Saturday, 27 July 2013

Penzance, here we come: £50 Road Trip Challenge

You might have noticed that not much has been happening on my blog in the past week. The reason for my silence was that we went to Cornwall for a week. We tend to go to the same area not far from Penzance. We stay in a small village of Perranuthnoe which boasts a fabulous beach, not too touristy and frequented mainly by the locals who every year ask themselves what has hit them when the Varese family is around. I will post more about our trip and will show you the fantastic views of St Michael's Mount, but today I would like to tell you about our trip to Penzance.

Every year on a car trip from Oxfordshire to Cornwall we admire the changing landscapes. The Cornish countryside is very distinct, this year it had lots of lilac blooms of fireweed.  This beautiful plant reminds me of Russia. When you travel by train in Russia, the fireweed (Epilobium) is growing like weeds everywhere around the rail tracks. Did you know that it used to be a very common herb for making tea?! It was exported to England from Russia in huge quantities (this has stopped during the WWI). I wonder looking at the vast amounts of fireweed in Cornwall as to why the British needed to import it, was it not so prolific in the old days? 

I enjoy the rides around the Cornish countryside and never get tired of watching the changing views.
It was Eddie's birthday on the 25th of July, and as he insisted on getting a Peppa Pig cake, we decided to travel from Perranuthnoe to Penzance in  search of the much coveted cake.
The ride takes about 15 minutes, and in this short time you see the coast and the green countryside, the sheep and the helicopters taking the visitors to the Isles.

It wasn't the warmest day, in fact we managed to get soaked in the heavy rain later that day, but we shrugged ourselves like the wet dogs and ran laughing.
Penzance is a lovely old town, with a busy harbour. It is sprawling up and down the hills, boasting a lot of Regency and Georgian architecture. 

We are creatures of habit, and on most visits to Penzance we usually visit the Renaissance cafe, which offers the views over the harbour and St Michael's Mount, some splendid Cornish ice cream and some of the most infuriatingly slow service as well, you need oodles of patience and lots of spare time (if you want a meal in a hurry, better not to visit this place). 

We admired the views, we ordered our drinks, ice cream and chips, we waited and waited and waited.
Eddie decided that some colouring was just the thing to do to fight the boredom. Sasha watched the boats.

Finally our ice cream arrived. The Cornish ice cream is absolutely delightful, creamy and full of flavour.

An abundance of mismatched clocks showing different times is probably an ironic reference to the unhurried approach of the staff.

After the cafe we trawled through High Street in search of the Peppa Pig cake. To Eddie's big disappointment, we couldn't find any (don't worry, I bought him one today). 
Being a child, everything seems brighter and more excitng. Eddie got a helium balloon, and he
was ecstatic with it. He kept telling all the passerbys in the street that it was his birthday and was bursting into a jolly rendition of "Happy birthday to me!" just in case someone was in any doubt.
Aww, to be young again and so happy with a simple balloon!

Moneysupermarket has challenged the bloggers to write about their ultimate road trip. They invited the bloggers to go on a road trip somewhere in the UK and prove that there are fantastic days out to be had right on our doorsteps.
"What about if we challenged you to go on a great road trip somewhere relatively local to where you live? That’s exactly what we’re doing with our £50 Road Trip Challenge (link removed as expired). We want bloggers of the UK to show everyone that there are fantastic road trips and days out to be had right on our doorsteps."

The best road trips are not all about visiting the exotic places, for me it is spending time together with my family, laughing our socks off and having an ice cream or two.
Our trip to Penzance was a happy one, despite the rain and the lack of the Peppa Pig cake. We shopped, got lots of presents for Eddie, had a lovely treat and admired the town.

I sooo want to live there.

Disclosure: all bloggers who applied for the challenge, got £50 for the trip expenses. Thank you, Moneysupermarket, for an enjoyable trip!

If you fancy reading where my blogging friends went for their road trip, please visit their lovely blogs:
Madhouse Family Reviews
Cakes Photos Life
Given to Distracting Others
and more to follow


  1. Happy Birthday Eddie!
    Some lovely photos, looks like you all had a fantastic time. I love Cornwall although I've not been for years, I feel like taking a trip there after reading this.

  2. Thank you, Jane! Eddie had a whale of a time on his birthday. We are also having a small tea party for him tomorrow, with a Peppa Pig cake.

  3. I'm loving revisiting my old childhood haunts in Cornwall through your photos ! Too funny for the Peppa Pig cake - it was Pierre's birthday on the 17th and he got a Peppa Pig cake when my parents came over !!

  4. Beautiful,thanks for the trip!! Until I started looking after Granny we went every year,love it so much we married there too. My dream is to live in Cornwall its the best ever road trip and one I will be doing for my blog.

  5. Jo, I agree Cornwall is magical. I would love to live there too, and there is a great residential centre for adults on the spectrum that we might consider in the future (once we are too old to look after him).

  6. Cheryl, did your parents bring the Peppa Pig cake with them? That's dedication! Is Peppa popular in France? My friend who lives in Israel says her girls adore Peppa.

    1. It is probably the same cake as ours. I will post the pics later.

  7. Peppa Pig must be the trend of the moment as little Js party tomorrow has that theme too! I loved reading about your trip, I guess it is a slower pace of life, especially for the cafe staff....:)

    1. Penny, lovely to see you here. Give hugs to little J from us!

  8. I love Cornwall and used to go to Penzance and the surrounding area a lot when I was a kid. I remember St Michael's Mount - great memories.

    1. Zoe, I think Cornwall is a marvellous place for both kids and adults. A pity Penzance's High Street is changing, with more shops being closed.

  9. Oh you were down last week? I hope the weather was mostly kind to you and you had a lovely time. Love Penzance. We keep talking about moving down there.

    1. We've been going to that part of Cornwall for several years, we love it. The weather wasn't too bad, though not as hot as we had here the week before our holidays.

  10. aww what a lovely time & gad you managed to find a cake in the end! Balloons are just as good, of course.