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    April 17, 2009

    No pirates in Penzance

    Posted by: Andoni


    As I mentioned last week, we are doing some heavy duty traveling over the next 3 months and that's why my posts have been sporadic and short.

    We just left Penzance, England - and just for the record, there weren't any pirates there. Maybe all the pirates left and moved to the horn of Africa. (Sorry, I couldn't resist saying that.)

    I've been to England many times before, but this is the first time I've visited what they call "The Southwest," or the Cornish Peninsula. Driving down here, we passed Plymouth, Falmouth, and Truro. I think I also saw signs for Weymouth and Tewksbury. Considering the flat sandy terrain, heavy traffic and the wind sculpted scrub brush, it was reminiscent of driving to Provincetown on Cape Cod. Now it's obvious why our early settlers called it New England.

    It's also interesting that the southern side of this Cornwall Peninsula as well as the southern side of our Cape Cod are both bathed by the same warm waters of the Gulf Stream which results in more moderate climates compared to the respective mainlands.

    One thing that surprises me on this visit is how friendly all the countryside B & B's have been to a gay couple so far. We've been to Bath, the Cothswolds, Dartmoor, and now Penzance. Urban London is still to come. Such gay friendliness was not there 10 years ago. Also, I can't image the same gay friendliness in rural America. Opps, considering the recent events in Iowa and Vermont, I had better visit there before making this statement so definitive.

    In Cornwall, there is so much ancestral pride that everything was "Cornish." The Cornish flag flew everywhere. Signs, menus and shops had Cornish hens, Cornish cheese, Cornish ice, Cornish clotted cream, even Cornish Ice cream. Most of these commodities is EU protected, so if you say it's Cornish, you have to prove it (somewhat like Champagne or Roquefort cheese).

    By law, Cornish clotted cream has to be at least 55% butterfat, and I swear Cornish ice cream is the frozen version of their clotted cream. Real Cornish ice cream makes Haagen-Dazs tastes like the cheap supermarket brand.



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    1. Tim C on Apr 17, 2009 8:59:30 AM:

      I hate to upset your sense of history, but when the early settlers landed on Cape Cod, it was heavily forested, with dunes only right at the water's edge. After a couple of centuries of intensive land use (overgrazing, cutting down trees for buildings and firewood), by 1827, there were only three trees left in Provincetown and the dunes, aided by the peninsula's thin, glacially derived soils, began to spread over the entire Cape. As early as 1800, most firewood was being imported from Maine. So, what we see is not what the early settlers saw.

    1. andoni on Apr 18, 2009 1:58:22 PM:

      I'm glad you pointed that out Tim C. When we were on the Cornish peninsula, we visited many beautiful gardens that were nicely forested with what appeared to be big old trees right down to the sea. Neighboring properties however were completely deforested, the change very abrupt along the property line. When I saw this I couldn't tell which was the original state, the barren land or the forested land and gardens. With your explanation of the history of Cape Cod, I would bet that a similar thing occurred in Cornwall and the really nice gardens are more like what the original looked like, rather than the barren deforested land.

    1. Hobosic on Apr 20, 2009 4:13:13 AM:

      Hello, I have already seen it somethere... Thank you

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