Port Isaac & St Ives

Yoohoo! As per every time I actually remember to write one of these posts, it is currently raining outside. Said rain inspired me to post a photo from Land's End on my business instagram and that, in turn, reminded me to shoot on over here and get. this. post. done.

If you've not yet caught up, I've already posted twice about stops along the way in Lacock and Tintagel.

I've been stuck on this post for over a month now because although there are a lot of very enjoyable pictures for these portions of our jaunt, I don't have a huge amount to say about it. There are only so many observations one can make about driving, regardless of how pleasant the scenery may be, and although both Port Isaac and St. Ives were v pretty and enjoyable to experience, nothing super remarkable happened whilst we were there. As such, this is going to be a very photo-heavy post, but I think that's better than writing a bunch for the sake of it and dragging both of us through an essay's worth of unnecessary rambling. However, that is not to say that I didn't enjoy this portion of the trip.

After waking up in Tintagel and having a leisurely breakfast ft. perhaps too many refills on the complimentary coffee front, we took in the view (and some pics of the hotel's very expressive resident horse) one last time and then bundled into the car, setting off towards our first planned stop of the day. Prior to actually embarking upon the road trip I'd done a bit of googling and decided that Port Isaac would make a good stop, if only for the view of the harbour from above. I hadn't budgeted that we'd spend particularly long there, but plans change. We'd intended to just hop out of the car, wander a few metres around the coastal path to get a view of the harbour and then be on our way, but those few metres turned into a few hundred and we eventually made it the whole way down onto the boat ramp. I will say the town looks better from above than from within its midst, but that's not really saying much because the view in these photos is one I'm still completely obsessed with to this day, four months later. The perfect frickin houses. The rolling hills. Look at the colour of that water. Stop.

I would theorise that Port Isaac is singlehandedly responsible for ushering in my sudden, unprecedented affection for deep, nature-based green tones. I've never been a huge lover of verdant imagery; I could appreciate it in front of my living eyes yes, but never seemed to like how it translated photographically. Until now. And you are damn right I was going to work these badboys into my instagram feed if it was the last thing I did. The way the houses below followed the road in a snakey zigzag up the hillside is still one of the most bloody charming things I've ever seen, the overall colour palette of the entire town was on point and as we walked down the main road (only road? as I have mentioned and will continue to do in each of these posts, the countryside doth bewilder me) one could only have describe me as li-ving 4 tha viewz. I don't descend a gentle slope if I don't think whatever lies ahead outweighs the inconvenience of inevitably having to walk back up, and buddy boy did I willingly descend. I descended as far as one possibly could without physically submerging oneself in the harbour and digging a subaquatic trench, and then I walked the WHOLE way back to the car like a HERO, taking approx one million pics in the process each way.

Primarily as a means of breaking up the drive from Port Isaac to St. Ives, we made a slight detour to Newquay. Would I have preferred Will relent and allow me to visit the town with a Witch Museum? Yes. Could we be bothered actually making the effort to see the actual town or beachy part of Newquay? No. But did we find something very aesthetically pleasing regardless? U bet. Thanks to the Magic of Instagram, I was able to locate this tiny Mamma Mia film set*, around which we stretched our legs and looked wearily out to sea. We did contemplate whether we should suck it up and drive into town, but we were starting to feel ready for lunch and the weather was starting to get a tad moodier so we took in a bit more of Ye Olde View, walked back down what can only be described as literally the steepest hill of all time and jumped back in the car.

*Not actually used in filming of Mamma Mia but would suit my personal tribute performance needs

Our journey through the countryside was punctuated by the presence of a tattoo convention, which I had to tell Will it would not be appropriate to work into the itinerary, followed by a very eyecatching sign advertising an attraction by the name of 'Cornish Birds of Prey' which, despite being far more tempting, met the same fate. Deny me my witch museum at your own peril. Tat & falcon loss was soon forgotten, however, because the views as we drove into St. Ives were spectakkerz. There's a pretty steep drop leading down to the coast, so from the higher ground where the road was we could see the whole way down to the sea. I'd heard it was a rawther picturesque little town, popular with holiday makers and fans of apricot-based facial scrubs alike, so my hopes were high. We pulled into a carpark adjacent to Scenic Clifftop Cemetery no.2 of the trip, and began our descent through various stairwells and side streets in search of quaintness and food.

My primary impression of St. Ives was 'busy'. So many people. And I don't know about you, but when I am meandering jollily through seaside towns, I don't want to have to be implementing a London-level people weave. That is not to say that it was unenjoyable, just that I was not expecting quite the population density with which we were met. Definitely - like Port Isaac - more of a pit stop than a main event, although I've heard there is actually a fair amount to do, so we may pop back in during a quieter season when there are fewer scuttling children. Putting them and their respective owners to one side, it was v cute. Lots of little nooks and crannies and eccentrically painted gates and flower pots strewn all over the place. A positive haven of photo ops. Being partially obscured by the masses of people but ANYWAY. We found our way down to the lowest point, and made an absolute bolt for the first relatively empty looking restaurant we could find. This turned out to be an incredibly acceptable Italian joint 'pon the shore, where I had a lovely carbonara and we watched the fog rolling in across the sand.

One thing I must say about England is that the tide goes out a bizarrely long way. In Australia and also every other beach-having locale I have frequented in my 26 years on this planet (it was my bday on Jan 2nd, I will accept well-wishes til Feb), the tide goes out by maybe a couple of metres. In JOLLY OLD ENGLAND, they apparently have not yet discovered frickin drop offs, so their sea floor extends at the same damn level for MILES. Meaning the tide goes out for MILES. Maybe not literally miles, but a LONG. ASS. WAY. Innywho, I very much enjoyed observing the fog drift forth across said impracticle expanse of shore, and suggested we amplify this cosiness with a post-meal coffee. I did not know what we were in for. I will present to you a v condensed version, but I need you to understand that these events transpired over a 10+ minute period. 

So we popped into some little white hut-looking thing, claiming to identify itself as a coffee house, but which I would become convinced must be a front for some sort of psychological research facility. Upon entering, we encountered about 3 or 4 people sitting and waiting, and one man standing at the counter, talking to the barista. This man clearly thought he knew a hell of a lot about coffee, and was trying his very hardest to impress this barista, who was not having it because HE knew the most about coffee. Ever. He would subtly undermine each statement made by Sad Man, whilst slowly brewing the most time-consuming singular cup of coffee I have ever encountered. We are talking milligram by milligram attention to detail, may as well have been holding a magnifying glass and consulting star charts level intricate. I, about 4 minutes in, am thinking I have had many good coffees in my life, and none of them were this high maintenance, but whatever. We'll wait and see. Both of these men continue trying to outdo each other, whilst the barista slowly pours water, teaspoon by teaspoon, into a single-serve conical coffee filter. At this point I feel it is necessary to mention this place offers only espressos and flat whites; no cappuccinos or lattes or other equally fanciful abominations. Oh no. Can not be having that in this Mecca of Beans. Anyway. A literal full seven to eight minutes into shit banter and constant pouring, Will is waiting to be even remotely acknowledged by the barista, and I have witnessed multiple potential customers enter, observe and leave. I have decided we must be being Punk'd and sit myself down on a wicker chair to tweet. Tweets were as follows:

2.34pm: We are in some pretentious coffee hut in Cornwall and the man has been making one coffee for 5+ minutes he is literally weighing it and measuring it grain by grain I am dying they don't even make cappuccinos

2.36pm: There's another guy talking to him very seriously about beans like it's life or death and I am just chortling in a corner while Will waits for some MAGIC TO HAPPEN! Once the dude has finished this one ten minute coffee.

2.37pm: There is such a long line and he's still on the one cup this has to be a social experiment

2.43pm: We are free. Had a sip of Will's and it tastes like olives.

So many questions. Why did he deem William's double espresso unworthy of the full quarter hour treatment? We will likely never know, but one thing of which I am absolutely certain is that that coffee did, 100%, absolutely taste of olives. Picking up a Pauper's Cappuccino for me at a normal cafe two shops down (which did not at all taste of antipasto) and listening to Will mutter the correct pronunciation of 'Tintagel' to himself repeatedly whilst he thought I couldn't hear him on his way to the bin, we began our ascent back to the clifftop cemetery carpark. By the time we left St. Ives the fog was rolling in, not just over the ocean but through the countryside, and we were ready to hit the hotel and call it a day.