Friday, September 30, 2011

England Day 5: Tresco and St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly

The following day I slept in, so I had some fruit and coffee delivered to the room at the last call. The coffee is so good here. Each day The Island Hotel posts the boats/tours that are available from Tresco. Since it was a Sunday there wasn't too much available but there was a wildlife tour to St. Agnes so I went ahead and decided to do that.
I <3 room service!
I walked around the property since the tour was later in the day. I love the resort... It would have been even more nice if it was warmer outside at the beach.
Since the island doesn't allow cars there was this cute road sign while walking to the pier to go to the wildlife tour.
While walking I came upon the St. Nicholas church. I was really disappointed that I missed the service. I had planned to wake up early, get breakfast and make it but I was exhausted... (not a proper excuse, though, I know).
Another view as I was walking past the church.
Because I was still early for the tour I shopped at the Gallery Tresco, the only real store on the island with local art pieces.
Then I started getting hungry so I stopped at the only food store on the island. It was more like a combination of a small grocery store and a convenient store... I got some great apples and some yogurt raisins. The apples were so good, LOL.
While I was eating my apples (I had to go back for more) I saw this great mosaic on the wall outside the grocery store. Love! It totally described my life at that exact time.
Then I went on the wildlife tour, which turned out to be a tour to St Agnes island. It began with a narration of the surrounding islands. This was Hangman's Island... Can you tell why?
An old fortress and the ruins were here. Very interesting to see, it looked really out of place. But since this was the most western part of the world before 1492 I could see why it might be necessary.
I got a lot of great pictures of the waves hitting the rocky cliffs or rocky island pieces. Such a beautiful day.
Then we saw a great cluster of Puffins. They were sort of in the middle of the picture on the second level of the rocky cliffs. It was so neat to see them. A wonderful woman on the tour boat, Jan, let me use her binoculars to see them up close. It was absolutely one of my favorite things about the Isles of Scilly to me.
And then we saw some seals swimming in the ocean! You can see a small head popping out of the water to greet the boat.
Then we saw a seal climb onto the rocks from the water. We watched him/her for a while, too.
More Scilly birds!!
A beautiful lighthouse...
Then we landed on St Agnes Island, another car-less island, and I walked around touring the island. I was unprepared because I thought it was just a wildlife tour but I was pleased to see another island.
What beautiful flowers there were...everywhere. And so bright!
I found a plant shop that served as a gift shop. I found some post cards there that I could send from the St Agnes post office.
I walked up the hill to see the St Agnes lighthouse...
And on the way found the local Post Office. Unfortunately, British post offices aren't open on Sundays either. But they had a collection box for mail, so it worked out.
Then I went back to where the boat loaded and waited for our return.
The Turks Head pub was there and I decided to have a local ale.
What a view! It was one of my favorite vacation moments... So peaceful. Until I dropped my camera into the glass accidentally...
After I got off the boat it was around 4pm. I had way too much time before dinner but everything on the island was closed. But I decided to make the half mile walk to the Tresco Abbey Gardens even though they were closed. I didn't know if I'd be able to see them but I had nothing else to do and it was good exercise. While I was walking I came upon this strange bird that followed me for a bit.
The road I was following was long, and isolated. Since it was covered with trees on both sides it made me a bit weary but I was I knew I would be.
As I walking closer to the Abbey I came upon these .... cactus roses is what they seemed like. I'm not flower specialist so I'm not sure what they were but they were really beautiful but very durable like a cactus. They were pretty all in bloom with each other and clustered as they were.
This was the entrance to the Tresco Abbey Gardens but as they were closed...there was not much to see. I wish I had toured them instead of the other island but I was torn in my decision and I can always go back. :)
Since my other camera was dunked in a pint of ale I had to resort to using my iPhone for photography at this point. Plus with the sun directly overhead it was very difficult to get a good picture of the Abbey.
Then I took the mile and a half walk back to the Island Hotel and showered up for dinner. Because it was my last night I got an optimal table facing the beautiful water. It was a Sunday buffet dinner but it began with an appetizer. I got the crap and salmon plate. Very tasty.... I love my seafood.
Then there was an optional half lobster. It was delicious. Completely wined and dined!
Having a glass of champagne to celebrate my last night on the Isles of Scilly. =Bliss
The Sunday buffet was a lot of different meats. I tried my first duck. It was tasty but...not something I'd eat often. So much food!
And this is the BEST dessert I've EVER had!! I would have licked the bowl if I could have. :)
And I spent the rest of the night drinking coffee, blogging and reading Alice in Wonderland. Total relaxation at its best. I miss the Isles of Scilly!

Currently in Natchez, Mississippi

So, I'm terribly behind in my blogging but I just had to post that I'm currently in Natchez, Mississippi with my Aunt B touring old antibellum homes and having a very nice time. We're staying in one of the SUPER NICE plantation homes in a King Suite and I feel like an antibellum princess. I'm currently working on London trip blog and then Boston and the fun stuff around Houston since then. Hope everyone is enjoying their own travels since I've gotten such nice emails from some of you readers and I hope to see you along the path. Happy travels!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

England Day 4: Penzance Pirate Festival and Isles of Scilly!

Well, the fourth day was a bit boring in the beginning but ended up being one of the milestones of my travel life. Milestone: first time riding in a helicopter :) Here is my day... I began my day with another lovely breakfast and my morning coffee. I should begin each day like this....probably my favorite part of an English vacation.
I thought I'd have time to wake up early and get to St. Michael's Mount for it turns out it was closed for the Penzance Pirates Festival. So, I had 4-5 hours to wander the streets of Penzance which turns out to have been enjoyable, just wish I had seen St Michael's up close and personal.
My luggage had broken earlier in the trip and I was worried about the very strict helicopter luggage rules so I rushed around to find a new suitcase that wasn't as big as mine, nor as heavy. Yes, I pack way too much. So, I ended up asking around and finding the "Pound Stretcher" which is very similar to a Big Lots. I found a big suitcase with a cute polka-dot design for about 20L. Funny part? My fancy suitcase 5 times as much didn't get half the compliments that the cheap, British suitcase gets. :)
Turns out all morning there were parades...small ones, of course. Lots of Scottish bagpipes and later in the day saw a children's parade.
One last view of my hotel.....So dreary that wonder the helicopters were running behind.
While walking around Penzance I saw this adorable children's parade... It was a few of the different schools and their classes who made some sort of ocean craft that they were carrying. On the walk back through all the parents were carrying the craft, though. Hilarious! :)
Loved the giant squid that opened its tentacles into the audience...
Loved the gigantic pirate. There was like a Mardi Gras Krewe holding this huge thing in the air...definitely not children holding this, nor the squid for that matter.
DURING the parade there was this high school band playing. I felt so bad for them, lol. They just kept playing...and people were all over the place. Love the school uniforms, though. Very British :)
Then, it had been pretty cold and I was thinking I might be even cooler on the islands so I bought a pair of long jeans. And, just like things always was warm the rest of the trip. :)
While walking around (in a pretty small area) I figured I had to try to famous Cornish ice cream. It was good was no Blue Bell :)
Cute little ice cream shop, and had to laugh at the employees in the cow costumes. At least they were having fun.
And even though I couldn't really find any food I wanted I knew I may not be eating til dinner. I have this HORRIBLE habit of not eating and then getting really sick and weak by the middle of the day after doing a lot of walking or hiking. So I stopped at this cook out to get a hamburger and...DISGUSTING! I don't know what that was but it was not a hamburger, American style.
So I had a (horrible) grilled cheese while sitting on the curb staring at some very nice scenery.
Since the heli port was running late due to fog I spent a bit of time waiting in the Abbey Hotel drawing room. It was actually quite nice in the quiet room just uploading pictures and playing on Facebook. Very relaxing...
Then my taxi finally showed and I ended up staying at the Heli Port for a couple hours because the morning fog backed everything up. Since I was going to the smaller island of Tresco I had to wait for the bigger, fuller flights to St. Mary's Island. But gave me some time to upload pics and blogs.
I was so nervous, you have NO idea! But I was brave and got on the flight. :) Still think it's funny that my brother builds helicopter engines and I had never been on one.
Going to the Isles of Scilly I sat in the middle of the helicopter. Quite a few people in there...22 total passengers.
We were in the fog/clouds for quite a bit but soon some islands emerged in the window beside me and I got some great pictures of the Isles of Scilly!
Coming into view...
Landing on the island of Tresco...
I was really confused as to how we were going to get to the hotel since there aren't any cars allowed on the island and then I saw.....tractors?!?
Connected to what looked like a horse trailer lol
So, the luggage was put up by the cute tractor boy and all the people from the helicopter got in the trailer. Lol too funny...
I stayed at The Island Hotel. OMG, best place ever....Look how cute the bedding was...
The porch outside my door...
The view from my porch.. :) Heaven....on Earth...bliss.
There was a bottle of champagne waiting for me...Love the hotel, I'm telling you! I didn't even order it.
So I drank the whole bottle while watching the scenery and talking to my parents on the phone. Truly magical!
The Island Hotel is an all inclusive hotel with breakfast and dinner included. I got all dressed up and had the most amazing meal. And all the food looked so fancy! This was a local fish dish on spinach. So good...and I'm NOT a spinach eater.
Since everyone else dining was a couple I had to show what entertained me, lol. My book, journal and phone. Gotta love the Minnie Mouse pen, huh?? :)
The spinach ravioli was absolutely amazing. Really some of the best food I've ever had...truly! If all food tasted like this I'd totally be a vegetarian.
Then the most amazing creme brulee with raspberry sauce. It was really funny because most people ordered this in the dining room and you kept hearing all this clinking noise of all the people trying to get the last bit of this dish....And let's just say there was clinking on my part too. :)
I really wanted some coffee after dinner but I was so full! Since the waitress said they'd serve coffee until 11 I decided to take a walk around the hotel grounds.
How pretty is that sunset?!?
Loved the colorful flowers.... Even though it was the end of June, Cornwall was pretty cool and there were many people with jackets on but the landscape was beautiful. But I decided I was still too full for coffee and I'd simply get some when I woke up. So I headed back to my patio and read/wrote more before I turned into bed. I miss Tresco and the Island Hotel!