We set out from Peter and Ruth’s, equipped with a box of Cadbury chocolates from them. Peter, you always take such good care of us! It was a reluctant good-bye on both sides. He left us with many warnings about driving to Cornwall: “Stay off the B roads!” “Mind all the caravans, coaches, and lorries!” “Program your SatNav—NO B ROADS, especially in Cornwall!” And he warned us that it would take us way longer than the 3.5 hrs we had thought due to the school holiday traffic.

And, while we did take B roads (don;t tell!), the M5 (interstate) was by far the most treacherous! Every caravan (aka camper) in the UK seemed to be headed our way. Car top carriers were in abundance — b/c the cars here are so much smaller than US cars. So the 3.5 hour drive turned into a SIX HOUR drive!

We finally arrived at Tintagel Castle, we only had an hour and 20 minutes before closing time! And you have to hike way down a footpath – and I mean DOWN – to get to the entrance. Then you have to climb up a cliff on these stairs that I do believe inspired the “Twisty Stair” in Lord of the Rings! No really. It was BEAUTIFUL! Breathtaking (literally). The climb was exhilarating, and gave us a feeling of accomplishment…and so worth it to see the mystical castle ruins perched atop the Cornish cliffs, waves crashing below. And we had to rush this adventure since closing was approaching. There are connections to the legend of King Arthur, and Merlin’s cave is supposedly under the cliff, and it is easy to see how these legends arise from these surroundings. Ruins of other Medieval building are scattered about the hills, which they share with some brave sheep! We opted to take the Land Rover back up the seriously steep hill….best 2 pounds spent all day!

Next stop….petrol (aka Gasoline!) A nearby town had a BP…petrol stations are not exactly abundant on the back B roads of Cornwall and we were getting nervous. SatNav to the rescue. After we fueled up, I plugged in the postal code for the town Helstone (yes Helstone, not Helston), which was a setting for the BBC’s North & South. It was literally a 48 second drive from the BP!!!! HA! Yes “Arriving in 48 seconds.” Our goal… to photograph the town sign, find a hedgerow with a yellow flower. And right there, past the sign was a handy little pull-off. And a handy little hedgerow….with yellow flowers! “I found it in the hedgerow.” Sigh. (Only North & South fans will get this) Must add….only yellow flowered-hedgerows we’ve seen anywhere in 3 days.

After this, we went in search of the town of Polperro and the Crumplehorn Inn that Andrew, our host at the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, recommended. That is when things got interesting. The B roads, and the single-track roads along the way we only thought were challenging. Oh no. We accidentally took the “Thailand Hill” road into Polperro. As we drove the road got narrower and narrower. And everyone was walking. We stopped to ask if we were allowed to be on this road, like there was anything we could do if we weren’t. They all chuckled and said “Yes, but it gets a bit narrow on ahead. Be careful!”

A BIT NARROW??? Oh.my.gosh. It was the steepest, narrowest road I have ever seen. We had centimeters’ clearance in places on the sides of the car. People had to step into doorways to let us pass. And you should see the looks we got! But we made it down…hot brakes and shot nerves! But how fun, and what an unexpected adventure. And apparently we made an impression… Andrew messaged us that his friends in Polperro contacted him and told him that yes, they had seen us (us being the two clueless American moms) easing down Thailand Hill! We are legend!!!

We did go to Andrew’s old place for dinner.. the Crumplehorn Inn. It was a delightful little “Free House,” which is a pub that is not tied to any one brewery and is free to serve any ales and beers it chooses. We split a lovely chicken stroganoff and rice, and a side of “veg.” And of course, a sticky toffee pudding and cream to end it. We drove on then to Marazion, just over an hour away, and down some interesting B roads, and even a single-track or two, in the dark.(don;t tell Peter!) and arrived safely at The Mount Haven. Our room is so beautiful….but it is so late, and we have more Cornish adventures in store for tomorrow.

Enjoying being settled for the night,