St. Michael's Mount
Penzance Travel Blog› entry 7 of 14 › view all entries
So, it's not just Land's End but St.Michael's Mount is also another big draw in the Cornwall area. Infact, this IS the trademark postcard emblem of the Penzance area, much like the Clock Tower and Buckingham Palace symbolise the heart of London. I had vaguely seen it yesterday when I got out of the Penzance station, but the magnificence of this place didn't strike because it was too misty and perhaps I was in a rush to check in to the hostel. Of course, I remember it's sight as clear as daylight from the different pictures I'd seen of it on the Internet... but the best view came when I was going by bus to St.
So, with a hearty meal of pasties @ St.Ives and a clearer sky, I got down from the bus at Marazion - that's the tiny market town that houses St.Michael's Mount, roughly 3-4 miles away from Penzance. I got down at the Marizion town centre stop, I was hungry again (!!) so I made my way for some traditional Cornish cream tea (jam first, then the clotted cream!) at a local tea shop. This tea shop had great sweeping views of the island, very nice. The weather was quite warm, the sunshine crisp and the crowd picking up although not too crowded.
I walked down to the island, very pleasant walk... and reached the coast. The sky was totally clear, the mist all gone and the Kodak moment was right in front of me, inviting me to take in the sights. The tide wasn't low yet, so I had to go by motorboat which costs a minimal 1.50 GBP. A castle now sits on this island, but the name comes from the Benedictine monastry that was originally gifted by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century. Today, the castle contains various armour, furniture and paintings. It's maintained by the National Trust, which includes the souvenir shop and the rsnt.
I took some photos around the island, before paying my fee and climbing up the steep slope to the entry of the castle. There was some work going on on one end of the castle. I didn't think much of the castle...infact I found the whole layout quite confusing. I don't remember all the details of the rooms too well, simply because there's no direction on where to go, what to see next and more importantly, some corridors are just blocked, some open, it's all very confusing. But the highlight was seeing the Tidal Clock in Sir John's Room which not only tells the time but also shows the movement of tides. Also, the Church was pretty cool - it contains 3 alabaster panels of over 500 years old, no one knows how they came to be here and home to the famous Rose Window.
It had gotten pretty windy. The sweeping views of the Atlantic coupled with the general opulence of an English castle, made the whole thing very photoworthy. There weren't too many crowds. By the time I was half way done with wandering around the castle and the lovely garden (including palm trees), I could see that the low tide had set in. People were now walking back to the coast, it really had a different feel. Very nice.
I walked back and spent some time watching a movie on the history of the Castle. It was quite interesting... by this time it was past 4pm and you could see the crowds walking back home. I wasn't that hungry anyway (LOL, surprise surprise!) so I decided to skip eating at the rsnt and walked back on the walkway to the mainland. It was so crowded by this time.
I wasn't really sure whether I wanted to walk back to the hostel, to Penzance bus station (and catch a bus to the hostel) or just walk. I then thought, there really isn't much to do when I get back. There's not much to do in the city centre (Market Jew Street, drab street...what's with all the hate for the Jews, guys?!!) and unlike London, its not like I'd have a fancy rsnt or a theatre play to catch.
I reached my hostel about 2 hrs later, after a lovely relaxed walk...me and my iPod. My roommate Tom had also arrived from his day out, so we went to nearby Alexandria Inn's Beer Garden for a pint of Guiness. We'd love to have more, but at 3 GBP a pint (6$), wasn't worth it! So off we went back to the hostel, I cooked that night and met 2 German ladies also staying at the hostel...discussed various cool things to see and do in the area, and watched some telly as well. That's what I'm really loving about this trip - the total lack of nightlife means I either relax/socialise in the hostel and the warm TV room rather than using it as just a bed to sleep at night (which is the case in London).
Overall what I'm liking so far about this trip is the total lack of structure, the ability to breathe and pace myself the way I want to, and the fact that these are towns/villages that so much became inundated with tourists rather than some places which were built FOR tourists. All this means is I just need to have sunshine and bus service, and I really don't have to worry about opening/closing hours of any attraction as such!