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    • Day 9

      Plymouth to Cornwall to Plymouth

      August 4, 2023 in England ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Off we go this morning on our cruise on the Plymouth Sound. Very relaxing and saw and heard about the area.

      We heard about the Scott Memorial which honours Robert Falcon Scott. He became a naval officer, and subsequently led the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910–13 in search of the South Pole. The members of his team were Lawrence Oates, Henry Bowers, Edgar Evans and Edward Wilson. The team reached the pole in January 1912 only to learn that Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his team had beaten them to it, arriving there one month earlier in December 1911. On the journey home Scott and all his men perished.

      We also saw some decommissioned submarines waiting to be pulled apart after their reactors cool down.

      Finished our cruise then back on the bus to travel to Cornwall. Beautiful countryside - green, green and more green. It’s about a 2 hr drive but with all the traffic it took about 2.5 hrs.

      We went to St. Ives where we could see St. Michael’s Mount. This is a tidal island in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall.
      The rocky island of St Michael’s Mount is crowned by a medieval castle and church. Inside are historic buildings. On the outside is a subtropical garden where you have spectacular views of the bay. At high tide you can take a boat trip from the mainland across to the island harbour; at low tide you can walk across the ancient cobbled causeway.

      Freezing when we left Plymouth but quite pleasant in St. Ives.

      Then we spent the afternoon in St. Ives where we enjoyed a toastie for lunch followed by a scone with jam and clotted cream between us.

      I tried to convince Clarke to hire out the bike in the picture and I could ride around in the front of it. He didn’t find that amusing.

      Back on the bus to head back to Plymouth. We are almost back and next minute the bus stops on the side of the road. ‘Houston we have a problem’ - they said it was an electrical problem but it sounded like gearbox. Clarke tells everyone they have to get out and push 😂😂 Who knows what the problem was but they eventually got it going and away we go. The slowest trip back to the hotel - much better than walking though. Took us 3 hours so we were all tired and hungry.

      We trotted off to a pub not far from us but their restaurant was closed. So we come back to the hotel and decided to treat ourselves and went to the hotel restaurant called Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill. Omg the meal was really nice along with the pint of Spanish Lager.

      I have posted photos from today below.
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    • Day 35


      June 6, 2023 in England ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      We spent today in Plymouth, which traces its history back to Saxon times. It lies between the River Ply and the Tamar River. Its name means the 'mouth of the Ply'. The Tamar River is the border between Devon and Cornwall.

      Plymouth has been an important port for shipping since the Elizabethan times. The Spanish Armada were defeated by the English led by Sir Francis Drake in the waters off Plymouth in 1588.

      Any convicts or emigrants leaving England for Australia sailed from Plymouth.

      The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth in 1620 for America. 30 million Americans can trace their lineage back to the 130 Mayflower pilgrims.

      Plymouth has been a naval base since the Elizabethan times and remains so with HMS Devenport their nuclear submarine base.

      We went on a cruise around Plymouth Harbour, which was terrific.
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    • Day 8

      London to Stonehenge to Plymouth

      August 3, 2023 in England ⋅ 🌬 18 °C

      We left London at 8am this morning and headed to Stonehenge. We travelled through some beautiful countryside. Arrived in Stonehenge and off our coach onto a shuttle bus to take us up to the stones. Lots of people wandering around looking. After a few hours we left Stonehenge and travelled to Ilminster where we had lunch at this pub called The Flying Fish. It seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. Omg the lunch was sooo nice - a baked meal along with a pint of British Ale - that was yum too.

      Leaving Ilminster we travelled to Plymouth. I think most of us slept on the way - could’ve had something to do with the beer lol.

      We arrived to our hotel in Plymouth at about 5pm then off to be assigned to our rooms. The first room we were given had a shower over the bath, even with my long legs that would present an obstacle and there’s no step ladders close by. So I requested a room change with an accessible shower. Off we go to the next room, pop the room card in the door and in we go to a room full of people already settled in. Well this made me less than happy after a big day so down I go to reception and let them know I was not happy. Within two minutes we were assigned another room.

      Off we trot to the local Tesco express to get some goodies and grab some tea.

      Back in our room now ready to be up and at it at 7.30am tomorrow.

      Here are some pictures of today.
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    • Day 35

      Mayflower Steps

      September 9, 2023 in England ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      The Mayflower Steps are close to the site in the Barbican area of Plymouth, south-west England, from which the Pilgrims are believed to have finally left England aboard the Mayflower, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to settle in North America on 6 September 1620.Read more

    • Day 9


      June 8, 2022 in England ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

      It's a tiny village you've probably never heard of it. If you found Looe having two Coops as startling as I did, then hearing that Plymouth has 30 Coops could well give you a stroke. It also happens to have seven Lidls, five Wetherspoonses and an en-route McDonalds. Apparently Sir Francis Drake concluded a game of bowls down on the hoe, where Smeaton's tower now stands, just before sailing out to defeat the Spanish armada (bet he skilled Ortega). Nowadays it's clearly still got naval significance as I could see a giant warship circling from where I was (not) sleeping all night.

      Edit: Plymouth is horrible lol
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    • Day 62

      Catastrophic Discovery in Plymouth

      October 25, 2016 in England ⋅ 15 °C

      Tuesday October 25th
      In Which I make a Catastrophic Discovery

      Our three nights in St Ives had been most enjoyable. We quickly learned our way around the maze of narrow streets and we had shared some delightful meals at some of the local restaurants. However all good things must come to an end, and it was now time to pack our bags into the rental car for the final time. Our plan was to drive the 120km or so to Plymouth, stay there for one night before catching the train back to London the following morning. It should have been a relatively easy day. It didn't turn out that way.

      Things went a little pear shaped right from the beginning. For some reason the GPS decided to torment us a little more by taking us a brand new way out of the city. We wondered why we were heading in an unfamiliar direction, after we had almost learned our way around, however we thought that maybe it was a good shortcut to Plymouth. It wasn't. It was a quick access to a navigational nightmare.

      Almost immediately we found ourselves jamming down a narrow walkway with a huge stone fence on either side. I just hoped that no car would appear around the next corner. But one did. We both sat looking at each other wondering who was going to crack first. The other driver was a young girl who seemed just as uncertain as me as to what we should do next.

      Since I was older, I indicated that I would reverse back, but she refused to move. I reversed back a little and stopped. She stayed still. I beckoned her forward. She stayed still. Curiouser and curiouser. Inexplicably she then started to hesitantly reverse back, veering wildly from side to side. I followed at a respectful distance, until finally we broke through to a wider section of road, where I allowed her to get past. I continued for a short distance before finding a driveway and U turning. I had decided to leave St Ives by the way we were already familiar with. This way seemed to a cruel practical joke.

      Soon we were cruising along a good A road and it looked like the rest of the day would be smooth sailing. The kilometres ticked by quickly. By mid day we started to get a little peckish and looked for a town to get some lunch.

      I turned off towards a likely looking town with the name of Liskeard, found a car park and walked the steep streets looking for the best cafe.

      We soon found a place and were working our way through heaped piles of food. At least we had solved our hunger problem. We walked back to the car and looked for the best way to get back to the main road to Plymouth. Like all English towns, the roads were completely confusing but we did find an alleyway that seemed to be heading in the right direction. It was only one car wide and only too late did we see what sort of mess we had driven into. The road did a series of tight switchbacks, steep and far too narrow for the large Vauxhall Mokka we were driving.

      I tried to approach the first bend and got stuck half way round. Two local lads came out to watch the fun. I could have murdered both of them. Maggie got out to lend her advice. I drove backwards and forwards. The wheels were skidding on the steep slope and we were about 2 inches from the stone walls on either side. Spinning the wheel furiously and praying for divine guidance, I somehow managed to get my camel through the eye of the (first) needle and then tackled the second switchback. It was real nerve tingling stuff, but somehow we escaped the jaws of death and regained the main road. No more detours I decided.

      One of the conditions of the car rental was that it must be returned with a full tank of petrol. I found a petrol station on the outskirts of Plymouth and decided that it would be a perfect place for the final tankful of fuel. I filled up and then walked to the cashier to pay. Out comes the wallet. I started looking for my debit card. Where was it ? I looked in every compartment of the wallet. No sign. It was gone without trace. My heart started pounding. Where had I last used it ?

      I returned to the car and both of us looked everywhere. No card. I figured that the last time we had used it had been when we paid for the B&B at ST Ives. I rang the owner and was actually quite relieved when he told me that I had left it in the machine. At least I knew where it was. My problem was how to get reunited with the card. The B&B owner arranged to post it to our hotel in London. He assured me that British mail is really good. I certainly hoped so. It had been a stressful time.

      Fortunately we made The Imperial Hotel in Plymouth without further difficulties or accidents. Our first impressions of both the hotel and of the city itself were both very, very positive.

      The hotel was a large distinguished looking building, very close to the famous Plymouth Hoe region of waterfront. Apparently it was originally built as the mansion of a naval admiral and had been converted at some stage to a hotel.
      With its high ornate ceilings, wide staircases, large windows and spacious rooms, it really was a lovely place to spend an evening. We soon regretted that we had not planned for more time in this lovely city.

      Although we were not due to return our hire car until the next day, we decided that we did not need it any more and that we could take it back a day early. The depot was only about 1 km from the hotel and we were soon back at the hotel minus the car. It was a bit of a relief to be free of the car and the related stress. From now on our exploration would all be on foot.

      Since the hotel was so close to the waterfront, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking the beautiful Plymouth Hoe region. The most famous ex resident of Plymouth is Sir Francis Drake. According to the legend, Drake was playing bowls at Plymouth Hoe when he was told about the invading Spanish Armada. He is reported to have replied that he had time to finish his game before defeating the Spanish.

      When he returned with stolen Spanish treasure on his famous ship The Golden Hind in 1580, Queen Elizabeth was entitled to one half as her share. The plunder was so immense that this accounted for more than the Queen's income from all other sources in that year. No wonder she rewarded him with a knighthood. Drake used some of his fortune to buy a huge mansion for himself in Plymouth.

      Drake eventually died of dysentery at the relatively young age of 55 and was buried at sea in a lead coffin. Treasure hunters still search for the elusive location of this coffin.

      There is no doubt that Plymouth is a handsome city. Unlike many English towns, the streets are wide, the traffic flows smoothly, there are many beautiful parks and the waterfront views are amazing. In fact, of all the places we had seen so far in our travels in the UK, this is the first place that I could actually consider living in.

      Tomorrow we will be catching the train to London and our 2016 European Odyssey will be drawing to a close.
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    • Day 2

      Last evening in Plymouth

      July 5, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Dinner im Pub direkt am Hafen, live Musik und dabei die letzten Sonnenstrahlen geniessen 😍🌊

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