On our way out of camp this morning, we met Nick and Bronwin, a really nice couple who were on their very first cycling & camping adventure. They had taken the train from London to Penzance, and then a bus to St. Ives (I think) where they came to camp at the same place as us. We had a very nice chat on our way out and they asked us loads of questions. Meeting them reminded me a lot of us when we first started. After shooting up the big hill outside of camp with ease we saw them on the road and they yelled to us that we had inspired them to ride the 8 miles into Penzance! I hope they made their train in time :) We picked up a few supplies before we set off for our own day of cycling to Penzance—the long way.
We biked forty (hilly) miles—west along the northern coast of Cornwall all the way to Land's End, the westernmost point in the UK. We were rained on a bit, and it was cold and hilly, but we took it all in stride and had a great day. It was really fun to cycle somewhere for a purpose other than setting up camp. Land's End was a big milestone for us, in a way it marked the 'end' of England! We arrived in short order along with large crowds of people, and had our touristy picture taken by a passerby. We had scarcely seen the famous Land's End signpost when Tyler was ready to go (he'd been there, conquered that, let's go, done with England, on to the next thing!).
I hadn't biked all the way across the country to leave so quickly! We went for a walk to the First and Last House in England, which turned out to be a gift shop and cafeteria. Apparently Land's End was simply a craggy outcropping of rocks jutting into the ocean when Tyler was here last, but now a rich American owns it and there are restaurants, play areas, gift stores, a shopping center, and even magic shows. We wished it were still just rocks, but we enjoyed it nonetheless, celebrating our little victory, having "made it" through England.
Before we left we sat on a wet picnic table and ate our leftovers from last night's dinner, while reminiscing about our travels in England. When we were through we headed east along the southern coast of Cornwall. Along the way we stopped in a tiny little town called Mousehole that Reinette had recommended. It was adorable with its tiny harbor, tea rooms, shops, and art galleries. We passed a house called "Thimble Cottage" (I think all the homes have names here) which seemed to me to be the perfect title for a tiny dwelling in Mousehole!
On our way out of town a very kind resident informed us that instead of pushing up the huge hill we came in on we could follow a flat road along the coast all the way to Penzance! Visiting the little towns and villages by the ocean often requires that you descend very steep hills and then push right back up them when you're through. It was nice to avoid that whole process as we cycled along the ocean, enjoying the incredible views for the next five miles or so.
After stopping to buy groceries, we continued on past Penzance and arrived at a campsite in the town of Marazion. When we were checking in at reception, we were told that there was a heated indoor POOL we could use! We were so excited about the prospect of swimming that we set up camp as quickly as possible and ran inside to enjoy a half an hour of paddling around before it closed. It was wonderfully warm, clean, and really, really relaxing. It did us a world of good (especially after so much biking) to simply float around. We spend almost all of our waking lives bicycling now, so this was a welcome change of pace. There was nowhere we had to swim to; we could just be in the pool. Heaven!
Refreshed from our swim we happily settled back into our tent when the phone rang, which is always really exciting! I was able to have a nice talk with my grandparents and as soon as we were done, the phone rang again! This time it was my brother! What a great day! A big milestone on our trip, a warm pool to float around in, and loving family to talk to! What more could you ask for?