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    Saturday, December 27, 2014

    From Milbrook to St Martin by Looe and Looe along the Cornish Coast

    Wonderful Looe, one of the most beatiful jewels of Cornwall, in England along the Cornish Way

    The path from Milbrook to St Martin by Looe runs mostly along the coast from Milbrook to St Martin by Looe and although it is certainly not the most famous section of the Cornish Path, I think it is worth the effort.

    What I like of this section is the fact that although it is quite long (around 12 miles), it is reasonably easy, flat and most important the landscape is very varied. Some more famous sections of the Cornish Way are more scenic, but they are also more tiring and less varied.  

    Milbrook is a very pretty village, just few miles away from Plymouth, in Cornwall, South West of England.

    Here the walk from Milbrook to St Martin by Looe:

    After walking through the village of Milbrook (here how to get to Milbrook) take the road to the left from the center of town (Radford Lane) and keep walking along the fields, turn left on Donkey Lane and you will finally reach the sea, appearing on the West side of the Rame Peninisula.

    The Rame Peninsula is a not very popular and busy part of the Cornish Way, but I believe it is also one of the less spoiled areas by the touristic invasion and the frenetic invasion of walkers and trekkers along the English Coast.

    From the end of Donkey Lane walk following the road along the sea (Military Road) keeping the sea at your left. Keep following the road until you will see a wonderful golden sandy beach on your left: this is Tintagel Beach. Here a military area with restrict access spoils totally your walk and forces you to a long diversion along the tarmac and busy road: you would hope that some illuminated mind would think to reduce the extension of the military area and allow the tourists to enjoy this section of the Cornish Coast!

    Where the military area finishes, the golf club starts but thankfully here the path crosses the green and makes actually this part of the walk more enjoyable.The path leads to Whitsand Bay, a small village that makes a wonderful spot for your lunch. Just few quite cottages, benches and a wonderful blue sea.

    From Whitsand Beach to Downderry the walk is quite enjoyable. Downderry doesn't have much to offer but from here starts probably the best part to the walk. First you will get to Seaton, with a beautiful and quiet beach and a nice bar to sit in the sun for a while.From Seaton is quite a climb all the way to the Monkey Sanctuary.

    The shade of blue at Looe beach is simly amazing and the bench at the top of the harbour entering at Looe makes a great stop along the Cornish Way

    The Monkey Sanctuary deserves a visit and a special mention in my blog. It is not a zoo or a safari park, at the opposite The Monkey Sanctuary in St Martin by Looe is a wonderful enviromental project that goes well further just protecting monkeys but it represent a fantastic mission in enviromental research and protection. It is absolutely worth a visit and even just reading The Monkey Sanctuary's website you will have an understanding of their wonderful work (to The Monkey Sanctuary: please know that I will delighted to further write on your projects!)

    And near the Monkey Sanctuary along the path a beautiful Celtic labyrinth is waiting the walker along its way. It is part of a private estate I had the pleasure to visit thanks to the hospitality of Caroline Petherick. Caroline is one of the most interesting and cultured person I ever met in my travels and she has created a wonderful place along the Cornish Coast! I loved to visit her Labyrinth at sunset and most of all I was impressed for the Old Coach House she built. It is a fantatsic day to spend a week, it is not just eco-living, it is a unique feature of architrecture and design and in front of a unique and fantatstic view: what an amazing place!

    The Labyrinth along the Cornish Way at St Martin by Looe

    From the Monkey Sanctuary and the Celtic Layrinth the walk continues for another 4 miles toward Looe.

    Looe is a picturesque Cornish village.  It has a beautiful estuary at the mouth of the river Looe. Looe has also a train station (just walk along the river and you will easily find it) and could be a nice starting point to walk the Cornish way if you want to skip the first section Plymouth - Milbrook - Looe.

    Spend at least half a day in Looe. Apart a beautiful beach and a nice walk along the river, Looe offers a beautiful and old town center with narrow lanes populated in these days by many (probably too many) touristic shops.

    The best way would be to arrive in Looe in the evening at the end of your walk from Milbrook, this will give you sufficient time to rest and enjoy the picturesque town. In the morning you can walk to Polperro for the next section of the Cornish Way.

    This post has been made possible thanks to the generous hospitality and friendship of Caroline Petherick of St Martin by Looe, thank you very much Caroline.


    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Estancia Cristina - A wonderful day trip in Patagonia - Viedma and Uppsala Glaciers

    The Estancia Cristina surrounded by the lonely peaks of Patagonia (a day trip from El Calafate)

    From my travel diary:

    The Estancia Cristina is located in a secluded corner of the Parque National de Los Glacieres in Patagonia Argentina. The Estancia (meaning "farm", "estate") is a large estate totally isolated from the main roads and towns. It is a day trip from El Calafate and it represents in my opinion one of the best places to enjoy the beauty and the wilderness of Patagonia without too many hassle and difficulties. People in this day travel to the Estancia as the easier access to enjoy the beauty of two of the most famous glaciers in Patagonia: the Viedma Glacier and the Uppsala Glacier.

    Despite the fact that I am against every kind of organized tour in principle, as I believe that organized tours kill the spirit of travel and adventure, I didn't have much choice but to enroll from this well organized tour from El Calafate to see the Viedma Glacier and the Uppsala Glacier.

    The organized tour starts early in the morning from El Calafate. After two hours travelling by bus along the light blue water of the Lake Argentino you get to Punta Bandera. From there via a wonderful boat trip through fantastic icebergs (what a great experience is this!) and a short ride on 4x4 you will get to the Estancia Cristina.

    I read about Estancia Cristina before to travel there and I was very impressed by its history. I was charmed by the loneliness of the place. I was envious of the courage of a British man, Joseph Percival Master who came here to settle his business in 1914, importing Shetland sheep  and trading wool back to the Old Continent, fighting against odds, loneliness and the wild nature. Joseph Percival Master built the Estancia Cristina practically in the middle of nowhere buying cheaply a huge estate wild, isolated and apparently without much potentiality. He turned it in a business in few year. 

    He couldn't have done all this by himself and - as they say - next to a great man is always a great woman (sometimes the other way round may be also true!). Percival's wife was a Scottish woman, so I find quite natural for her to have the skills to run so well the house and the estate, but still I was impressed by her character as well.

    To live in this corner of Patagonia you need to be resourceful and you need to keep yourself busy and interested in the rainy and cold days, when the icy winter wind blows. These people were able to do so. Jessie, in particular, doing the housework and painting and writing. 

    Jessie came to the Estancia Cristina to work as Percival's servant but soon the two fell in love for one another. They realized the urgent need to make their minds busy and not just their bodies. Talking by radio to people around the world was maybe the best way to make that possible. They lived their lives fully in the Estancia and they were never defeated by the loneliness of the place, always in contact by people from all over the world via radio waves, you can easily imagine how comforting this should have been for the brave couple in the long and cold winter. 

    Despite the fact that the Estate is now just one more touristy business and you don't see any more sheep grazing in the vast land surrounding the farm (you still see the horses inside a large white fence at least), there is something yet unspoiled. It is maybe the little chapel, beautiful but modern, the only bit out of touch".

    What is great about visiting the Estancia Cristina is the fact that you can enjoy breathtaking views over two of the most amazing Glaciers in Patagonia: the Viedma Glacier and the Uppsala Glacier.

     If the Perito Moreno Glacier is the most famous glacier in Patagonia, the Viedma Glacier and the Uppsala Glacier are the two more amazing. They are amazing not just for their size but also for the unspoil panorama and the loneliness surrounding this two giants of ice. You get to see them on a 4x4 trip from the Estancia and although it may sound totally an adventurous it is the only way to get there unless you have weeks to spend, money to organize a trip and a lot of experience in this kind of thing.

    The views are so rewarding that I made a video of the Estancia and
    the Viedma Glacier and the Uppsala Glacier, words would have not been enough to explain this beauty. Hope you enjoy!

    Read more posts about Patagonia and Argentina: click here