After two days of sunny, if a bit windy weather, we had a feeling our luck wouldn’t last much longer. So after another indecently decadent breakfast at Tregenna Castle, we armed ourselves with umbrellas and waterproof hoodies, and set off to properly explore St Ives this time. The plan was to follow a long, somewhat wild looking footpath along the railway out of town and eventually descend on the beach at its furthest end, then walk back along the sea front towards St Ives, where we still had a bunch of sights to check off our list.
It being quite early on Easter morning, we imagined we wouldn’t run into anybody for a while, but we came across countless groups of early hikers, dog walkers and landscape photographers with whom we happily exchanged smiles and morning pleasantries.
I think V and I have a bit of a walking culture, if not an obsession. It’s been a challenge finding equally exploring enthusiastic traveling partners, as most people we know find it strange that we spend our holidays waking up at the crack of dawn only to walk streets, paths and museum corridors for 12 hours a day, every day of a trip at the end of which we’re usually more tired than we started out. What can I say, we’re weird that way.
Minutes shy of two hours later, our footpath finally descended onto the beach. By this time, the sky had turned an intimidating shade of grey and the wind brought hints of the coming downpour.
We walked around for a while, but not before I put on my winter hat and gloves (!!!) and made V add a couple more layers to his already Eskimo style outfit. I’m an absolute cosy-temperature-or-bust freak, so by the time I was done with us we both looked like oversized, waterproof dumplings, dutifully rolling our eyes at the pack of paragliding daredevils and one particular swimmer who looked way too lively for what I imagined was freezing cold water.
And then, all of a sudden, the rains from hell broke through. There’s little photographic proof of our hours long walk back to town through the storm, as we were way too busy keeping ourselves below freezing temperature, mending our clearly wind-is-our-kryptonite umbrellas and squeezing disheartening volumes of water out of our hair, eyelashes, shoelaces and so called waterproof outfits.
By the time we made it back to civilization, we rushed into the first dry looking coffee place and rested our exhausted drenched selves above a tray of piping hot Cornish pasties and steaming, cinnamon freckled hot chocolates. It was well past lunch time by now, and in spite of the seemingly never ending rain we had to get a move on and check a couple more places off our St Ives themed itinerary.
We concluded the evening sipping wine and stuffing ourselves with mountains of mussels at The Ocean Grill, while outside the window the tide was coming in and rain was slowly fading into a shiver inducing memory. As we were making our way back to the hotel, our multilayered clothes still reminiscent of the recent downpour, we decided we’d be coming back in the summer, to try the sand, and who knows, if we’re feeling particularly daring, the waters too, with bare feet.
As always at the end of a trip, I was feeling nostalgic about having to go back to London and our every day lives of walking up and down tube carriages and rooting ourselves in plasticky office chairs. More than a month after this holiday, I still find myself thinking of cramped houses built in grey, permanently damp looking Cornish lime, of the cave drilled cliffs by the beach where I shrieked every time V stuck his hooded head inside a particularly dark, dangerous looking cavern, of the Cornwall green, the greenest green I’ve seen in this country, one you can almost taste, tangy and raw.
I brought back a bag of white shells I’d picked during our beach walk. Ever the hygiene freak, once I got home I rinsed them in a million waters in our bathroom sink, washing all things Cornwall off them. They fill a jar on one of our living room shelves now, and sometimes I pick it up to dust it, way more often than needed, just to hear them rattle.