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Did I mention I went to Cornwall a month ago? I did. I've been too busy ever since to look through the photos from the trip, or tell you about the meals we ate. Instead, let me tell you about a bout of road sign tourism we undertook.

Dusk was falling on an overcast, windy day when we trundled into the coastal town of St. Mawes, in search of the Tresanton Hotel, recommended by our B&B owner as offering cream teas "to die for". We were nearly there, when, at a cross-street, I spied this road sign:

A 33% grade! That's exceedingly steep. I'd never knowingly seen signs for a road suitable for driving so steep. But we kept going, nearly at the hotel.

Perched a little ways out of the center of town on a slope, the older lower sections supported a roof terrace - useful in more clement weather - leading to the main, grandest portion of the building. Comfortable and pleasant, we settled in to a comfortable room with sofas and armchairs by a roaring fire. The scones were phenomenal - light, fluffy, warm - with excellent fruity strawberry jam and enough clotted cream to go around once we'd ordered seconds. The pound cake wasn't terribly exciting, and we collectively failed to finish it. I would recommend the scones and tea highly, however. Warmed by the fire, the tea, and scones, we headed back out into the bluster - and in search of that road sign I'd seen.

Three or four streets down, we found the sign again at the bottom of Church Hill. It was now full night, but, nevertheless, most of us still began the trek up the hill out of curiousity. The hill rose rapidly, past houses, up to St. Mawes church (sibling to the one we'd seen earlier that day at St. Just-in-Roseland), and then grew steeper still. The views down to the harbor grew apace. Breakers crashed the shoreline, and in the distance, a lighthouse swept the headland. Further into the distance, the fixed lights of the edges of Falmouth mistakenly led us to lament the fixed oil tankers out there.

It was still overcast, and the wind blew steadily, but the view grew and grew by the step. The trees up there - still among houses! - were wind-wrought and spare. And then we went back down again to see the beach and the white caps washing across it.

P.S. printperson's drawing of the wreckage of tea at the Hotel Tresanton is here.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
Cornwall is what happens when you put an immovable object (a large lump of granite) in front of an irresistible force (the Atlantic ocean). It has a very high fractal dimension.
Dec. 11th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
It has a very high fractal dimension.
I'd be very surprised if it(s coastline's fractal dimension)'s more than 2. Probably closer to 1.5 at a guess - which is still quite high for something that's supposed to be a line, of course.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 11th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
How else would they lure people up this particular mountain? There are so many of them in the world.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 12th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the recommendation! We've now been to Cornwall twice and would happily go back.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )