Friday, November 14, 2008


Caitlin's going to put pictures up tomorrow, but I'm going to beat her to the punch a little on this one, heh.

Tintagel is cool. What is not cool is trying to figure out where the damned castle actually IS.

We parked. We walked in the general direction indicated by the sign. And walked. And walked.

It was rainy and extremely foggy. Great for atmosphere ("ooh, the land of the Celts and maaaagick,") but not so great when you're trying to find your way around, while simultaneously hoping the turn you're about to make isn't going to take you right off the edge of a cliff and down to the rocks below. Because, seriously? I wouldn't even have seen it until I was five feet out into thin air, ala Wyle E Coyote.

Anyway. We saw a sign for the Castle View, and a handicapped symbol, so figured we'd head that way, and ended up at the Castle Hotel. Now, there would indeed have been a lovely view from there, had we been able to see it, but we weren't. And it clearly was not the way to the castle anyway. So we decided to go inside and ask the clerk, because at that point we'd been wandering around in the fog for a good half hour (and hadn't gone back in time or anything once, what a gyp) and our time was limited.

The desk clerk, a very sweet-looking lady with a Norswedstrianfinerlandnordicmark accent, warned (when--this is important--we asked how to get to the castle) us that the path was steep and it's very misty, but we should go down the path marked "Coast Walk."

Um, no. The "Coast Walk" was almost as bad as those one-lane hedged roads we ended up wandering on Tuesday; practically a 90% angle, and wet, and muddy. But we braved it, and were fairly cheerful, even, until my right foot slipped and I FELL ON MY ASS IN THE MUD. SMELLY MUD.

I was not happy. And poor Caitlin thought for a minute I was dead or something, apparently, and envisioned herself trying to figure out how to get home from THE END OF THE WORLD.

But of course I was not dead, only mightily pissed off, and getting more pissed by the minute when we realized that our friendly hotel desk clerk either A) Had a sick sense of humor; B) Hated either all Americans, or just us; or C) was confused, when we asked--in Tintagel--where the castle was, and thought we meant this other ruin on the other side of the hill. Taking that coast path would have eventually gotten us to Tintagel Castle, after wandering over cliffs and bushes for a few miles. But seriously, when someone asks you--in Tintagel, where everything is named after King Arthur or Merlin, and you work in a hotel called "The Castle", and you have a big sign advertising the beautiful views of the castle--by which they mean Tintagel--all over your workplace, how they can get to the castle...well, you'd think directing them to Tintagel Castle would be kind of the first thing you'd think to do, right?

No. We made our angry and overheated way back up the hill--did I mention how incredibly fucking steep it was?--and back into town, ready to give up and go get a beer or something, when we finally saw a sign for the castle, previously hidden by mist.

And that was a fuck of a steep walk too, but we made it. And Caitlin has pictures--it's freaking gorgeous, that place--but here's a fuzzy one of me, complete with rain-curled hair and odd expression. I don't think it really looks like me--and jeez, the size and expanse of that forehead!--but it will do (and hey, it may not look like me, but at least I do look thin, and not like I have ten chins or something).


BernardL said...

Looks like beautiful surroundings.

Anonymous said...

I can't see the pics but I am sooo envious. Maybe someday.

Your tale reminds me of the time my son and I set off to find the ghost town of Silver, Tx. We never really found it but what a motorcycle adventure it was.

Remember, it's the journey that counts. -V95

Charles Gramlich said...

I love a good fog walk, but it can be trecherous. GLad you finally found the place.

Seeley deBorn said...

Friggin blogger...

As I tried to post before.

I would trade flat, snowy, prairie wasteland for a slip in smelly mud if it meant I was near a castle and the ocean on a misty day.

Glad you had, um, fun. :|

writtenwyrdd said...

Your clerk experience sounds like many I had in Paris in Winter 02.

I want to see that spot myself, now.

laughingwolf said...

damn, i've seen pics of the area, hate to walk off into the unknown [air] :(

glad you finally made it, stinky ass and all ;) lol

pacatrue said...

Well, at least death in a fog on a moor is a classic way to go. We could have made up some wonderful stories about you and the faerie realm.

cindy said...

i love the foto! i'll be in england in about a month or so. not looking forward to bundling up. it's still so hot here! but looking forward to london shopping. =D

Lynne Connolly said...

You went to Tintagel in November? Did nobody tell you? So I take it you didn't see Merlin's Cave, although Merlin's Car Park is at the foot of the cliff.
Awesome place. I even started a book there (The Chemistry of Evil), but nothing is Arthurian, and they've never discovered any links (except in aforesaid book, lol). Still twelfth century is pretty good, and if you go further up, there's the ruins of an old friary, too. Loved Tintagel, but only been there in July.
Can you imagine what it was like to be a friar in that place? Pretty, but omg, cliff?