The Pirates of Penzance

Penzance Travel Blog

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Penzance, England: 11/8-11/9/07

The only thing I knew about Penzance was from the title of the movie The Pirates of Penzance. So when I was looking for a place to go to out near Lands End in Cornwall and saw the name Penzance I knew I had to look into that city. Sure enough it is an old English pirate town. Since I had one day to kill Penzance would be my destination.


The train ride from Bath to Penzance was a long one with one train change. Arriving in Penzance I knew I had a bit of a hike ahead of me to the YMCA Penzance. It turned out to be quite the hike through town, uphill. Just when I had thought I lost my way, the hostel came into view. It is the typical large youth hostel; if you came across this in Utah one might swear it is a polygamist compound. I checked into my room and surprise surprise, I am in a room all by myself yet again. Not only am I the only one in the room of four, I have the entire wing of the hostel to myself. This is another one of those youth hostels that treats everyone as if they are thirteen. Not only do they not give you a key to the room, but the room will lock behind you. Just great; I can see it now. I stumble my way to the bathroom down the hall at three in the morning and return to my room only to find the door locked and no one around to let me in. I quickly learn to stick an empty water bottle in the door for a doorstop.


I grab my day bag emptying out all but the necessities for my quick day trip around the city. I decided to ditch my rain jacket in favor for my poncho, since it looked like the beautiful sunny blue sky day would holdout. Walking back into the city I stopped off to get some food for a picnic out on the beach. Penzance is a very neat little costal town. This time of the year it is very quiet, but I can only imagine the hordes of tourists overfilling this small town during the summer months. On my way down to the beach I ran into a lady out walking a Welsh Terrier; this is the same breed my Spunky dog is. On my last three trips I have seen Welsh Terriers towards the end of my trips. Guess it’s a sign that I am getting ready to head home. After talking with the lady but more so with the dog I headed down to the beach. I was going to head out of town along the beach to check out St. Michael’s Mount, which at low tide visitors can stroll out to it but the rest of the time visitors have to take a boat out to it.

After a long stroll along the beach I decided to get as close as I could and just have my lunch on the beach. I was running out of time and daylight to get all the way out to St. Michaels Mount. The wind had started to pick up a bit while I sat on the beach and watched the boats come into the harbor. Every hour or so I helicopter would come in very low and land just on the other side of the road next to the beach. I got a short video of it on my camera.

The sun was starting to head down and so started to make my way back into the city center. I headed to Chapel St. where all the old pubs are located. The Turk’s Head pub can be dated back to the 13th century, and was sacked by Spanish pirates in 1595.

The sky above me was now beginning to look a little grey, so I decide to head back to the hostel. As I got closer to the hostel the clouds became darker and nastier looking. The rain first came down lightly, much like a nice mist spray. I decided to pull out my poncho just in case. No sooner did I get the poncho out did the skies open and I got dumped on. This was the kind of weather I was expecting to run into along my entire trip. It was a short walk in the downpour, but by the time I got back to the hostel my lower legs that were not covered by the poncho was entirely soaked. After checking back into the hostel and having someone let me in my room I took all my soaked clothes off and sat in my cold room trying to warm up. Another feature about these hostels is that most of them have their heaters on timers. After about an hour of sitting in the room the heater finally kicked on and I cranked the sucker up as high as it could go. The rain storm passed after a few hours and I headed out for some food. The one thing I have found very boring about traveling alone is eating at night. I went with the usual fair from the grocery store; sandwich, salad, fruit, and a drink. I walked around the city for a bit, but there was NOTHING going on. So back to the hostel I go to have my dinner. Upon arriving to the hostel I am greeted by the sounds of a Steel Pan band practicing in the hostels auditorium. Sitting there listening to the music, watching some football, and having dinner was quite the mix.


I retired to my room after dinner to watch a movie on my laptop and call it a night. Tomorrow I head back to London , should be a nice long day on the train.

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photo by: Vikram