Holiday Fun Abroad

This Christmas I will be at home. There will be a tree, and stockings, and my Mum, Dad and brother. I am highly, highly pleased about this since last Christmas was extremely lonely. I have, however, been thinking about cool things I’ve done during Holiday-seasons-past whilst abroad.

Watched a hilarious snow-fight in Hyde Park, London, England. This was a LOT of snow for them:

Watched a hilarious snow-fight in Hyde Park, London, England. This was a LOT of snow for them.

Went searching for the Bodmin Castle and found only a field with some foundational mounds:

Went searching for the Bodmin Castle and found only a field with some foundational mounds.

A foundational mound. Woo, exciting.

A foundational mound. Woo, exciting.

Had a ridiculous throw-together Christmas dinner in residence at the University of Exeter, England:

Had a ridiculous throw-together Christmas dinner in residence at the University of Exeter, England

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Watched a (fake) fox hunt one boxing day at the famous Jamaica Inn, Cornwall, England:

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Photographed only the racist part of a New Year’s Day Parade in London, England:

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Explored good ol’ London:

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Did a quick quest-lecture on what it’s like to be a muggle at Hogwarts:

The conclusion? Being a wizard is way cooler.

The conclusion? Being a wizard is way cooler.

Became acquainted with an alcoholic cat named Hamish:

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!!

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I Hate Brussels Sprouts – but not Brussels, Belgium!

While spending some time in England, with a friend in Germany, a decision was made to meet in the traditional location for the English and Germans to come together: Brussels. As the seat of the EU, Brussels is a place for international liaison. Perhaps Brussels was chosen for this because of its geographical location, or it’s grandeur. Either way, the single word I would use to describe Brussels is GRAND.

EUROPE

EUROPE

EU

EU

Brussels’ architecture is big, thick, imposing, regal, oppressive, impressive.

"Grand Place" or "Grote Markt"

“Grand Place” or “Grote Markt”

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My favourite building, however, is almost too big to be photographed. The Palais de justice (The Palace of Justice, the name of the Law Courts, which is pretty cool):

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Gargoyles!

Though they live amongst dark, heavy buildings, the Belgians in Brussels have a certain sense of whimsy that is undeniable and goofy. This is evidenced by their weird street art:

Trees…?

Trees…?

Rarely seen is the herd of wild wood buffalo and their young.

Rarely seen is the herd of wild wood buffalo and their young.

I…..

I….. I….

I don't even know. Like, not at all.

I don’t even know. Like, not at all.

Someone had to actually shape this magnificent bosom.

Someone had to actually shape this magnificent bosom.

Even the older sculptures are a bit tongue-in-cheek. The story behind this one goes something like this: a sculptor's son went missing. The sculptor vowed that if his son was found, he would sculpt him in whatever stance he was found in. The little boy was found taking a piss in a fountain. Hence "Le Mannequin pis".

Even the older sculptures are a bit tongue-in-cheek. The story behind this one goes something like this: a sculptor’s son went missing. The sculptor vowed that if his son was found, he would sculpt him in whatever stance he was found in. The little boy was found taking a piss in a fountain. Hence “Le Mannequin pis”.

Le Mannequin pis (loosely, the peeing young man) is often dressed up in seasonal outfits.

Le Mannequin pis (loosely, the peeing young man) is often dressed up in seasonal outfits.

Like many European metropolitan cities, Brussels is largely built of stone. Lots of grey and black… but my travel companion and I DID find some green!

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In a vast field, we could hear a highway, and it was the weirdest thing – the underground highway came up for air in the middle of it!

To be totally stereotypical, may I say: OH, THE WAFFLES. THE SWEET, SWEET WAFFLES!

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I’m so glad I was there before I found out about my gluten intolerance!

On this particular journey, I think I may have discovered the cause of WWII in the war museum:

SLYTHERINS!

SLYTHERINS!

That is all.

25 Things I Thought I Would Have Achieved by 25

This one’s ALL ABOUT ME.

On the eve of my 25th birthday, I can’t help but think about what “25” has symbolized to me in the decade leading up to it. For the many of you thinking “But you’re still so young!” – think of it from my perspective: this is the oldest I’ve ever been! My intention here is not to whine, but to remark on the perception of “25” I have held for most of my teens and early 20’s. The long and short of it is, in my mind, I feel like I should already be more of a grown up!

The 25 Things I Thought I Would Have Achieved by 25:

1. An Adult Job

I have had a lot of difficulty with getting jobs in the past year, as documented by this post.

Perhaps this was naïve of me, but I always thought that by 25 I would have a decent grasp on what I wanted to do – or at least be on the path towards some sort of greatness.

Instead I have felt more often like Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. 

Except he, at least, gets interviews.

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2. Irresistible Good-Looks

Ok, so this is absolutely naïve, but every time in my early twenties I ate half a cake, or decided to have nachos for dinner AGAIN, I always thought to myself, “This is ok, when I’m older I’ll know better and I’ll be fit and sexy.” That hasn’t happened yet. Also, subjectivity plays a heavy hand, as I’m beginning to learn.

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3. A Life

I have had a life in the past. When I moved countries twice and I think I must have dropped it out the window over the Atlantic Ocean. I’m not a strong enough swimmer to go looking for it, so I have to start from scratch. As a 25 year-old, back living with my parents, with a lot of student debt and low income, this feels like a daunting task. But the process has happily begun!

4. My Own Place

I am so lucky to have the parents I have. I love them, and if they hadn’t offered to house me during this period of my life, I would have been stuck in Edinburgh at my terrible job that was sucking out my soul. But at this point in my life, I thought I would at least be independent enough to have my own place.

5. Love

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You can’t hurry love, no, you just have to wait.

6. Independence

This requires many ingredients. One of which is money.

7. Financial Stability and Debt-Free Status

I think this goes hand-in-hand with the desire for an adult-job, or maybe it will never be? I worked so much the past year, especially in Edinburgh, and it made me even more financially unstable than I ever have been. It was a terrifying glimpse into how some people (which could still include me I suppose) live their whole lives. I don’t know why, but I thought my student loans would just magically disappear with all the money I was going to suddenly come into.

Most awful and pajama-looking uniform ever!

Most awful and pajama-looking uniform ever!

8. The Perfect Wardrobe

I expected to have a perfect grasp of what I look good in, in synthesis with current trends. I still, however, occasionally commit fashion faux-pas!

9. Freedom

Again, this has a bit to do with money. Specifically, I would love to have a car and just be able to drive wherever, whenever.

This would be good too.

This would be good too.

10. Happiness

I understand now that happiness isn’t something you ‘achieve’. It’s not an equation: a + b = happiness; happiness is fluid and constantly in flux from day to day, hour to hour. I believe “being happy” means that your flux remains in the happiness range more often than not – that is a good place to be. I want to go to there.

11. More Travel

I suppose that would require money. Or I need to take my own budget travel advice. I guess I can wait!

12. A Reclaimed Youth

Actually, I guess this HAS happened a bit…

13. Stability

 This will come – I hope!

14. Better Habits

Waking up earlier, eating less cheesy popcorn, watching less tv. These things are in the early stages of happening. Also, the past 3 months I’ve written a weekly To-Do list. I know I’m capable of a lot in very little time, but I’m one of the most lazy and scatterbrained people I know. A To-Do list helps focus me.

15. Acceptance of Mortality and Old-Age

I put this on my To-Do list last week. I wasn’t able to check it off.

16. Perfect Health

I have started eating much healthier (except for the cheesy popcorn) and it feels amazing! My insides sing and I don’t feel heavy or bloated as often. Health is a fluid state and can never really be “achieved” without continuous maintenance (and lots of fluids – ha). But I could certainly have it much worse!

 17. Cool Gadgets

Again, a thing remedied by money. However I just got upgraded by my network to a Galaxy s3 so I shouldn’t complain!

 18. A Following

I am very grateful to the handful of people who read my blog. Please continue and share with your friends!!!

19. A Novel

It’s in the works, but I was hoping to have some sort of significant accomplishment in this area by 25.

 20. The Opposite of Loneliness

I have lovely, amazing friends. BUT NONE OF THEM LIVE NEAR ME. I miss them, and I have only just begun to meet people in my new home.

My 23rd birthday

My 23rd birthday in Victoria, BC

 21. Perfect Skin

I’m not a teenager anymore! When do pimples stop??

 22. Even Longer Hair

How long does that shit take to grow?

 23. An Understanding of What My Body Needs

I know I have a gluten issue, but there’s something else ripping my insides to shreds. It better not be dairy or I will cry forever (I love cheese).

24. Success

I have always been fairly successful, and I guess this last year of non-success has brought me off my pedestal. Perhaps that will be a good thing!

 25. An Idea About What to do in My Late-Twenties, and Goals for Thirty

My Identity is largely based in my youth. I KNOW I’m still young, and, for now, I’m grateful for that. Yet, I also know that I have to start thinking of myself as an adult who needs to start planning for the future – or at least thinking about planning for the future! This is a step I’m not sure I’m ready to take, but I’m afraid to avoid it any longer.

I find it funny how we seem to project increased wisdom and general betterness onto our future selves; it always seems to end up being in a different way from what we expect.

I should say that these are all things that are in progress. Even since I started writing this post a several weeks ago, things have begun to turn around! Of course, at the end of this, I have shifted all of these expectations onto “30.” That’s healthy, right?

Snapshot of Dawlish, Devon

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Located in the UK near Exeter on the south coast of Devon, Dawlish is a brightly painted, extremely small, sunny stop on the coastal railway.

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P1040650_2P1040652_2 Though not necessarily a town worthy of “primary destination” status, if you’re in the area (or riding the train along the coast), it’s a cute wee place to have a quick walk around.

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P1040682_2P1040686_2P1040670_2 Down the centre of town is a river that doubles as a kind of bird sanctuary.

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The infamous Dawlish black swans.

The Dawlish black swans.

This ugly guy.

This magnificent dude.

And don't you dare disturb the river! Cedric patrols vehemently.

And don’t you dare disturb the river! Cedric patrols vehemently.

There’s a small possibly that Dawlish actually exists in a portal in time, where once you ascend from the raised train station platform, you step back several decades. My limited evidence:

Not so latent racism and misunderstandings of racial prejudices. I was too afraid to take a picture of the store that sells only golliwogs.

Misunderstandings of racial stereotypes. I was too afraid to take a picture of the store that sells only golliwogs.

Dated insistence on a product's "stylishness" to entice skeptical buyers.

Dated insistence on a product’s “stylishness” to entice any skeptical buyers. Also, holy cheap prices!

Certainly a curious place.

Has anyone else been to Dawlish? Did you see a different side of it?

HMS Warrior and HMS Victory in Portsmouth

One for the History and Boat-Lovers!

I know one or two people who could probably do a better job to this topic than me, but I’ll do my best.

Portsmouth, located in Hampshire, England, is the home of two very cool old ships.

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The HMS Warrior: an armoured frigate that never saw real action since it was rendered obsolete pretty much as soon as it was finished being built. Not great for the British Navy in the 1800’s, but great for history nerds and/or maritime enthusiasts! It’s in almost PERFECT condition.

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If I knew stuff about this stuff, then I could tell you more stuff.

If I knew stuff about this stuff, then I could tell you more stuff.

As far as I know, the brass lines on the deck are like tracks for the cannons! Pretty cool!

As far as I know, the brass lines on the deck are like tracks for the cannons! Pretty cool!

Staring down the barrel of the gun... no fear!

Staring down the barrel of the gun… no fear!

This ship is big. I'm not sure how big, but too big for me to steer on my own!

This ship is big. I’m not sure how big, but too big for me to steer on my own!

The HMS Victory: a 104-gun ship of the line – the stuff history and fantasy is made of! Currently in dry dock, this is bar far the coolest ship (I believe the condition of this beauty is such that it would collapse under its own weight if ever again it was put to sail).

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Dry docks are seriously the coolest things!!

Dry docks are seriously the coolest things!!

You can’t talk about the Victory without mentioning Lord Nelson. Nelson commanded aboard the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and was famously shot mid-battle. When he died, his crew preserved his body for transportation back to England by placing him in a barrel of some kind of alcohol. There’s a nasty rumour (or perhaps it’s touching if you’re not disturbed by these things), that the crew all had a toast to Nelson and drank the liquor their Lord’s body rested in. Gross.

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I’m not sure what else Portsmouth has to offer, but if you like boats, it’s certainly worth a quick visit!

Doc Martin’s Portwenn: Port Isaac, Cornwall

Doc Martin is a popular British TV dramedy series that features a grouchy, socially awkward surgeon who is afraid of blood.

Doc Martin's Martin Clunes posing with a chicken.

Doc Martin’s Martin Clunes posing with a chicken.

The show’s fictional location of Portwenn is filmed in the supremely beautiful and tiny village of Port Isaac, Cornwall.

lil' bro "looking ill" in front of the building used for Doc Martin's medical practice.

lil’ bro “looking ill” in front of the building used for Doc Martin’s medical practice.
An actor he will not be.

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Port Isaac

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I couldn't believe how green the ocean was here!

I couldn’t believe how green the ocean was here!

Low tide in the harbour.

Low tide in the harbour.

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To get an idea of how small the town is, here’s a (bad) picture of how the buildings are shaped to fit into every cranny of the space between ‘roads’:

Look especially at the building fitting into a narrow corner in the background!

Look especially at the building fitting into a narrow corner in the background!

The village is also home to the very talented and locally-well-known group, the Fisherman’s Friends. The Fisherman’s Friends sing primarily sea-shanties featuring haunting harmonies, and often perform on the beach in Port Isaac’s harbour:

Cornish fishing villages are some of my favourite places to visit. Port Isaac’s ‘fame’ does nothing to detract from it’s quaint beauty.

BOATS!

BOATS!

Budget Travel Tips: 8 Desperate Ways to Finally Afford that Trip

Times are tight. I know it, you know it, we ALL feel it. Many people are opting out of travel altogether. So the question looms: is it still possible to travel on a tight budget?

I would argue that it is almost not.

It isn’t uncommon to see tips on travelling on a budget such as these from Reader’s Digest. Even though these can be valuable for a novice, comfortable traveller to cut down a bit on the overall cost of vacationing, they do not remedy the fact that travel is too expensive for most people these days.

So there’s nothing to do but give up, lock yourself in a dark room, sit in a corner, listen to Coldplay and sulk about your immobilizing debt that prevents you from experiencing life, right?

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That completely depends – how badly do you want it?

If you want it bad enough here are 8 things to consider to maybe, actually, potentially make travel a possibility for those with the dark cloud of financial hardship raining overhead.

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1. Convenience and Comfort? Ha!:

If you have the luxury of being time-and-place-flexible, there are sometimes affordable deals to be had!

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Flying to cool places

Do your research. Look at multiple airlines and their options, check out the budget airlines and where they fly. What time of year is cheapest? Peak-season travel is sickeningly expensive, so look at off-peak flights.

Try Skyscanner– they will give you a good idea of what the cheapest available options are, but do your own poking around too!

Bring only carry-on luggage (preferably a backpack!! For the reasons, see this post). There are many budget airlines in Europe and the UK, but they often charge a significant fee for checked baggage.

IMPORTANT– Speaking of budget airlines: be wary of them! Some do not have assigned seating and will OVERBOOK their flights ON PURPOSE in order to make more money (*cough* Ryan Air *cough*), and they count on the fact that someone won’t show up or will be late. ARRIVE EARLY, and be aggressive when boarding. You’re welcome.

One of the biggest expenses when travelling is food. The best way to cut down your food budget is to grocery shop rather than eat at restaurants or pubs. In the UK, for example, many shops have a £3 “meal deal” where you get a sandwich, bag of chips and a drink. Not the healthiest way to sustain yourself abroad, but certainly one of the cheapest!

2. Scrap Your List of Destinations:

If you have considered travel, ever, you probably have a mental list of the top places you’d like to visit. Murphy’s Law demands that these will likely be the most expensive places to get to. Throw it out. Embrace the possibility of new places!

For example, Brussels is somewhere I never expected to go, but I enjoyed it! (Not exactly a dirt cheap example, but the best personal one I have!)

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If I hadn’t gone to Brussels, I wouldn’t have seen street art like this:

What?

What?

Or this:

WHY?!

WHY?!

If, during your travels, you are lucky enough to find yourself nearby a more expensive destination that you MUST see (for example, Paris is a popular and pricey place to lust after), then spend as little time there as possible. 2-3 days is sufficient to explore a city-centre by foot.

3. Terrible Transportation:

Direct flights are lovely, but awful meandering ones are generally cheaper. Decide how much savings your time and physical comfort is worth (if you can’t bare the thought of embarking on a 1-2 day flight-hopping spree when the direct flight is 8-hours or less, you don’t want it badly enough).

Also, flights that leave at horrible times like 4am are generally cheaper than pleasantly-timed flights.

"Friends Fare" is a thing in the UK... if you have 3 friends. No more, no less.

A “Friends Fare” discount is a thing on UK trains… if you have 3 friends. No more, no less.

If you are ‘on the road’ and travelling from city to city, there are multiple options available to you (especially in Europe). There are flights, trains, coaches and…. BUSSES. Pick the bus that takes about ten times longer to get to your destination than any other method of transportation, and it’s likely the cheapest.

I once took a city-style bus in England from Exeter to Poole (a distance that should take less than 2 hours by car, but took over 5 hours by bus – with no stops!!! How is that even possible?!). City-style bus means NO TOILET… again, with no stops. It was an excruciating journey. This should be illegal – but at a fraction of the cost of the train, it was the only option in my range of affordability.

When in a location, WALK EVERYWHERE. Transportation within cities is so expensive, especially to and from airports. Use it as little as possible.

You can find some of the most beautiful places just by walking!

You can find some of the most beautiful places just by walking!
Arthur’s Seat Summit, Edinburgh

4. Travel with a Buddy:

Try to find a friend to go with that is in the same situation (or at least very open minded). This can be a challenge, but in the end you can both save money than if you were alone. Of course, the simplest reason for this is room-sharing, but also watching each other’s backs.

The biggest savings when travelling with a buddy (and I hate to say this) is HITCHHIKING. As a woman, I would never hitchhike alone. As a snobby person, I would never hitchhike at all. If you play it safe, however, you can get far on very little money. A friend of mine recently admitted their travels included a lot of hitchhiking, and this warmed me to the idea. Use common sense and be picky – don’t put yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, and don’t hitch at night! Check out these tips.

5. Consider Long-Term Travel:

Find work, meet people, couch surf, move on.

For positive and real-life tales of SUCCESSFUL long-term EXTREME budget travel, check out the supremely cool Wandering Earl! He’s much more experienced at all of this than I am!

Earl, wandering.

Earl, wandering. My lil’ bro met up with him on his travels and he’s apparently a really cool guy 🙂

6. No Partying OR Partying for Board:

Choose one of these things. If you have all of your accommodation booked in advance, no alcohol, no partying. If not, choose bars and clubs with no cover fee, and then meet as many people as possible to find an available couch!!

I have never partied to find a place to crash... it sounds dangerous.

I have never partied to find a place to crash… it sounds dangerous.

7. Forfeit the Tourist Attractions:

CN Tower, Toronto: $32- $89cnd

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Eiffel Tower, Paris: €15

I thought seeing it from the ground was good enough!

I thought seeing it from the ground was good enough!

Big Ben, London: £15

This is not the tower of London, but it's a nice picture.

Maybe that doesn’t seem like much, but these admission prices could also be your food budget for a day or two! Save it for when you’re rich.

8. Hostels vs. Hotels:

Hostels can be hit or miss. Again, do you research! I use hostelworld.com and have never been disappointed. Look the cheapest available of course, but use the Internet to check where the hostels are located so you aren’t booking something in the middle of nowhere.

A small but very good hostel.

A small but very good hostel.

Normally the more beds in a dorm the cheaper it will be per night… so mentally prepare for 12 other people ruining your sleep schedule, coming to bed at 4am, getting up at 6am etc. Bring earplugs.

Don’t assume hostels will be cheaper than hotels. Of course, they normally are, but when my lil’bro and I recently went to Paris, we booked a one-star hotel, as it was cheaper than Parisian hostels. There’s an option on Hostelworld for hotels.

It’s very important before booking a hostel to read some of the customer reviews. Hostelworld is great for accurate reviews! If the reviews terrify you, don’t book the hotel. It’s usually fairly obvious when someone has just had a bad experience, ie. noisy streets on a weekend (duh), people drunkenly having sex or masturbating in the same dorm, loud snoring – these things aren’t the hostel’s fault. Bring earplugs. BRING EARPLUGS.

Check for bedbugs when you arrive, then forget about how awful the rest of it is.

HOW DOES THAT SOUND?

Does thinking about these things give you a tingle of excitement? Or does it inject fear and bitterness into your beautiful dreams of travel?

Do YOU have what it takes to be an extreme-budget traveller?

Enjoy your travels, be they desperately budget or gloriously comfortable, because travel is the best and most enjoyable education.

Clovelly: A Glimpse Into the Past

You'd think England had excellent weather all the time!

You’d think England had excellent weather all the time!

Ever wondered what an old fashioned English fishing village looked like? Then you need to go to Clovelly in Devon. Clovelly was a functioning fishing village until the early 1900’s, and then someone thought, “Hey! The world is changing, but let’s keep Clovelly exactly the same!” (I’m sure that’s exactly how it happened).

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Old drainage method! Yay history!

Old drainage method! Yay history!

Clovelly exists now primarily as a tourist attraction, but it’s certainly worth a visit.

Tourists, tourists, tourists, tourists rockin' everywhere.

Tourists, tourists, tourists, tourists rockin’ everywhere.

The Harbour

The Harbour

Looking up at Clovelly from the harbour

Looking up at Clovelly from the harbour

Clovelly, located right on the ocean of course, also scales a very steep hill. All the buildings are listed, and residents of the wee village must keep their dwellings as historically accurate as possible.

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Hallo dawgy!

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P1070545Cars are not allowed, so everyone who lives there has to be extremely fit, or never leave their house. Supplies, garbage, and other large loads are brought up and down the town’s slope on wooden skids by skinny, muscly, eighteen-year-old man-boys (the only age and fitness group with the energy to do this job day in and day out).

When the village was still functioning, they used donkeys for this job. When the transition was made to tourist town, the donkeys ferried children up and down the hill.

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Nowadays, however, the donkeys are not subjected to this torture. They are just there for tradition’s sake behind this very secure fence:

Excuse me, I'm not sure if anyone's told you this before, but, that's not a real fence.

I’m fairly certain string doesn’t conduct electricity.

Also, CATS!

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Clovelly has a lot of cats – these aren’t just random cat pictures!

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Also, LOL

I enjoy hilariously-named British roads.

I enjoy hilariously-named British roads.

Read my Mum’s blog about Clovelly and other English gems!

Penzance and Marazion: Home of St. Michael’s Mount

In Cornwall, England, you can find the most wondrous places.

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At the Southwestern most tip of the island that is Britain resides a town called Penzance. Larger than most seaside towns, Penzance lacks the dated and tacky tourist arcades and pseudo show-gardens like its smaller counterparts (for example, Exmouth, Dawlish and Teignmouth – more on them another time!).

Penzance High Street

Penzance High Street

It has a more actually-lived-in feel, which I prefer to the ghosts of seaside towns past. Penzance is a strange blend of English and ‘tropical’. There are palm trees everywhere! It’s an odd phenomenon. It felt wrong, but somehow right.

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And of course the beach was fantastic. Long and sandy, very characteristic of Southern England.

High tide, so no beach at the moment!

High tide, so no beach at the moment!

There is, however, something that makes Penzance extra-special. The next town over, called Marazion, is the home of the fantastic St. Michael’s Mount. Marazion is within walking distance of Penzance – though I would recommend taking the bus if you are on a schedule!

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The Mount is another plateau (somewhat similar to Tintagel) that rises from the sea just off shore. It is accessible on foot at low tide via causeway. At high tide the only way out is by boat. Why would you want to go out there? Because there’s a castle on it!

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Due to its unusualness and its stark beauty, the Mount has been used for myriad things dating back to the 5th century, including army barracks, a monastery, and a wonderfully defendable castle.

The castle on the Mount

The castle on the Mount

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The views from atop the castle were stunning.

You can see the submerged causeway!

You can see the submerged causeway!

The gate.

The gate.

The gardens have a separate entry fee, which we skipped.

The gardens have a separate entry fee, which we skipped.

When I visited the Mount in the spring of 2012, they were setting up to film a movie called Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box which is due to be released in 2013….

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The old-time style set.

The old-time style set.

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The coolest part about the filming was watching the amphibious bus/terrestrial boat ferry cast and crew back and forth from the set to the mainland.

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We were blessed with excellent weather for our day trip to Penzance, but I think that even with grey skies, this spot should be on the list for anyone travelling in the UK!

On the train-ride back to our home base, a man was playing harmonica and his dogs were singing along. Oh, Cornwall!!

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http://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk

King Arthur at Tintagel, Cornwall

Tintagel is a small Cornish coastal village with one very important claim: it is the alleged birthplace of King Arthur (or according to some sources, the site of his conception – lol).

Not to be mistaken as the mysterious “Camelot,” Tintagel boasts an old castle ruin that mostly dates back to the 13th century, with evidence of Roman habitation as early as the 6th century (www.tintagelcastle.co.uk).

Arthur or no Arthur, the most spectacular thing about Tintagel Castle is its location.

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The Cornish coastline is some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery I’ve ever seen. The castle is perched atop a plateau that juts out into the ocean. I imagine this being a perfect spot for a castle, as it would be terribly difficult to besiege.

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So many narrow steps! It would be impossible for an army to make an effective attack.

So many narrow steps! It would be impossible for an an effective attack by an army.

So high up!!

So high up!!

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Not much of the castle remains, mostly just foundations. Some of the newer sections of the castle still stand, and are still, in every sense of the word, old.

Foundations

Foundations.

More foundations

More foundations.

Newer section of the castle.

Newer section of the castle.

It's not terrifying at all walking under a broken wall...

It’s not terrifying at all walking under a broken wall…

Slightly scary broken wall.

Slightly scary broken wall.

This hotel is often mistaken as Tintagel Castle by North American tourists who don't understand what 'old' means!

This hotel is often mistaken as Tintagel Castle by North American tourists who don’t understand what ‘old’ means.

Like all good castles, Tintagel had it’s own church. The church was not located on the plateau like the rest of the castle, but on the mainland. That meant if you wanted to go pray, you had to walk all the way down the steps and up again to the church. You had to really want it!

View of the church ruin from the castle.

View of the church ruin from the castle.

View of the castle from the church.

View of the castle from the church.

Inside the church.

Inside the church.

This was my second trip to Tintagel, and I will never, ever get tired of it!

Lil'bro pretending to jump off the cliff.

Lil’bro pretending to jump off the cliff.

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