Sightseeing along the Cornish coast

First a drive through the narrowest hedgerows to Lizard Point, the southernmost tip of mainland Britain.

Then up the coast to the charming village of Mazarion and Saint Michael’s Mount.

This actually way exceeded my expectations. From a distance it looks an awful lot like the Mont-Saint-Michel. Same name, same tidal island, on opposite sides of the Channel. Well, turns out that’s not an accident. The abbot of Mont-Saint-Michel actually sent people to help build the priory in the 12th Century, and for hundreds of years the English priory was under the control of the French counterpart. Then the English wrested control, Henry VIII broke with Rome and destroyed the monasteries, Elizabeth I sold it to Cecil, who sold it to the St Aubyn family in the mid-1600s, and they still live in it. Pretty cool.

A short drive around the bay brings you to Penzance, the land of pirates and maidens and modern Major-Generals. Only the town seems to have forgotten the Gilbert & Sullivan memo because all I found was a handsomely workaday town with lots of boats and very few tourists.

Then back to St Ives to buzz through the Tate.

It turns out St Ives was a hotbed for modern art in the 20th Century. The exhibits were no doubt important and well done but (somewhat surprisingly) I really couldn’t care less. So I skipped out and found the nearest beach cafe where I could people-watch while noshing on tasty tapas.

Then I went and sat in the sun. Well, along the way I bought a pretty little ceramic vase from a tiny art gallery with a chatty owner, but then I just sat with my back against a stone wall and soaked up the sun and the crashing waves and the sound of the possibly Danish couple’s conversation next to me. It was glorious.

Some time later I walked into town, found a passable spot for dinner, and then turned in early to watch the set over the twinkling town and go to bed early.

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