We left Charlestown at 9 am and reached Fowey at 4:00, covering at least 10 miles, with an hour lunch break on the beach in Polkerris. After lunch, we decided to “wander” from the coast path and our narrative directions to follow the Saint’s Way, a lovely inland hike that took us through a farm yard, into a gently rolling wood, passing moss-covered dry stone walls and a pig farm before reaching the suburban edge of Fowey (pronounced Foy, like Toy).
To get to the pastoral Saint’s Way, we had to do a grueling, long uphill stretch on tarmac away from Polkerris cove. After recovering from that we had a level stretch along a road before cutting into the woods and climbing some more.
On the way, we stopped and talked with 4 middle-aged local women who were doing a circuit hike–no poles, no special equipment, no hiking boots.
Tough people, these Cornish folks. They walk around in shorts, swimming and wind surfing (in wet suits), in a chilly wind and only occasional sunshine. Meanwhile, we’re all wrapped up in long sleeves, long pants, and jackets.
I think we look pretty over-the-top with all our gear, sporting bandanas, laden down with REI backpacks, pricey Salomon hiking shoes and our hiking sticks.
After climbing over a stile, we met a couple that assured us we were quite near our destination and to look for a bus stop with “cushions” as we entered Fowey.
Sure enough… there were two upholstered chairs, a third wicker one, and a table with magazines, all set in an ivy-covered bus shelter. The back wall sported a drawing and quote of Winnie the Pooh on the back wall. “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” While we stood there looking at it, two little girls ran up and plopped down on the chairs for a few seconds and then moved on.
At Trevanion, where four of us were staying, we found the door locked with a note saying to go to the Safe
Harbor Pub, 3 doors beyond, to summon our host, Steve, to come let us in. We dubbed him an aging hippie/pirate — long hair in a ponytail and an untrimmed white beard, with a brilliant green parrot sitting on his shoulder. The only thing missing was an eye patch!
Trevanion was our funkiest hotel so far, but also the one with the best breakfast — a sideboard full of fresh fruit–mangos, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, melon… what a treat! And we introduced Carol to soft-boiled eggs with toast soldiers. There was French press coffee, too.
Steve told of being a kid and playing in the bombed areas after the war. (In London, I think). He said we’d have been right at home in Fowey during the war because it was an American billet for the soldiers going to Normandy, just across the English Channel.
His musings were a glimpse at how “current” World War II still is for the UK. That was certainly confirmed when we visited Churchill’s War Rooms in London.