working farm that was right on the coast—there’s a hidden surfing beach below the cliff the farm is on so crazy surfers in dry/wetsuits occasionally came through. Besides amazing views, the farm had sheep about to lamb, and a cute alpaca named Woolly who guards the sheep. What it did not have that first night there, when a biting wind swept the clifftop, was much heat. We couldn't get the wood fire going and the heat didn't kick on.
Thankfully, Sunday turned out to be sunny and relatively warm for so early in spring. We headed down the coast to Wadebridge, a village in the middle of a well-known bike route called the Camel Trail. We rented bikes and headed off to the coastal town of Padstow, which has largely been made famous as the home and inspiration of celebrity chef Rick Stein. To us, it was simply a cute fishing village, much like Bar Harbor in Maine, with great ice cream and a beautiful sandy estuary at low tide. After biking back to Wadebridge, it was so pretty we kept going the opposite way on the former railroad track, following a pretty stream through lovely woods and even passing a small vineyard. Best of all, when we got home exhausted, the heat was on and the farm owner had the fire blazing.

On Monday, we ventured north up the coast to the evocative ruins of Tintagel, a castle on rocky peninsula that, according to legend and the marketing forces of the nearby village, is the legendary home of King Arthur. From there we went someplace much more modern, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant, which overlooks one of the most popular surfing beaches in all of Cornwall. As the sun set and the surfers took their last rides, we enjoyed a nice meal prepared and served by some of the disadvantaged youth that Oliver trains at several of his restaurants.
Tuesday, we snuck in one final walk along the cliffside before heading home. We made a delightful pub stop in the village of Boscastle, which has recovered nicely it appears from a devastating flash flood in 2004. The short trip was without a doubt one of the nicest weekends we had in 2009--and we're already plotting to visit another part of Cornwall next year.--JT

Our Best of Cornwall photoalbum has some more great pictures here.

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