SW Coastal Road Trip Day 3 – Brixham, Totness, Dartmoor & St Ives

Another early wake up on Day 3 for a full day of action and exploring with Tasmin as our tour guide showing us around Brixham, Berry Head, Totnes and Dartmoor before we headed across to St Ives!

Our first stop was Berry Head just around the corner from Torquay and Brixham. It was a beautiful spot for a walk and to enjoy the sea views off the cliffs! Berry head is a nature reserve and coastal headland which houses an old quarry, a lighthouse and a cute little cafe for anyone wanting a hot drink and a cake whilst they take in the views of the ocean! It was a gorgeous spot and I’m glad we went on such a hot day! Its also one of only 7 Unesco Geoparks in the UK, 140 only in the world, how fascinating is that? It certainly didn’t disappoint.

Once we had finished in Berry Head it was off to Brixham. A bustling and very colourful seaside town on the coast of Devon. The houses were all beautiful colours and there were endless families crabbing in the harbour! I hadn’t been crabbing since I was a kid so this was so great to see which they had managed to catch with their lines and bits of bacon on the end. Of course fish and chips was in order. Tas took us to this amazing fish and chips shop called Rio’s Fish & Chips restaurant and takeaway. We decided on a takeaway and went and sat at Brixham Breakwater, a small flat stoned beach just the other side of the harbour!

The food was amazing and we spent the next half a hour watching and learning how to skim stones. Tas and Brad were really good but I just got into the habit of just throwing them into the water and giving up. But I tried and thats what counts!

Next up on our travels was the cute town of Totnes. With a beautiful river on low tide as we arrived we walked up the main high street which is a slight hill to enjoy all the small independent shops and to watch them make fudge in the window at Roly’s Fudge Pantry. A place we noticed is EVERYWHERE. Exeter, Lincoln, Brixham, Bournemouth, you name it chances are they have a shop there. We ventured up a small alleyway underneath the archway that hung over the main high street to find a quaint church of Totnes with low hanging trees all down the pathway, It was really beautiful. Followed by a browse in a book shop, mine and Tas’ favourite place! We then headed back down the hill for the next leg our journey!

Tas wanted to take us to Princetown in the Dartmoor National park and it was without a doubt the most stunning part of the trip when it came to driving routes! There were wild horses everywhere and sheep all over the hills and in the road that you had to slow down and swerve just so you didn’t hit them! One sheep did decide to run out in front of the car but thanks to Brads quick reactions he was safe and so were we! Honestly the views were like something from a movie, I’d never expected views quite like those here in the UK but how mistaken I was. It was breathtaking.

We arrived in the small village of Princetown and decided we wanted to have a look at Dartmoor prison. The prison is a category C mens prison with huge granite walls and a very gothic looking demeanour. We made it to the outside gate before realising we probably shouldn’t snoop any further but it was so cool as I’d never been so close to a prison before and I have a real fascination with prisons (dark tourism and all that). After a full day of exploring it was getting late and we still had an hour and a half drive to St Ives from where we were we decided to have a quick tea at The Old Police Station cafe in Princetown before we all went our separate ways.

We couldn’t have had a better day with Tas as our tour guide showing us places we had never even thought to go too! Plus it was so so wonderful to spend time with her, especially as when we left Dartmoor for St Ives she had an hours drive home for herself she brought us all this way. I’ll always be grateful for this time spent.

Next up was St Ives! Once we jumped in the car again we were off to our Hobbit Home! Yes you read that right, Brad and I were staying in a coastal Hobbit Home! It was so cool. The driveway once we arrived was small, narrow and windy and if anything a little bit dangerous. Once we arrived we grabbed our wheelbarrows, popped our luggage in the barrows and trekked our way across the field to our hobbit home.

We had our own hammock outside and a log fire too for us to prepare which accompanied an honestly box at the entrance where we could pick up a bag of wood. £5 down later and cracking fire we absolute could not complain. That same evening we used the communal kitchen and living space to cook up an easy meal of tortellini. The shared kitchen was amazing, wonderfully decorated and literally had everything you could ever need. The only things we brought was our food! Really resourceful. There was also perfectly clean and functioning toilets and showers but if you didn’t want to do the trek from your hobbit home or cabin up to the communal areas you had the option of a compost toilet. Personally, I chose the communal area toilets because the smell of the compost one nearly knocked me clean out. That and there was no good lighting in them either so if you fell over, oops.

The Hobbit Homes themselves were super cosy. There was a double bed and inside was a hamper with blankets inside if we needed them for around the fire. There were fake candles which were cute and fairy lights all around the cabin which gave it such a homely feel and there was plenty of room for our bags and belongings. You really are one with nature though as just as we went to sleep something started scratching at the walls of the home and naturally, not literally, I shit myself.

It was a great night and just as the sun was setting we ventured up to Knills monument which was only a 10 minute walk from where we were staying and got the most beautiful 360 view of the St Ives coastline, St Ives itself and we watched the blood moon come over the hills. It was definitely one of the most relaxing nights on the trip ready for another day of exploring the next day!

St Ives town and Newquay are up next!

Exploring Paris, A walking tour of our own – Day 1

So my wonderful man brought me to Paris on the Eurostar for my birthday!

What a hero. This was just before everything got shut down due to Covid-19. So we were lucky we managed to get our trip in when we did. We stayed in London the night before at Kings Cross before getting out early Eurostar train at 7:55am on Friday morning! Once we arrived we were on track and en route arriving at Gard Du Nord in France, Paris!

So we headed to our Ibis in the commercial sector, La Defense and we walked, EVERYWHERE. We walked to the tube station from the Eurostar and got an all day ticket for €7 which was really handy as it got us everywhere all day and considering we were there for 3 days (Should’ve been 4 but we will get to that!) it was actually cheaper to buy these day tickets than it was to buy a travel pass. We managed half the journey with our bags and decided to get off and get an Uber the rest of the way so we could plan our journeys in the hotel! The hotel was nice and the room was perfect for the two of us with a view of the River Seine out of the window and we could just see the top of the Eiffel Tower! So we dumped out bags and off we went exploring with City Mapper, our trusty travel app, in tow.

La Defense was the commercial sector so there were HUGE sky scrapers and buildings everywhere. We were walking on pathway raised above the read and it was very modernised and windy. It was Impressive to say the least and every day we were graced with beautiful weather and before the tube station to get to the centre a huge pond/body of water which was lovely and out of place due to the location! A really nice touch. The tubes were easy to maintain, just like London, and so we didn’t have many issues!

Although we did run into one issue. We arrived at the tube station Concorde and suddenly the doors opened and security piled in shouting what I can only image was “end of the line, get off the train”. Confused we asked on the platform what was going on as we had 3 more stops and there had been an accident up ahead. Hopefully it wasn’t serious, but this abrupt stop did lead us to leave the tube station earlier than anticipated. And boy were we glad we did! We found ourselves at Place De La Concorde.

A huge roundabout, cobbled roads, beautiful statues and fountains in the middle and the Palace itself at the end! The pair of us would have had absolutely no idea about this stop had we not gotten off! And it also warranted walk through the Jardin Des Tuileries which lead to the Musee Du Louvre. The Jardin Des Tuileries is in the centre of Paris and free to enter with 2 fountains and endless sculptures and statues throughout the park. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful walk through the gardens! We sat down by one of the fountains and relaxed for a little before moving on to the Musee Du Louvre!

Musee Du Lourve was as beautiful as all the pictures I had seen before, we walked through the archway from the park and over towards the museum itself. Due to Covid-19 the Museum was only open to ticket holders and unfortunately we didn’t have €60 each to spare, but it was another thing off the list just to see the beautiful architecture that is the Louvre itself and the beautiful building surrounding it. Brad was incredibly impressed and naturally pictures of us trying to pinch the top of the Louvre were a given. As we walked through the building surrounding the Louvre we headed out of one of the exits and over a Bridge which I can only assume used to be the Love Lock bridge! Much to our dismay of course the locks had all be removed as the bridge was way to heavy, but it was lovely to experience none the less. A few locks still remained on lamps.

Once over the bridge and walking beside the Seine we found the Statue Equestre Du Marechal Foch standing proudly in the middle of a bridge over the Seine, a militant memorial of the 19th century. After heading through some more beautifully aesthetically pleasing areas, we made it to the Latin Quarter.

The Latin Quarter is beside Notre-dame Cathedral and this was definitely an interesting sight as of course it was on fire not all that long ago. Works are well and truly underway and you cannot enter the area, only look by from the main road which is exactly what we did! I hope to go back once the Cathedral is repaired so I can get a proper good look at one of the most beautiful Cathedrals known.

Over the bridge at in the Latin Quarter we found a live band raising money for charity by the Fontaine Saint-Michel, A monumental fountain in Paris showing St Michel slaying a dragon! It was beautiful and very impressive. And in the perfect spot to have a beer! So we stopped in this area and sat down at Le Depart for a beer and some pretzels (a nice touch!). Although it cost a bomb, and we later realised that we had eaten into a tourist trap. Literally down the road to our left were pubs of the same caliber but selling beers for cheaper. But we didn’t mind, we knew for next time and enjoyed our beverage stop.

At the very top of the Latin Quarter was the beautiful building this is the Pantheon. It was a big old hill to climb to get to this beautiful building but totally worth it, the sun was setting and there was even a daffodil area going on in the square area outside the building so people could buy fresh daffodils and daffodil bulbs! It was getting late and on our way up to the Pantheon (which we wish we could’ve gone inside but Covid-19 had closed its doors which is wise!) we passed 2 pubs and tried to get in but they were SO Busy as they were buy a college, so we headed back down the hill for dinner!

Dinner was at Jardin Notre-Dame and the food was absolutely glorious. Our server was absolutely mental but she made the experience. I had Duck Confit whilst Brad has Shnitzel and we shared some wine whilst we looked out the window at Notre-dame all lit up! It was a cute little dinner spot and once we were done we headed literally over the road to Polly Maggoo for drinks, a rough and ready place for pints. We sat outside under the heaters and taked for hours.

I am so grateful for my man and this trip, we headed back to the hotel happily sloshed, I was baffled about how some of the trains were double deckers, and we were ready for day 2!