A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Jimpat

England

Off to visit the Cotswolds

After breakfast at our B&B, we hit the road, heading north to the Cotswolds.

Much of the drive was motorway, so pretty mundane. We left the highway, and stopped for coffee in Glastonbury. What’s with with this place? Bizarre-o! Every shop was selling “spiritual” this, and “energy” that, and the local costume was, well, peace, man!

We arrived in Cheltenham, where we have an apartment for a few days. Lovely town. We went for a very nice Thai meal for dinner.

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View from our coffee stop in Glastonbury
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Beautiful stone carving in a store window

Posted by Jimpat 23:37 Comments (0)

England

Today we explored Dartmoor National Park

After an early breakfast we set off to visit Dartmoor National Park. It is a vast moorland in the county of Devon, where Dartmoor ponies roam free on its craggy landscape, defined by forests, rivers, wetlands and tors (rock formations). Trails wind through valleys with Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stone circles and abandoned medieval farmhouses. We discovered ancient landscapes with stunning views, awe inspiring granite tors, deep valleys with fast flowing rivers, and rugged, wide open spaces.

We visited the Merrivale prehistoric site which has a large number of bronze age megalithic monuments that include stone rows (including a double stone row), stone circles, standing stone (menhir) and burial cairns. As we travelled we enjoyed seeing the Dartmoor ponies grazing together, with the majestic Dartmoor as their backdrop.

We also visited one of the best known prehistoric settlements on Dartmoor called Grimspound. Grimspound dates from the late Bronze Age (about 1450–700 BC). We hiked up a rugged hillside in the rain (first time wearing rainwear this whole trip) to an ancient settlement in a valley, where the remains of 24 stone roundhouses within a massive boundary wall about 150 metres in diameter. It was amazing to wander through and see this ancient settlement. From the settlement we hiked up to Hookney Tor to enjoy the stunning views of the rugged Dartmoor area.

After our bit of exercise we stopped at an old hotel on the moor (picture Hound of the Baskerville), for a Devonshire cream tea. A Devonshire cream tea consists of a freshly-baked scone with a mountain of clotted cream and strawberry jam on it with a steaming pot of Earl Grey tea! Delicious!

As we headed back towards our B&B we stopped in Tavistock, where we walked around the village streets. This was the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake, and home to an old abbey. We checked out an old cemetery blooming with wildflowers.

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Dartmoor ponies
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Stone Rows
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Burial Cairn
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Standing Stone
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Grimspound settlement
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Gate entrance into settlement
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Base for a roundhouse
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On the boulders surrounding the settlement
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Grimspound with Hookney Tor on the hilltop
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View from Hookney Tor
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View from Hookney Tor
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Up on Hookney Tor
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Devonshire cream tea
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Pretty spot along the road
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Clapper Bridge
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Old buildings in Tavistock
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Old cemetery
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Posted by Jimpat 09:40 Comments (0)

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.

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Fowey

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Fowey
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Mevagissey
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St. Ives
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St. Ives
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St. Ives

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St. Ives

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Old mine workings
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Sunday roast beef dinner

Posted by Jimpat 13:38 Comments (2)

England

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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Torquay
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Torquay
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Torquay
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Looe
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Looe

Posted by Jimpat 13:35 Comments (0)

England

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.
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Outside the Natural History Museum
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Main foyer as you enter the museum
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Giraffe exhibit
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Mined opals

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We have our visas for Iran

Posted by Jimpat 13:06 Comments (1)

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