dimanche, février 08, 2009

England Day 3

Our last day in England was a long one! We woke up to a few snowflakes falling which motivated us to get out and see the slights and get onto the main road just in case it started falling heavier - we didn't want to get snowed in somewhere and miss our ferry! So we drove to the next down over, Tintagel the legend- wait for it -dary birthplace of King Arthur and walked around. It was raining just a little bit as we walked down to the castle ruins but we got some good views of the rugged coast and marveled at how the would have built a castle perched on those rocks... We continued our little hike up to the old stone church and then back down into the village. It was quite touristy but being a Sunday in February most of the little kitchy shops were closed up. We decided to visit the King Arthur's Great Halls but we had to wait 40 minutes for them to open so we went down to a pub to get a tea and warm up. The visit was very well done, really impressive and apparently the modern building is used in different films and tv shows to represent King Arthur's court.

We didn't get to spend long in Cornwall, but it would be a lovely place to visit in the summer, you can really feel the Celtic roots in the town names and landscape, it really is sauvage out there. But we wanted to escape any risk of snow so we made our way back to Exeter to search out the mysterious Apple store. We finally found it and Mystery Guest went in to drool while I made a beeline for the Gap store and its big sale sign ;-)

I've been looking for new jeans since the beginning of the sales and have yet to find a pair in France that fits me! So frustrating! I did find a pair at the Gap that I liked and the price really wasn't bad with the weak pound so I grabbed a pair! Yea! Mission accomplished. I picked up Mystery Guest (Appless, sadly) and we stopped in a grocery store to pick up some cheddar before heading out. Big hunks of delicious mature (sharp) Cheddar, 2 for about 8 pounds. Considering we pay about 15e a kilo in the supermarket I'm fairly sure we got a good deal. Anyway yummy!

We drove out of Exeter along to the coast via Exmouth but the weather was terrible, very windy and rainy so we saw the beautiful seaside towns from the car. Neither of us had the courage to venture outside!

It was only 4:00pm by the time we got to Poole and the ferry wouldn't board before 10pm... I would have liked to see what Poole's port looked like but it was just too nasty out. In the guidebook they talked about a shopping/bowling/cinema complex outside of town so we went there. We killed some time with a movie (He's just not that into you) which was actually very well written. It was the only showing that would work with our schedule but both of us really liked it. Then we looked around for dinner. When we stepped out of the theater I felt like I was back in America, hearing American English (without subtitles) for 2 hours and then seeing TGI Friday's, KFC and other American chains I had to remind myself that no, this was not Kansas toto! Mystery Guest and I decided for a Mexican restaurant where I got my fix of a delish quesadilla with guac, sour cream and spicy salsa. I also got a side of refried beans... I was in heaven! (side note, anyone know how to make refried beans? I'd love to try to recreate those at home... can't be that hard, Mystery Guest said it tasted like Cassoulet..)

We ducked in a little casino and bet away about 40p in small change.. I think we won back about 12 or 14p... haha.

Then we caught the ferry, paid extra for a cabin because of the exhaustion of the day and arrived early this morning at 6am in Cherbourg!

It was such a great weekend getaway, so glad we were "forced" to go because of our non refundable tickets :-)

7 commentaires:

Eileen a dit…

Making refried beans is not at all hard! The hard part is finding the beans, and then not finding them (since the French dont' really have pinto and black beans) and deciding what other kind to use. A friend told me that red beans work well. It also depends whether you want your beans fresh because then you have to soak them for a couple days; I always use canned beans and it comes out yummy anyway. A masher is an important tool but I use a fork and make do. I usually let them fry for about 50 minutes with intermittent mashing. Just google for recipes. Some of the ingredients were hard for me to find in France but I'm sure you can substitute and improvise... all right will stop rambling about refried beans now.

Anonyme a dit…

Sounds like a fun time, even with weather problems!
Glad you made it home safe and sound.
Isn't it really weird that you're having snow, we're having 46 degrees F and Brittany had 46 degrees C, all in the same week!!
- Mom

Vivi a dit…

Your trip sounds so great! I love all the King Arthur stuff, I hope I can do the same kind of quick trip sometime!

As for refried beans, it is possible to find pinto beans here, but you really have to search. The are called haricot coco rose here. I would suggest checking out bio stores. I randomly found mine at a stall in Les Halles in Troyes, much to my delight!

If you ever do find them, there are a bunch of recipes online. I cooked mine in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes, and then mashed them in a skillet with some onion, olive oil and cheddar. I didn't have to soak mine, just cook them in the pressure cooker, drain them well, and use fresh water when mashing them in the pan. No gas problems at all! Lard is highly recommended for the flavor but I haven't tried it.

Anyway, that's my two cents! Glad you had a great trip!

Ksam a dit…

Did you guys walk all the way up to the top at Tintagel? When we went last Feb, I remember being really bitter about all that climbing, especially since it was windy & rainy. But it was so worth it once you got to the top!

Milk Jam a dit…

@eileen and vivi
thanks for the refried bean advice!! especially the name in French, I'll go on a hunt very soon :-)
i also found this recipe i thought i'd share with you:
http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2007/03/life-pursuit-refried-beans.html

looks yummy and i love her recipes...

@ksam yup walked all the way up there! not easy, not only because of the wind but all the steps were icy and snowy, didn't feel like somersaulting down the mountain either.. haha the views from the top were well worth it though!

Kim a dit…

Sounds like you have had a wonderful trip away!!

Katia a dit…

What an awesome trip - I really want to visit that part of England. I can't believe you did so much in such little time!