Saturday, July 4, 2009

Torquay I.i

On the 22nd we headed off to a little tourist town on the south-westish coast called Torquay. We had to change trains three times and at the last station we changed at were a ton of kids. Probably mostly 13 to 15 years old with a few younger. Chuck had his computer out and a group of 10 year olds (they looked like they were 10 or so at least) looked over his shoulder and got all interested in what he was doing. They started asking us questions about where we were from and why we're in England and if we like it, etc. Then they whipped out one of those high-tech phones with video capabilities and watched a series of clips of people getting hurt, one of which was a woman getting her brains blown out. Good. Lord. It was a bit shocking to see these young boys watching such a icky video. I hope it's just for show and not something they really think is okay! Ah well.

Our B&B in Torquay has been great, with only one minor flaw - the internet is POO! We have to go into the dining area to get internet, and even then it craps out on us every once in a while. I have to admit, it has gotten better than it was when we first arrived, but it's still not ideal.

But we're not here for internet. We're here to see the sites, such as the town. We went out of first night and had some delicious fish 'n chips at a shop on the water called Fish n Chips (how original). Chuck swears they're the best he's had so far and refuses to try anywhere else while we're here.

The next morning we headed out to Torre Abbey after our hearty full English breakfast. It's a nice little place with a very good written guided tour. It's nice being able to walk around reading the guide on a paper rather than having to follow signs or listen to a guide talk. Inside there were a lot of crafts and art made by local artists. At least I assume they're probably local. The gardens behind the abbey were nice too so we got a few pictures.

On the 24th we walked a mile or so to the nearby town of Cockington (you can laugh, it's ok). It's very olde worlde (pronounced oldy worldy apparently) with thatched roofs and small buildings. It was really pretty! And the vegetation and plants have taken over an old 10 foot across water-wheel next to one house. And next to one path is an old spinning wheel device that is rusted beyond use, but looks so rustic just sitting there. One of the houses we came across by the park looks just like the cottage that Sleeping Beauty would have lived in before marrying the silly prince, or perhaps where the three bears lived before Goldilocks rocked their world. Just a sort of fairy tale village.

It was recommended to me that if I wanted a good cream tea I ought to do it in Cockington, so we stopped by one of the numerous tea houses. The scones were huge! And it was delicious. I couldn't eat them both though and I felt slightly sick for the rest of the day, but it was worth it. I like that cream tea stuff. Have I explained cream tea before? Ah yes, when we went to Tiptree from Kelvedon I mentioned it. So yes, it was good a good cream tea. Or Devonshire Tea. Or whatever you'd like to call it.

Next day we went to what's known as Kent's Caverns. It's a cave system that has some of the earliest evidence of human occupation in the UK, dating back to at least 700,000 years ago. So we walked all the way over to the caves and did a nice tour. The tour guide was great! Very enthusiastic with a sense of humor and very knowledgeable about the caves. We learned that the humans would have been living side-by-side with humongous cave bears and hyenas, so it would have been a difficult, dangerous life (obviously - they didn't even have internet). Besides the human history, there was some impressive geologic history as well. Not as grand as Carlsbad Caverns or somewhere like that, but it's still an ancient place with some nice formations. And apparently Agatha Christie spent much of her youth around the caves and used them as the basis for some caverns in one of her books.

After the Kents Cavern tour we walked back to the hotel along the ocean. It was low tide, so all the rocks and seaweed were baking in the sunshine. I kept trying to find critters in the pools of water that were left behind, but the only slightly interesting things were a few anemones. And a word of warning: don't step on the seaweed. It's incredibly slippery!

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