Cornwall, You Had Me at Hello

April 24th, 2018

I am sitting in Barcelona now, thinking back about the experiences I just had in Cornwall. A couple of years back I met my hosts, Peter and Sue, on a cruise, and though we had wanted to meet up again,  it seemed as if we had just missed seeing each other (by days sometimes), as our paths failed to cross. When I had to change my travel plans so as not to overstay my tourist visa in Europe before I go home in July, a few days in England were in order.  Peter and Sue were home, and lo and behold, there I was, hanging out in their cottage.  Here it is.

But with Peter and Sue, time at home is what happens between everything else. Peter knows every nook and cranny of Cornwall, and a car ride with him turns into a history lesson and a highlights reel of the beauty of this region. Sue  and their dogs took me out on a two hour walk over the fields, beaches and clifftops, with the promise of excellent coffee at the end. Here we are, properly caffeinated.

Now normally after seven miles, one would think a non-strenuous afternoon would be in order, but not chez Sue and Peter.  Another walk took us to a place called the Hidden Hut, a modest—well, hut— overlooking a beach, where a local chef turns out four or five soups and all sorts of yummy desserts for anyone who knows where to look and doesn’t mind the short trek to get there.

is it time to rest yet?  Nope.  Home for a few minutes, then off to Caerhays castle, a favorite of Prince Charles,  to see the extensive gardens with  azaleas, rhododendrons, and other flowers in full bloom.

And throughout, the hospitality was extraordinary, not just from Sue, who fed me well and copiously, and Peter, who plied me with wine and excellent coffee, but from all the friends of theirs I met, and even a few waving and smiling strangers.

When I told Peter I had been to Cornwall before, and rattled off what I had seen, he said, “oh good!  Sue and I were worried you might want to go see those things.” Just as when people come to San Diego, if they really want to do the Top 5, that’s okay, but I’d really so much rather show them the hidden gems.  I had two days of those, and my heart is happy. Cornwall, I’m yours.




The Lisbon Transport

April 23rd, 2018


Travel can be dicey, and though people like to complain,  I think the airlines do a  good job of getting me where I want to go reasonably close to when I expected to get there, and reunite me with my bags in short order.  Yeah, not always, but most of the time.

Today started out great. Got to Newquay airport in Cornwall, then to London Gatwick, then to Barcelona with nothing more than the tiniest of hassles. Then, when I turned on my phone in Barcelona while waiting for my luggage, I found an email from the airline I am taking to Rome day after tomorrow, saying that they would be on strike and my flight was canceled. I also got an email from my friend Elsa, who is meeting me for this cruise, asking what we do now.

The good news is that I was in the airport we were leaving from and could just walk over to the airline  office and ask them what could be done. The bad news is that the two-day strike meant that the first flight they could offer was the day after the ship had left Rome. Oh dear, not good at all!

Anyway, since Elsa gets in at 4pm, I thought maybe we could get out before the strike started.  So now, we are booked for the last flight tomorrow night, before the strike, leaving at 10:15pm and getting into Rome around midnight. Poor Elsa is in for a grueling time getting to the fun, I fear.

The film Casablanca revolves around struggles to get onto the Lisbon transport and escape from Nazi-occupied Morocco. My overactive brain synapses started making  associations between the last climactic scenes where the plane takes off (but barely, before the nefarious forces of evil close in) and me trying to get to Rome before the airline strike.   I know the comparison is ridiculous, but I have had a little fun with it.

Ingrid Bergman’s character is named Ilsa. I’m going on the Rome transport with Elsa.  And I won’t regret it—not now, and not for the rest of my life.  Here’s looking at all of you, kids!


Leaving London

April 20th, 2018


Tomorrow morning early, I will be leaving London for two days in Cornwall before heading out on my next cruise assignment, the second in My Year of Living Travelly.

It’s a good time to step back for a little self-evaluation. I have traveled alone a great deal, so no pats on the back for handling that, but I did note how far more comfortable I am going into a pub and ordering a pint, or going to a restaurant alone than I once was. That’s good!

I am also proud of myself for a doing few things that were outside my comfort zone.  I needed to get my roots and brows done, and instead of chickening our and doing it on the ship ($$$$$) I found a hair salon, made an appointment, and voila, it looks fine. I also made a quick stop into a nail salon offering brow services and  fifteen minutes I was back continuing my walk, all fixed up. Little steps towards a more confident, competent me.

I hopped on a train today and went out to see some friends I met on a cruise a few years back.  They live less than an hour out of London, and I got to see some countryside and real English life. I was thinking on the train back how easy that was, and how next time here I wouldn’t focus on “pick a park” ( though that was lovely too—my selfie from yesterday is included here) but rather on “pick a town.” Just push the zone out a little, every time.

But my biggest takeaway is that I really love this  I am very happy with my adventure.  A week from today I will be in Tuscany, with adventures in between now and then.  At the top of my self-evaluation, as always, is the realization of how very, very blessed I am.