Cornwall The Second – Polperro & Looe

We took a train back to Liskeard, where we then got the Looe Valley Line to: St. Keyne, Causeland, Sandplace & Looe. For some reason the LVL was around the side of the station, with it’s own special platform which was made to look old-timey. Even the man running the information booth was in costume. I think. Although, maybe he dresses like that all the time.

In my last post I had some gratuitous seagull photos. Now here are some gratuitous photos of myself, that don’t really fit anywhere, but are fun so I want to get them in.

From Looe we needed to get to the wee fishing village of Polperro, were we’d booked ourselves for a couple of days. We’d just missed the bus which only ran every hour, so we jumped in a taxi with a random couple who were also headed in that direction. The taxi driver said it was cheaper to go by taxi, but in retrospect it really wouldn’t have been; doesn’t matter, since this couple insisted on paying the fare. Win!

For such a small place, would you believe we couldn’t find out B&B? The only address given was ‘The Coombe.’ That’s it – just the street name. On a street that had no sign to begin with. Google Maps – get! it! together! You are at your destination. No…that’s somebody’s house. The owner must have thought we were stupid, having to ring up for directions.

Polperro is such a tiny village & like straight out of a novel. It’s main source of income is from summer tourists who will rent out cottages. It is car-free, so visitors have to keep their car in the car park at the top of the village. It’s only a short walk, but there are milk-floats designed to look like trams, which trundle people back & forth. Aside from the one main road, many of the houses are built up along the cliffs & hills, so I don’t see how a car could even get through. There is one corner shop, a post office, a bakery, a sweet shop, a couple of cafes, a couple restaurants, several B&B’s, some botique-y type shops, a museum, and about 3 pubs.

The harbour was full of junky little dingy-boats, some more sea-worthy boats, seagulls & people fishing off the seawall. We had a gander at the main tourist attraction – the museum, which didn’t allow photos but was choc-a-bloc with stuff. Mostly nautical. There was too much to read & it had been typed up in a really difficult font to look at. But I did learn that a lot of smuggling went down in Polperro back in the day. Again with the pirates!

So once the season ends, there is basically nothing happening here & it becomes deserted. Which means that pretty much everything closes, so people are out of work for several months. The cafe where we had breakfast (since our B&B was only one B) was actually closing for the summer the very next day. I guess most of the tourists had trickled out by now. We spoke to a local woman who said often people who move to Polperro end up leaving once the winter sets in because it becomes far too isolating. And then they just never come back. And of course because it’s so small, everyone knows your business.

We had dinner in a pub and I just about had a heart-attack because a couple with two black Scottie dogs came in & sat down at the table beside us!! Forget the food – let me engage your dogs! They were so quiet, they just lay down on the floor, blended into the shadows and slept. The man offered me one of them, to which I said “Adham look! We can have a Scottie!” then his wife realized what he’d said & retracted his statement. Oh. 😦

So who’s athletic? Not me! What seems like a good idea? Walking from Polperro to Looe along the Coastal Path! This was my original intent & at the time it sounded delightful. Looking back, it really wasn’t too bad. It just took longer than we thought it would. The pamphlet said 2 hours. 2 hours. Yeah okay there, Speedy McGee. It took us 4 hours. Now, to be fair there was a detour & we did stop a couple of times. And the path was pretty inclined in spots & it was winding. Luckily it was warm & sunny (I actually got a sunburn) & clear blue skies. If it had been anything but, I think I’d have been pretty ticked off.

One of our pit stops was Talland Bay, where I combed the beach for sea glass & Adham sat on the rocks & tried to pick up an internet signal. While the views were absolutely stunning, I kept hoping that we’d be in Looe around the next bend. I was beginning to think we’d veered off track somehow, because we were well passed the 2 hour mark. Turns out we’re just bad hikers.

Ok, so the only reason I wanted to go to Looe was because of the name. Once I searched it though it did seem like a nice little town to amble around. We investigated some rock pools where I was pretty excited to find a giant red crab. Except then I noticed it wasn’t moving & when I poked it with a stick I confirmed that it was dead. All along the pier people were crabbing & I don’t mean vocally! Ey oh! They would put some bait on a long string, lower it into the water & when brought up there would be a few small crabs attached. I assume people would eat them, since they were collecting them in a bucket.

Looe is actually divided by a bridge into East Looe & West Looe. The east side was pretty happening, with the west being more residential. And by happening, I mean full of touristy shops, since like Polperro it relies quite a bit on tourism. We punctuated our long-ass walk with ice cream in innovative flavours such as: vodka pink grapefruit & Cornish salt caramel. Delicious! And I bought probably the best souvenir ever: a wooden fish that has “The Loo” painted on it, which hangs on our toilet door. The Loo, from Looe. That really cracks me up!

We were sensible & got the bus back to Polperro, which took a round-about way in order to service the various little hamlets dotted about. Tune in for Part 3 & find out how my body fared the next day: totally fine or a broken mess?





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