quarta-feira, 29 de julho de 2009

dia 27

Day 27
“This days I mainly talk to plants and dogs”

Traveling alone can be serious. Anything that happens is about to you to clear it up. If you break a leg it’s your leg anyway. So I made some self portraits to remember me when I was traveling.

At that point I was at ChiCarne, the B&B from Joyce. This morning I brought my stuff to the YMCA where I am going to stay tonight. It was a cheaper option anyway.
My first trip of the day was going to the Marry Maidens, a stone circle not far from Lamorne. I had seen two menhirs around it and I though they could be in line. I had to see it. I buy a day ticket, so I could explore more the coast after that.
There is always some emotion when I enter a stone circle. They are very beautiful and mysterious. Merry Maidens has 19 stones in circle and two other forming a kind of entrance.

merry maidens stone circle
They stand about 19 steps (of mine) from the central circle. Most of the stone circles have other circle outside, or part of it. That was the case. I’ve been looking for other stones, but I couldn’t find any more. I heard that two of the blocks were damaged and put back again, but the whole aspect of it was pretty good (ok, they are around 4000 years old).
So I decided to walk to the two other single menhirs near by. It was impossible to say from the site if they were aligned or not. Apparently they could, but the road and several fences made impossible to observe.

In the way I could find this solitary stone apparently showing the path to the stone circle. it had both sides carved in crosses, much in the celtic way, to which tradiction I suppose it belongs.
The two menhirs stand quite close to each other although there’s a fence between them. They are known as "The Pipers".
There are a strange folk tale about them. The Maidens were on the way to the sunday mass, when they found the pipers which started to play. The maidens started to dance then, and so a flash came out of the skies and turn all of them to stones. It is a very christian-like tale as you can guess, and surely was introduced in christian times.
Other folk tale would say that two chiefs fought there and both were killed in the battle field, so were buried and the stones placed upon them. There were no traces of it when one of the Menhir was parcially excavated.

the first piper

the other piper, just across the fence

Both of the menhirs are bent and are around 3,5 to 4,0 meters high. One of them had some stones around and in a particular one you could align both menhirs. But that was a very casual and small line, conscious indeed, but not big deal, if we think that the biggest is said to cross the whole island. I still was wondering if the menhirs were in line with the Merry Maidens when I realize there were another menhir in a neighbor field, and that simply dismantled my theory, because although it was pointing to the stone circle,it was obvious that had no connection with the other two menhirs.

the third menhir

And quite close to it, there were a tomb really close to the road. The whole area was spotted with burial graves, menhirs and stone circles, and although they seen to be very close and related to each other, none of them would be clearly in line.

After that I decided take the bus and strolled down the coast, and had the chance to see lots of those tin mines structures, and stone structures too. Some of them were impossible to date, because some modern farmers use the same kind of granite to mark their fields, and build walls. Granite is the main stone from the whole west Cornwall.

I was still in doubt where to go, but decided to drop in Zennor, a small village close to the ocean. Most of these fishermen villages has stories about giants and other supernatural characters. Zennor has legends about giants that live in the mountains, mermaids that live in the rocky coast and witches that lived in town, and a particular one was married with one of its inhabitants. Matter of fact the mermaid were imortalized in one of the church benches, as it was said it had a terrific voice. Despite the ironies of the folklore the bench is there for all to see. But I wasn’t after the mermaid, and I took the road to the mountains to see the famous Zennor Quoit, an ancient tomb specially well preserved, as it was said. The road was quite clear in the beginning but after a while I got with no direction. After choosing two of the three paths, with no results, I went back to the right one. I had no much time, because the bus takes two hours to pass, so I should make it in this two hours, or wait another two. Actually I wasn’t much worried about that, but I had it in mind. Worse of the cases there would be plenty of time for a good food in town.
There were a sign leading to Zennor Quoit and mountain, but the path wasn’t very clear, as it would open in several little paths, thanks to the cows that apparently been around there. So I had to choose one – or several- paths and go through it.

Needless to say, I got totally misled and had no option but go ahead. As the mountain were getting hilly, the path were muddy more and more, so I had to avoid the wet areas. The vegetation were getting more and more dense, and at some points I couldn’t see where I was stepping. Besides of it some of the plants had thorns, so I had to be very careful. It was too late to go back, I had to take that path uphill and most of the times make the proper path or take advantage of the stones.

Traveling alone can be serious. Anything that happens is about to you to clear it up. If you break a leg it’s your leg anyway.

That was my feeling getting to the top of the hill, amongst the thorns, climbing the stones with extreme care. Nothing could happen to me. When I finally get to the top, the most beautiful view were offered to me: I could see both sides of the mountain, the city down there, and the sea.

panoramic view at Zennor

The stones were some of the most amazing stone formations I ever seem, and could only compare to Sete Cidades, or something similar. Lots of them were on the top of each other in a very perfect way. At thins point it got impossible to say if and what were made by the man’s hand and what were not. The area looked pretty much as a rocky play ground, with each of those stones defying gravity.
Zennor mount top

Some of the cuttings were very sharp and straight, and some were like melted or soft. Some were like menhirs placed caressly amongst others. Zennor Quoit, was far beyond that point, and I could not reach it, simply because I could not recognize it. I will look for some photos of it.
At this time I wasn’t wondering where the ley lines would led, but where the ley lines had lead me.

going downhill
Going downhill were pretty easy, because from the top I could see the paths and could choose the most beaten tracks. It was a great moment to be in that place. After that I still had time to catch the bus and lead to St. Ives, which is a very fancy seaside little town.
St. Ives

I would dare to say it is even more beautiful than Penzance. St. Ives has a vibrant downtown, good food, art, books, culture, and an amazing little beach. That’s more you can ask, but I heard there’s a Tate gallery there, but I haven’t been to it.
seagull in St. Ives

Back to Penzance I still tried to find the original fortress where the ancient pre historical bronze age men lived, but could not find it. Enough for a day, it is time to rest, tomorrow I am going to Bath, where I booked for some days.

terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2009

dia 26

Day 26
Sunday. The first good news is that i can stay in the B&B for one more night, and the first bad news is that is raining. It’s not the kind of brazilian rain, but a thin and cold rain that never seems to end. I just ignore it and go after the st. michael’s mount.

arriving at rainy St. Michael

The mount stand in an island at the Marazion bay, very close to the land. When the tide is low is possible to get there by a stone pathway. When I get there, the tide was high, and it was only possible to reach the island in a boat. The island was once a pre historical pilgrimage site, and later a medieval monastery took place, for lately an actual residence before it turned into a touristic spot. The mount been visited by the Queen Victoria but the family unfortunately wasn't there. There is a tradiction for the maidens and servants in the castle, and even the sailors have its own feature.
Its position makes it very strategic for the defence of the whole penzance bay, and the holder of the castle must have been very influent in the whole area.

the view from the top of the castle

Actually there’s no much to remember the ancient place I was interested but a few rocks and the feeling that maybe some secrets are about to keep hidden forever. For instance the connection with its french correlate, the alleged alignment, the ancient activities around. All of those, like the stone circles, or the megalithic sites keeps no easy answer to the eyes.

ancient stones?

After an hour or so, for my surprise the tide came down so people could come walking through the path, and to witness the process was really beautiful. I went back to the continent walking through the rocky steps until the beach, and the rest of the day was rainy and very difficult to be outside.
coming back from the mount, on the low tide
low tide at marazion's bay

I still want to visit some spots in Cornwall and as I could arrange a place in YMCA hostel, I can stay longer and in the next days I will to Bristol. It is quite difficult to move from town to town in England during the summer if you don’t have it all very planned, which evidently is not my case. But I guess I am on the right track.

and Mont Saint Michel in France:

The rain baptized the light and that’s rainbow.

Day 25

Day 25
Penzance, Madron, Land’s End
The breakfast at Queen’s hotel was something. I don’t imagine what the english people made to deserve such a mess: mushrooms with baked beans and scrambled eggs. Covered with ketchup, of course. The dining room was just in front to St Michael’s, so I could enjoy my meal in front of that beauty. First action after the breakfast was look for a new place to stay, and I did not had to walk much: just around I found a very pleasant B&B that received me well, but cannot hold me for tomorrow. The city is really crowded, and tomorrow I will have to look after a new place.
So I went to explore the city, which was much more vivid than the night before, and went to get information about the St Michael’s. what’s is the best time to visit the mount? Not today. Because of the tide? No, because they close on Saturdays. I could not expect such answer. So I got some information about some pre historical sites I was interested, and realized they had no bus to get there, and the only way was to walk. So I got the but to Madron, which is really close to Penzance, and start to walk. It was tough in the beginning with no idea if I was in the right path, but after a while I realized it was alright, and things could be not as far as I imagined at first glance. Very soon I got to the first place I was looking for, an old celtic well and a church just a few meters ago. I got a bit emotional when I get to it. The celtics had such a link to the nature that it is possible to notice even so many years after. The well had a tree with a lot of hanging wishes on it, from modern times, which shows that it still has its followers nowadays.

celtic wishing well

celtic church
The church although indicates no much ornaments, still had some walls. I got very happy to find the nature of England, which looks always confined between the crop fields.
Time to get the road again, I went after Lanyon Quoit, an old dolmen which stands alone in the field. I was a bit worried before getting there, because of the distance, but when I got over a fence to look around, it was there, less than 100 meters.

It was an amazing surprise, because it was about to rain, and find shelter under a dolmen would be an extraordinary experience. I did not need it anyway, and I could examine it with all my time.

Lanyon Quoit

Lanyon Quoit is very simple and amazing construction. All of its parts faces distinct angles, making of it a very dinamic structure. The stone on the top looks in a very good position. If these people which constructed the dolmen did not had any idea of aesthetics, at least they had achieved its objective. The structure stands there for dozens of hundreds of years, which is quite impressive. We can’t figure out what it was meant for, but it would be no wonder it it could relate to some astronomical position, for the position of its parts and the other stones around it too. Very close to it there were a little water pond, and all around it stones in specific places could be part of a more structured plan.
After leaving the Quoit, I find the way to the very mysterious Mên-An-Tol. This structure is much more strange than the Quoit for our eyes. It is a three part structure which makes pretty much the design of an IOI. Two rocks stand like menirs and the one in the middle is a graciously shaped stone with a hole in the middle of it. The “why” and “how” still remains a mystery, but the whole figure functions as a little alignment, which bring me some relief...


After that I still had the chance to get to the remains of an old tin mine around, which looked a lot as an old medieval structure but it was actually from the XIX th century. The work conditions of those people should be really bad, when you look at it. there are dozens of these kind os structure around here, and by the look of them, they run out of the business a long time ago...

tin mine

Back in town I get a bus to Land’s End, the legendary coast of Cornwall. When I get there, I asked an old man to confirm if I was in the right place and he said, “yes, that’s the end of England”.

land's end

the first and last house
In the way back I still could see a circle of stones and two menirs not very far, in line. That was the first Ley I could see with my eyes.
Looking at the skies all day long I could see lines all over, from some planes. I always get suspicious about those lines in the sky...

Penzance mean pen+sans, in old cornish, holy head, or holy end.
The flag is a white cross over a black background

Day 24

I will do a kind of a diary,so I can keep my ideas on the tracks, I will try to keep it regular... :)

Day 24
London Penzance

Penzance is close to the area known as “land’s end”, located at the west border of Cornwall, and therefore it is the extreme of the Great Britain island. I choose Penzance for starting my trip for some reasons, the first for being where the mount st. michael is located. The mount st. michael is a very singular construction, being located in an island, and it is only reachable when the tide is low. When the tide is high, it is necessary to get a boat to get there, which is the same that happens with its famous brother, mount san michel in France. The names and the locations of these two are not only by choice, they were deliberately built like that. But I won’t get into the whole thing right now. The mont St. Michael is also where starts the most striking ley line of England, and according to some, it crosses the whole island. True or not, I had to come.

st. Michael's ley line
Other reason that took me here was the location of the city, really close to the end of the island. The end – as I had realized before- is a good way to start walking. Once you are in the end, you just have to come back.or is it just my wishful thinking?
Fact is, I left Lynn’s house in the morning and went to Vitoria coach station, and get a ticket to Penzance. I had arranged with the YMCA hostel to get a room there, but they could not make a reservation withou a credit card, and I should be there before 22:00, because they close the hostel at night (actually, they don’t do it, but the staff leaves). My couch would get in Penzance around that time, so i would have to get very quickly there.
After a while traveling, rain congested roads, it got clear to me that we would get there in time. The trip was beautiful, but I did not took photos, but I should. We went via Plymouth, Bodmin, Wadebridge, Padstow, Newquay, Camborne, St. Erth, until get to Penzance. In the end I was the only one in the bus (apart of the driver), and I realized I would not get in time to the hostel. So I just had to look after a hotel around 23:00 in the night. It was tough, but after around an hour I just could find the place where I am now for the night, a very beautiful hotel by the sea. Tomorrow I may find another cheaper place, but for the first night, I am quite well.