Before I even start, let me give you a disclaimer about Penzance. Penzance, while beautiful, supplied us with the greatest challenges we faced during our entire time in the UK. So if some of this comes off sounding a little bitter it is probably because it was a very difficult situation and it is still too soon.
Now that we got that out of the way! We got to the Penzance train station after 1 in the morning. This was after spending the first half of the day in London and the second half at Stonehenge in Salisbury. Now when planning our trip we got the smart idea that seeing as we were getting into town so late we would just skip the boarding expenses and just sleep in the train station. (I would like it to mention that we were under the very wrong impression that ALL train stations were similar to airports.) Needless to say, staying in the train station was not only a bad idea because it was an outdoor platform, but it was also just not possible because the station was closing down.
Okay, so it is after 1 am. We are in a very small town. No reservations. No real knowledge of the town and to top it all off we were walking around with all our gear on in icy cold, hurricane like wind and drizzle. Everywhere we found was either closed for the night, or had no vacancies.
After walking around for probably about an hour and a half, we finally came across the Queens Hotel and couldn't have been more relieved. The hotel is super old, but that is definitely its charm. With our heads on pillows, we were quickly out and the challenges of the night and the tension between us melted away.
The next morning we set off for the most picturesque spot on our trip: The Minack Theatre and Porthcurno Beach. The hike up to theatre is quite steep and along the major roadway. I would not recommend this to someone who has trouble with up hill hikes, but, If you make it to the top it is so worth it. The Minack Theatre looks as if it has been there for hundreds of years and as if the universe meant to have something so magical placed there. The detail of every seat and step and archway creates this unexplainable emotional response. We wondered around the theatre for a while, even had a snack and partook in some lovely entertainment from a member of the theatre's troupe.
When leaving the theatre you have two choices, either hike back down the steep hill to where the buses come and go from OR take the extremely difficult, highly advanced hike down the ocean cliff path to Porthcurno Beach. This is wear Penzance once again got the best of us. After some coxing on my part we agreed to hike down the cliffs to get to the beach.
After getting a good enough distance down the cliff (enough that was too much to turn back) mom took a slide on one of her steps. Before I continue, let me just say this was the most terrifying thing that had ever happened to me while traveling. There was no way I could carry her and there was still at least 15 more minutes of treacherous hiking. Mom definitely learned that flipflops were not the ideal hiking shoes and I learned that I can carry a lot more weight than I thought. What ended up happening is I took both of our packs all the way down the hill and then came back to help mom the rest of the way down. It was a challenge, and there were many pauses as we made it the rest of the way to the beach but once again we were able to overcome and move forward. And, during one of the pauses we got to see a sea lion enjoying the surf.
The beach was absolutely gorgeous even if it was freezing. As Floridians, it was very funny to see so many people out in water that I ended up describing as colder than ice water that had kept in the freezer. Other than the lack of warmth, the sand was familiar and squishy between our toes and the waves were hypnotic and relaxing.
That night we stayed in another YHA. And let me tell you, traveling can be tiring. When our heads hit the pillow that night, it was a most-luxurious feeling. Penzance was an incredibly beautiful town, but it tested us. You just have to remember...
It's an adventure!