England 2016: Day 11 leaving Paignton and hanging at Penzance

Saying goodbye to our Paignton home

Saying goodbye to our Paignton home

Today, we said goodbye to our Paignton home, Roslyn Guest House. This was our “home” since arrival on Tuesday, June 22 and we will miss it. We will miss our little train station … and knowing the Mo would have a hot, full-English breakfast for us every morning we wanted to eat … and even stopping at the Tesco on our way back for a quick dinner to eat as we planned our next day’s adventures.

After a tearful goodbye with Mo and her partner … we headed out to catch the train to Newton Abbot, a market town, race course and transfer point. We walked about a bit, enjoying the very British-ness of this small town.

We then took the 12:15 rail to Penzance … an amazingly lovely train ride thru Devon and Cornwall. The train was packed with school kids heading out on “field trips” … but it was still a great ride.

The view from Penzance harbor

The view from Penzance harbor

We got into Penzance and I was so disappointed. It was overcast, chilly, drizzly and just plain blah. I had never been to Penzance and had romanticized it a bit.

Unfortunately, the reality is that Penzance is more a pass-thru than a destination. The passengers getting off and on the train at the Penzance station were all campers, hikers, bikers … folks who were going somewhere. While the view from the harbor was glorious (and the sun poked out occasionally throughout the afternoon) … the town was not set up for walking (trust me … we almost got hit a couple of times) and kind of shuts down at 7pm.

... and another view of the harbor

… and another view of the harbor

the day getting icky again ...

the day getting icky again …

Maggie being a GREAT sport in Penzance, regardless of the weather!

Maggie being a GREAT sport in Penzance!

We did have some amazing Cornish Pasties for early dinner … and found a cool little independent bookstore filled with local authors’ work (current and classic). We headed back to the train station to hang out and wait for our overnight sleeper train to London.

This was supposed to be the highlight of the day … a trip aboard the “Riviera Sleeper“. I can still remember my first overnight sleeper from London to Edinburgh … such fun and such a great chance to talk with other travelers and just a life-changing experience.

Not so much this time.

We couldn’t get on the train till 21:15, but the station closed down at 19:00 (yep, even the bathrooms were locked) AND the “cafe” was closed for renovations. We could handle waiting for boarding: Maggie had a book to read (as well as her journal entry to complete and I had my knitting with me (I even had time to finished one shawlette and start another). So we waited … and waited … and waited.

At 21:15 we were able to board and found our reserved sleeper seats; we had opted against a cabin/berth since GWR couldn’t guarantee we’d be near each other and sleeper seats are part of the adventure. Right?

Well, our sleeper seats did not recline … and in fact, the springs in our seats were broken. The complimentary wi-fi never did connect. The stops were announced, loudly, and there were many of them. But it was truly an adventure … and adventure we’ll never forget … and next time, I’ll spring for the berths, regardless of proximity!

We got into London at 0500 and found a 24-hour McDonalds in the station. First order of business: coffee and breakfast. Second thing: getting Maggie set up with wi-fi (she was desperately trying to finish watching a show on Netflix that was only available in England). Third thing: plan our day … how to get to our hotel … what we’d want to do … etc.

Life is definitely an adventure … everyday!

Tomorrow – our first full day in London … on our second to last full day of the trip!



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