Saturday, May 05, 2007

Cornwall (part 4)

We now come to one of my favourite spots here in my favourite place in UK. The last time we were here was around 1996 - more than 10 years ago! St. Michael's Mount is a castle on top of a hill in a small island only a few meters from the beaches of the ancient town of Marazion. It is indeed an island during high tide while at low tides it is connected to the mainland via a causeway. Just a glimpse of the silhoutte of this island takes my breath away - truly beautiful setting for a castle.

Here we are walking towards the island through the causeway. We were a bit in a hurry since we've got only two hours to spare before the tide comes in and we will be trapped there. Well actually there are small boats that can ferry visitors to and from the place. But we don't want to dig £2.50 for each of us for that short distance.

Once you reach the island itself your ordeal is just beginning for you have to climb a steep walkways and a number of steps to get to the castle. There are no lifts so a definite no-go place for the wheelchair bound or physically frail.

After panting from the climbing exercise you come to a rampart replete with cannons.

You're also rewarded with a magnificent unimpeded view of Marazion and Penzance. Exhilarating to see!

After catching your breath while enjoying the view of the cannons and nearby beaches, you have to climb more steps to get to the front door.

Unfortunately, photos are not allowed in the castle so I didn't get to take a lot. Here is a collage of the main dining room with the various armours decorating the wall, the very interesting wooden support on the ceiling, and the stained glass windows.

Above is a view of the courtyard outside a portion of the castle ...

where you have turrets that have magnificent views of the ocean ...

or the lush well-tended gardens surrounding it. On another note, I noticed that the kids became a increasingly hyper and giggly and happy as we were touring the castle. Could it be because allegedly four major ley lines intersect in this very island? Could it be that they're strong enough to affect people in a positive way? I sure hope so, that would really make our visit very special.

On the way out of the castle I noticed this peculiar solid stone round pole mounted upright. (A round peg in a square hole?) What could they possibly use that for?

Towards the end we were practically running out of the place because we knew that the tide was coming in and we didn't want to be caught out in the island.

Sure enough as we were crossing the causeway, it was just getting covered with water. And within 5 minutes, the causeway was completely submerged.

I loved every minute of our visit there who knows we might come back after 10 years. As we wound down the day, we realised we still have several hours of daylight. So we decided to take the long way back to base by driving along the B road that hugged the coast between Land's End and St. Ives. It was quite interesting, not only in terms of views and quaint little villages but also with the very narrow roads. In some sections it is reduced to a single track so cars have to take turns.

As I reflect on our visit to Cornwall, I can only say that staying in caravan holiday homes is quite nifty, the motorway traffic to and from were atrocious, and I'm afraid I won't be eating fish and chips in the next 6 months!

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