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Port Issac (again) and shopping in King Arthur’s shadow

Yesterday, we returned to Cornwall’s Port Issac, otherwise known in the civilized world as Portwenn, home to Doc Martin.   While it is true they were filming an episode of the next season, not being fanatical “fans” of the series, we made no attempt to walk the 1/2 mile to where the filming was taking place, likely due the gusty rain falling sporadically – obviously, our liking for the series only makes us “fair weather fans”.

Port Issac during the rain is still very interesting to visit, and perhaps a little more real feeling, a little less touristy.   By 5 p.m., the streets were all by deserted, and as we walked back to the carpark, it was easier to imagine living there, or what life there is like – pre-Martin Clunes.

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As the afternoon approached, the rain showers became more frequent and we took refuge in the Mote restaurant, which, along with the Golden Lion Pub, stands in as the Crab and Lobster in the television series.

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After our excellent crab toast with lobster mayo lunch, we headed up the hill and took the coastal path around to trek back to the car park.  No matter what the weather, if you visit the area, try to get some of the Coastal path on your itinerary.  Even if you’re not a big rambler, the sections that are flat and paved will surely bring you closer in spirit to the ocean that breathes life to the area…and who knows, you may make a friend along the way….this Grey Gull shot was taken from about 4 feet away, not with a telephoto.  Apparently he didn’t want to be out busy in the weather either.

 

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Today, after having a “lie in” kind of morning – (I didn’t get up till 0930hrs, which I haven’t done without being in a hospital for lo this many years, we decided to go tourist shopping where King Arthur was first buried…supposedly,…..maybe.

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Glastonbury Tor is a prominent giant “thumb” of earth rising from the surrounding plain.  The ruins of St. Michael’s church command the top, with only the entry tower still standing.    The Tor seems to have been called Ynys yr Afalon (meaning “The Isle of Avalon”), and identified with King Arthur since the alleged discovery of his and Queen Guinevere’s neatly labeled coffins in 1191, recounted by Gerald of Wales. Subsequently dug up, the coffins were lost….again, supposedly.   Who can tell what really did or did not happen that long ago without cross-verifiable sources?

Whatever the case, the Tor, (Tor simply means, “hill” or “rocky peak”), has had excavations that have revealed some Neolithic flint tools and Roman artifacts, indicating use since ancient times. The terracing on the side of the hill, if man-made, may also date from the Neolithic era.   There is still a lot, or even most of what is seemingly “known” that really may not be.

Right smack dab to the east, the Village of Street, is Clark’s Village – which is a village in name only, since there are no residents, but an outlet shopping mall, more tastefully done that the Tanger Outlets Malls so familiar in the States.   However tastefully ordered, it still cannot escape the feel of Uncle Scrooge’s money bin.   We did some shopping (I walked around mostly while my friends shopped), but I did score a bag of Lindt and Lindor truffles in a number of flavors for 1/2 of what they cost in the U.S…..as they say in Cornwall, ” a right proper job!”

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