Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 11 Drake's Trail (Tuesday Jun. 4)

Tuesday morning, as we creaked downstairs, we decided that scheduling the easier bike ride for the second day had much to recommend it.  In the spirit of moderation, we persuaded Dave (much against his inclination) to serve us a more modest breakfast, strolled down to the bike shop to confirm to Martin that we wanted to keep the bikes for a second day, and then climbed stiffly back aboard and set off in the other direction. 

The cycle route took us down along the river and past through a few back streets, and we were swiftly able to pick up Drake's Trail, a lovely, mostly traffic free cycle route that goes from Tavistock to Plymouth on the coast. 
Drake's Trail
Gem Bridge on Drake's Trail
We had planned a rather shorter ride, however, and turned off the trail to find Buckland Abbey.  Buckland Abbey was first- as you'd guess from the name- a religious community and later the home of Sir Francis Drake of oceangoing fame. 
Buckland Abbey

The gardens and grounds of the Abbey were magnificent.
One of the most impressive structures was the Great Barn- a truly vast space. 
The roof is held up by massive beams, and there are no supports on the interior- the whole thing is about 3 stories high, and completely open inside.

In the house, some rooms were furnished in a style that Drake would have recognized, while others were devoted to museum exhibits, including the famous drum, said to sound by itself when Britain is in danger.  (It wasn't making any noise when we saw it- presumably it recognized that we were no threat.)  In the kitchens, they had cookies in costume preparing period meals- it smelled wonderful!
We had lunch at the pleasant café at the Abbey, and then cycled back in good time to return our bicycles, pick up our backpacks, and take a bus to Plymouth.   Plymouth had- as you would expect- a lovely waterfront and fine harbor. 
There is a magnificent statue to honor Drake there.  And I obtained some restorative tea and had a snack while JT wandered off.  (Lunch had been tasty but not large.)
After satisfying our curiosity about Plymouth, we boarded a train headed south into Cornwall, and the penultimate phase of our trip.  We got off in Truro, and ate dinner at the hotel (on the grounds we were too hungry to look further).  The hotel was the County Arms, and despite its name was quite modern and well-appointed, including free Wi-Fi, which we hadn't had since Exeter.

After dinner, we took a quick stroll around town to get our bearings.  The sidewalks, as we had come to expect in smaller cities, were tidily rolled up for the night, but the streets were pleasant, and we returned to the hotel more than ready to spend some time being horizontal. 
rfholly's Day 11 album on Photobucket

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