St Ives is lovely but the sea gulls are not, two things I heard consistently about the beautiful seaside town before we visited.
To get there from Bristol took 4 hours by train with an annoying pair of women who bickered at numerous intervals with each other and for several minutes half the carriage, but with the increasingly beautiful landscape rolling by it was easily tolerated.
The one train change from St Erth to St Ives felt perfect as we took in the stunning coastline, distant lighthouse and gorgeous clear blue sea lapping against the sandy beaches.
Off the train and heading into the town’s narrow streets we had a bit of a faff connecting deadened phones with portable Power banks for what was actually a short journey to our Airbnb.
Passing the famous sloop Inn and it’s packed out beer garden overlooking the bay made the location of our airbnb (booked by my girlfriend – I can’t take credit) feel ever more perfect. We entered the old fisherman’s cottage, up a narrow staircase into a nice well furnished room with solid brickwork that has kept those sea winds at bay, chatted briefly to our host who recommended a nearby bay then went to find it.
It took a mere 4 minutes to find the bay then to discover and stroll around the SW Coast path, not exactly ragged but still made me feel a bit giddy and uneasy walking on unfenced pathway with unapologetic looking rock below.
The coastline really is beautiful and the costal paths have so much of everything you could wish for in natural beauty, sadly I missed a frolicking seal in the waters below the next day due to my fear of heights and unnecessary caution on that same path.
As we made our way back into the little touristy streets to see what shops and eateries there were with no real plan in mind we bumped into one of my girlfriends colleagues and his partner sat outside a cafe having a Korev.
It seems that when you travel in the South West it holds a big happy risk of meeting people you know from Bristol.
After a nice chat we tried out a nearby terrace bar, I got a Korev as I’ve had enough DoomBar without hitting Cornwall, a nippy breeze cut our stay a little short, food was next on the agenda and with an upmarket sea food restaurant recommendation we decided to check out the place that evening then book it the next day , but during our reconnaissance mission I needed a wee and it was the only place nearby so asked if we could just nip in for a drink overlooking the water, sample the place and their facilities.
Still a bit too cold to be jacket-less we sat out overlooking the beach the lighting of the restaurant meant looking out to sea was completely pitch black save for two distant lights, no clouds , no stars , just the end of the world.
We finished up our drink getting some travel tips from the bubbly waitress, working one of her two jobs, so was happy to reminiscence and share travel tips on South-east Asia ( we got chatting and mentioned we were planning to visit Vietnam soon ), a failed attempt at talking to a seemingly cheerful American who without his pleasant lady companion wasn’t anywhere near as charming and chatty as he’d sounded in full blown conversation so got the message quick and left him alone, before heading back towards the main bay area to try a swank looking fish and chip restaurant.
With an open kitchen the floor had a fine film of grease , you could tell it was cleaned daily, but in full swing and cooking all things fried a mingin floor was inevitable. We opted for the shared platter but my girlfriends face dropped when it arrived as it just was’t the hearty portion we’d hoped for, it was tasty and the tin of chips was nice (a tin!), but sometimes you expect more than is realistic.
To finish the night we went to the sloop inn where inside looked as nice and old as the outside, something so comforting about an old quaint boozer. Dated around 1312 you can only imagine the many conversation happy and heated to have coloured the place. The crowd seemed to be mostly tourists, live music came from a chap with a distinctive folk style and a huge menu of songs he’d perform on request from Sinatra to Elvis to Manic street preachers to the proclaimers, it was a lot, it pretty much all sounded the same, but his music kept the crowd tapping away and invited the odd choral sing-a-long.
With less than a minutes walk at the end of our night we were in that comfortable bed as fast as it took to get served, our first half day in St Ives exploring a little of it’s beauty without a single bastard gull incident!