Arriving a week ago in the north Cornwall coastal area of Bude, we settled our first evening at the Beach House. With our room overlooking Widemouth Bay and pasture lands in the opposite direction, we couldn't have asked for a better setting. Popular for surfing, the chilly waters require a wet suit year round. Enjoying dinner at the hotel, we were once again surprised by the choices and the quality of the meals we selected. Alan had baked whole sea bass in a coconut cream sauce with coriander and Thia spices. I indulged in Middle Eastern spiced filet of sea bream with candied abergine and coriander pesto. Boring English food?, I think not!! The next day, following a full English breakfast, we headed south along the coast.
Having read about the dirth of parking in Port Isaac, we parked in a lot a half mile up from town. The steep climb down provided great views of this picturesque fishing village. Starting in the 1500's with pilchard, and continuing to the present day with crab, lobster and a variety of fish, fishing has continued to be important to the area. Tourism has also become a big income source, as we witnessed during our visit. Tourists blocked narrow roadways for unloading riders or inappropriately snapped photos from the middle of the road or harbor without regard for the daily routine they were disrupting. Most restaurants were full to capacity, so we purchased picked crab on the shell from the waterfront fish market, and sat on a concrete wall overlooking the sea wall. (Best seats in town.) Crab was followed by a scoop of creamy, rich Cornwall rum raisin ice cream. Later, we found cream tea, a scone (gluten free),topped with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and served with a pot of tea. Film production has also been popular here. Many visitors, myself included, tried to identify various locations from the popular British series, Doc Martin.
Having explored every street in Port Isaac, we moved further south to Newquay (pronounced new-key.) Another fishing and tourism town, this seaside resort is also popular with surfers. It's considered the surfing capital in the UK; surfing lessons, surfboard and wetsuit rentals are widely available. There are a variety of family oriented amusement venues, such as arcades, mini golf and a zoo in town. With a winter population around 22,000, the summer population swells to over 100,000, as Englanders travel to the coast. After an overnight stay in town, we drove south to St. Ives.