Monday, October 16, 2006

The Stories - Penzance

After a huge night of sleep, despite a neon Chinese take out sign, street noise and the wafting smell of Chinese take out, we started day two. Day two brought a major event in the trip - the first full English breakfast.

I had been warned that the English breakfast would be a shock to the system. I sat down at the table with a cup of tea and in front of me was placed a plate full of foreign objects. I'm pretty sure one was an egg, but it was definitely more "over easy" than any American restaurant would serve. It got crazier from there. Beans. Evidently those were to be eaten on toast. For breakfast. Then there was something that was supposed to be a sausage. Except I'm pretty sure it was just a hot dog. And then there was "bacon", which was a cross between ham and a slab of fat. The woman who ran the guest house seemed upset I didn't eat all the meat. I assured her I was a crazy American and couldn't handle meat at breakfast.

Then we got what became a pattern for the trip - bad British directions. The guy told us it was 1/4 mile to the train station. Except not! It was closer to a full mile to the train station. And we had all our luggage with us. Boy, was that fun. So, kids, remember that whatever distance a British person tells you, it's really four times that far.

We then started what was to become another huge theme on the trip - trains. They ran on time. And they were clean. And they had bathrooms that looked like they were on Star Trek. They even had good food. Going from Manchester to Penzance was a great trip. The scenery was constantly changing. I'm sure I drove everyone crazy by acknowledging every group of sheep, cute bridge, canal and pretty scene we passed. One thing it definitely impressed upon me was that there's so much more to see of England than what we saw. Evidently I could spend months there exploring.

We arrived in Penzance around 5:30 and set off to catch the bus to Lands End. This is when we discovered another big theme. Everything in England closes at 6 pm. We ended up not being able to get to Lands End that night, so we wandered around Penzance in the fog and drizzling rain. What a fantastic town. There are stairs that go right down into the ocean (at high tide). We also discovered trees that look like palm trees.

After wandering around exploring for ages, we decided to find our hostel. We took one teeny tiny wrong turn that meant we walked for ages in the completely opposite direction. When we realized how far away we were, we picked up our luggage and called a taxi to take us there. Much easier than dragging luggage all the way through town again. Did I mention I was wet and tired and hungry??

We finished out the evening in a cute pub having fish and chips. The laughed at us when we asked for ketchup. I introduced Stork to the joys of malt vinegar. It was definitely a very English evening.

Next - off to the ends of England and then Gloucester.


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