Our Cornish (Coasteering) Adventure

Over the August bank holiday weekend Sam and I took a trip down to Cornwall, which is one of our favourite places in the UK. We’ve been many times before but absolutely love it down there and always take any excuse to go back. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We stayed just outside of Padstow, in a small campsite in St Merryn. It was the perfect location; great transport links for Padstow and Port Issac, and on the way home we were able to stop in at Tintagel and Boscastle too.

Padstow is a beautiful Cornish village. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt is situated on north coast and has a wonderful little harbour. The shops are quite commercial; the typical surf and fudge shops I’ve come to expect from Cornwall, but I think its the restaurants and cafes that entice the visitors in. Pubs, gastro-pubs, up-market restaurants and nook-and-cranny cafes, all serving fresh delicious sea food. You can buy freshly-dressed crab and mussels from stands around the harbour – as well as the traditional Cornish pasty if you fancy something more meaty! Padstow is quaint, but you really don’t need more than a couple of hours there.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES I would definitely recommend going in the morning if you can, as by lunch time and the afternoon the crowds are immense.

Harlyn Bay is where we did our coasteering. My parents had bought us a voucher for Christmas and we were so pleased as it meant tying in a new venture with a trip to the coast. I’ve wanted to do coasteering for a couple of years now (perhaps in an attempt to still feel young and fit despite my advance towards the big 3-0!) Sam is not a confident swimmer so I was a bit unsure whether or not he would enjoy it or would be too apprehensive – but he LOVED it. Coasteering is a meander across the rocks and seaweed along the coast, jumping into the sea and rock pools at designated spots. I would definitely recommend it for those of you who want to do it but have reservations. We filmed a little video to show you just how good it is – so you don’t have to take our word for it!

 

This was the hottest day of the summer – about 28 degrees. I thought we’d be bundling up in jumpers and blankets for the short drive back to the campsite but how wrong I was. I kicked back with some snacks back at the car and sunbathed!

Port Isaac in my view, is a cuter, lesser-known alternative to Padstow.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThere is one car park at the top of town and from there you can do a short walk along the coast, round and down to the village. It has a wonderful little bay with fishing boats (very active fishing boats judging by the amount of fish we saw in the market). We stopped for a Cornish cream teaSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES in a quirky little cafe where everything from the jam to the scones themselves were homemade.  A perfect respite before we continued on up the hill and enjoyed a welcome break overlooking the bay and soaking up the sunshine. Don’t forget to call in at the little fish market on your way through.

Some people may be familiar with Port Isaac as it is where Martin Clunes’ Doc Martin is filmed, but I’m pleased that, for the most part, it has not become too tourist-y.

Tintagel. Famous for the ruined castle and Arthurian legends of Merlin and the round-table. This village has really take on the myths surrounding the village as many (little) shops contained everything from dream-catchers to figurines. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Just to the left of a Cornish-pasty shop is the very steep walk down to the bay. But don’t worry – you don’t have to walk back up! There is a Landrover service for a small surcharge, or you could cheat like us and walk via a quaint church on the headland. We didn’t pay to go into the ruin or down to Merlin’s cave as it was sooo hot and there is not much shade, but we did enjoy it from afar and had a lovely walk back around on the coast.

Make sure to stop for a Cornish pasty in town – they’re well worth it! You only need a couple of hours here – perhaps a few if you are going to go across to the ruin.

But then you can take a short drive to Bossiney Bay. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESPark up in a car park just off the road out of Tintagel and take a short 5 minute hike half way down the cliff. You should come to a cross road (ahem, cross path), and if you continue for a few yards there should be a parting in the hedgerow, giving you a clear view of the bay below. The rock formation here is quite famous as it looks like an elephant with its trunk dipping in to the water. Its also quite a safe bay to paddle in when the tide is out.

Boscastle was our final stop on our little tour of north Cornwall. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Just a couple of miles up the road from Tintagel is this little village. There aren’t any shops per se, but several pubs and cafes and a thoroughly enjoyable walk alongside the river, leading out into the estuary. You can walk along the river wall right out until you view the sea; but walk on the right not the more publicised left-hand side as the views are more impressive.

The tide was out when we arrived and we were able to see the chains staking the boats to the seabed, seaweed snaking along it and over the rocks. Well worth a visit and again, only a couple of hours are needed.

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If you are planning a visit to Cornwall – enjoy! And if you want any recommendations of where to go or stay just comment below.

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Feta & olives; a fly and flop to Greece

We’ve had a hectic few months so when our holiday to Greece finally rolled around a couple of weeks ago, Sam and I were both ready for it.

What with being very busy at work and trying to move house (whole other story!), we both felt exhausted so a holiday was long overdue. We’d been away over Easter to Devon, and went up to the Lake District in May, but its not the same as a week (or 10 days in our case) in the sun. One of my favourite feelings in the whole world is stepping off the plane and feeling the hot dusty air hit you square in the face. Within minutes your skin has a slight sheen to it – especially if you have to get one of those buses between the plane and the terminal. And I LOVE it. You just know you are on holiday then.

We had a beautiful holiday; though I can’t say much about the island itself as we didn’t leave the hotel! We went to Crete at the end of June and had good intentions to explore part of the island, including the temple of Knoss not far from the airport. Very quickly though, we realised that that was simply not going to happen. We did a couple of walks into the local village, Elounda, but that was it!

I love tanning; I would say it one of my best talents. If I didn’t come back from holiday looking like a native with very obvious tan lines I think I’d question what the point of the holiday was. That sounds awfully shallow, but I do find myself checking how well I’ve tanned each and every day. If I had pale English rose skin I obviously wouldn’t bother, but as I have an olive skin tone I treat it as an annual personal challenge to see how dark I can go. Sam on the other hand doesn’t usually like sitting in the sun for days on end. But even he was happy to fly and flop this time. He even got his chest and back out in the sun and has gone a wonderful golden colour.

Greece is beautiful. I’ve been to Mykonos, Santorini, Kos, Rhodes, Corfu, Athens and Olympia, besides Crete. And it really does look how it does on the internet! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESCute cube-shaped white-washed houses with blue shutters, pink and white bougainvillea growing up the sides and stunning views out over the sea. Tavernas with rickety wooden tables and chairs but the most amazing feta, olives and all types of salads and seafood on offer. I think I was Greek in a past life, because I can’t get enough of it.

We didn’t obviously see much of Crete save for the journey to and from the airport and two short hops into Elounda. Crete is the most southerly of the Greek islands and very mountainous. It doesn’t have the picturesque buildings I described above (for the most part – there are some quaint towns on the west side of the island though). It is more rustic, more weathered I guess. It is not as green as the more northern islands, such as Corfu, and has a hardened feel about it; plants that are clearly used to drought conditions and high temperatures.

But Greece is all about the food and Crete is no different. We enjoyed many Cretan specialities (including raki which nearly blew my head off) and every dish was amazing. If you do not like olives, oils, mussels, soft cheese and salads, Greece isn’t the place for you. It has the most eclectic culinary mixes; tea infused oils, mint, basil and oregano salads with beetroot, walnuts, feta and artichoke.

The best pork and lamb, falling off the bone, and more types of fish than I thought I’d see in one sitting. I managed to lose 1 stone in weight in the lead up to our holiday, but I came back 5 pounds heavier!

Our holiday was just that; a holiday. A break away from the reality of our lives in the UK and time for us to just relax and be us. We didn’t just sit in the sun all day, we swam in the sea and the pool (I have an irrational fear of little fish so the pool is much safer!) and spent endless hours sipping wine and tea on our beautiful garden terrace overlooking the sea in our dressing gowns. It was wonderful spending time together doing nothing in particular. Sam and I can spend all day with each other and not get bored, talking about anything and everything . We treated ourselves to a rasul spa treatment; a self-applying mud treatment which rejuvenates your skin. We have come back refreshed, tanned (!) and with more love for each other than ever before.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I would thoroughly recommend visiting the Greek isles – though I’ll have to see more of Crete before I decide either way!