Penzance and Cornwall Without Pirates and Hens

For four months, I studied abroad in London, England. These notes are select entries from my experiences in the United Kingdom and Western Europe from that time.

Saturday, October 24 –

I woke up around 9:30 a.m. and showered before for a weekend overnight trip to southwest England. My goal was to experience a taste of Cornwall and Penzance. All I really knew about Cornwall was cornish hens. Even more laughable, the only thing I knew about Penzance was “The Pirates of Penzance.”

I grabbed an early lunch before leaving for Paddington Station at 11:15. I bought my £33 rail ticket and waited for my 12:35 departure for Penzance. In order to stay up with current events for my internship at the Spanish Embassy, I picked up a copy of “El Pais” and read it on the train. I also listened to a couple of CDs along the way. I managed to complete the rough draft of a business comparison paper for my UK/EU economics study class.

The train ride was beautiful and we passed through Plymouth and crossed an expansion bridge that said “Cornwall” on the other side. The train took almost six hours as we passed through some flooded areas from days of heavy rain.

Traveling by trains is an interesting perspective on British society because they stop at the center of every little town. The country people are completely different than Londoners and even bring their dogs on the trains. One of our British guest lecturers said there is a saying that nothing is quite as English as the smell of wet dog! This seems to be a common artistic theme if you look at their hunting paintings. One interesting event happened along the way. For most of the trip, the sky was very cloudy until we were about an hour from Penzance. Then someone exclaimed out loud, “Look, the sun!” I thought that was rather indicative of how much dreadful weather Englanders are accustomed to experiencing.

I finally arrived at Penzance around 6 p.m. I then looked for a bus to Land’s End or St. Ives, but they had terminated for the day. I found a nice hotel in Penzance for £20 that was really more of a B&B. The lady that ran the hotel, The Stanley, was really nice and suggested a fish and chips place around the corner for supper. I grabbed a takeaway of cod and chips and went back to my room. On the way I enjoyed the pretty lights and roar of the Atlantic. This was truly the end of Europe until you get to Ireland or Iceland! I then returned to my room for the night before going to be at 1 a.m. We set our clocks back an hour tonight to British Standard time.

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