Ah, Devon, the English Riviera,
and home of the clotted cream scones and cream teas - all stereotypes
for sure, but the overall picture is a pretty one, in an ornate-looking
frame too. The first port of call was the prime English seaside town of
Torquay, which is very much a tourist magnet in season, and indeed not
without its charms during off-peaks periods such as this. Full marks to
the owner of the guest house for displaying a remarkable sense of
hospitality, and a low-budget evening meal at a local carvery
restaurant made it clear that we were not destined to be blighted by
the high cost of living and 'tourist prices' at local restaurants.
Torquay itself lives up to its reputation as the south-west's main
tourist town, and could even be adequately described as the gateway to
Public garden in Torquay - why do the English have such a mania for gardens?
In season, the town and its accompanying marina area are no
doubt invaded by visitors, some from local areas, and others from
(much) further afield, and the variety of tourist attractions serves to
suggest why it possesses this sense of magnetic appeal. It felt like we
had underscored the place somewhat, since we had covered the town
centre on foot, and enjoyed a jaunt around the marina area, but skipped
on some other attractive areas nearby, such as Babbacombe Bay and
Paignton. Heading north-west, our ensuing drive took us through
Dartmoor national park, and the pleasant town of Tavistock, which
involved stop-offs along the way for photo opportunities, meals and
drinks, and chances to take a break, and experience the full flavour of
the local area.
Dartmoor National Park - their take on Stonehenge, perhaps?
Reaching Plymouth early in the evening, and getting
established at what was to be the least substantial of all the guest
houses stayed at en route (but also the cheapest) meant that we were
able to wind down for the evening, with a low-key evening plan set to
unfold. The town of Plymouth is perhaps best associated with its
maritime past (and present), yet revealed perhaps not enough redeeming
features upon first glance as we might have anticipated prior to our
visit. Another whirlwind city tour was conducted in a by-now familiar
fashion, and once again, we were part of the westbound traffic, and
heading on out to where a few further treasures lied in store.
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