A Travellerspoint blog

April 2019

SW England

A Tour of Cornwall

Today we took a driving tour of Cornwall.

We started by heading on backcountry lanes to Porpero and beyond. We took a funky little car ferry across an inlet at Fowey. We quickly realized that if we continued on the very narrow, wonderfully scenic lanes, it was going to take us 140 years to circle Cornwall.

We continued on to Helston on more major roads, where we stopped for a coffee. Then on to Land’s End, the SW tip of England. We drove along the coast in a misty drizzle, which added to the ambience. At one point we stopped at some old mine workings - this area was historically famous for its tin mines.

We continued on to St. Ives, a pretty little seaport. We continued northward, through the old mining towns of Camborne, Reduth, and St. Day, where some of Jim’s ancestors originated.

We then returned to Looe, and went out for Sunday roast dinner.


St. Ives
St. Ives
St. Ives

St. Ives

Old mine workings
Sunday roast beef dinner

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Off to visit the Cornwall area

After breakfast at our B&B we were off with our luggage to Paddington Train Station. We took the train from Paddington to Bristol where we picked up our rental car.
From Bristol we drove through some beautiful countryside as we headed towards Cornwall. We stopped in the pretty seaside town of Torquay (Fawlty Towers fame) for a Cornish pasty and a mince and onion pie. Then we were back on more lovely winding roads enjoying the Devon and Cornwall. countryside before arriving in the seaside of Looe where we will spend the next three nights.


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Off to the Consulate

Today was dedicated to going to the Iranian Consulate to obtain a visa. For Canadians, this process first involves submitting passports and photos, 3 months in advance, to be scrutinized by the Iranian authorities. Once they are satisfied, they issue an Authorization Number, that permits you to apply at a Consulate, in person, for a visa. Our Authorization Number was delayed by some weeks, and we only received it a few days ago.
This morning we caught the Tube to Kensington, where we checked out the location of the Consulate, which is only open for visa issuance a couple of hours, three times each week. We had read horror stories of people lining up many hours in advance, so we went early. The very helpful consular staff suggested we come back shortly before 2:00 pm. We used the time to walk to the Natural History museum, where we spent an hour.
We arrived back to the Consulate about 45 minutes early, and were amongst about 10 people waiting. We were then entertained by a small group of protesters from the Iranian Communist Party trying attract attention on the street in front of the Consulate. The kind consular staff invited our group to wait inside the Consulate.
We had a short wait to be called forward for our visa application, and an even shorter wait while our documents were checked. We were then told to come back at 4:30 to pick up our visa. During this time we wandered down to Holland Park, where we spent a little time in the Design Museum.
Upon returning to the Consulate, we waited about 2 minutes to receive our visa. We celebrated the completion of the process with dinner at a nice French restaurant.
Outside the Natural History Museum
Main foyer as you enter the museum
Giraffe exhibit
Mined opals

We have our visas for Iran

Posted by Jimpat 13:06 Comments (1)


Back to London

We’ve had a wonderful visit in Northern Ireland and Ireland. The weather has been fantastic, the countryside beautiful and the citizens friendly. After breakfast, we took the one hour drive back to Belfast International Airport, and dropped off our rental car.
Our flight to London Stansted was pleasant, though we abhor the despicable practice that airlines like Ryan Air have implemented, of requiring you to pay an extra fee to sit together. It’s only a matter of time until they create a new fee for use of the toilet!
From Stansted we took the very efficient Stansted a Express train to Tottenham Hale, and then the Tube to Vauxhall. We arrived back early afternoon at our B&B. Then it was off to Waterloo Station where we meet our friend Christine from Florida who is in England visiting her family. Pat and Christine have known each other for many + years but this is only the second time they’ve met. They started corresponding as teenagers and have kept in touch ever since.
After a delicious late lunch and fun catching up on each other’s lives we headed to the British Library to see some of the exhibitions. It was late in the day so we only had limited time in the exhibitions, but enjoyed what we saw. We viewed the Magna Carta, as well as handwritten music from Handel, Beethoven, Chopin and more; lyrics from The Beatles; a letter from Churchill authorizing the Monuments Men; stunning religious texts; works from Austen and Dickens -- all well-preserved and respectfully displayed. Then there was time for a coffee before Christine headed back to Colchester and us to Vauxhall. It was lovely to spend time with Christine again and appreciated her making time during her family visit to see us.

Christine and Pat

The amazing library wall beside the coffee shop

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Northern Ireland

Everything is “wee” here!

We woke in the wee morning hours to visit The Dark Hedges, located close to our B&B. It was worth it, as we had the place to ourselves. The iconic trees of the Dark Hedge gained its popularity as a filming location in Game of Thrones. We visited the site for the photographic beauty. Then it was back to the B&B for a shower and a hearty Irish breakfast.

Fully fueled we set off on our drive to the Giant’s Causeway. The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption 60 million years ago. We enjoyed great scenery and views on our 6k hike above and through the causeway. The rocks themselves are wonderful and a natural wonder,

From there we headed to the wee craggy Irish ruins of Dunluce Castle. It was enjoyable wandering through this piece of Irish history.

We had a wee bit of lunch in the town of Bushmills which is famous for its Irish Whiskey. We then enjoyed the Bushmills Distillery tour which ended with a wee dram of whiskey. Then we did a drive along the coast before returning to our B&B for the night.

The Dark Hedges

Giant’s Causeway
Dunluce Castle

Bushmills Distillery


Posted by Jimpat 10:44 Comments (0)

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