A special guest post today from Sharon and Alan J about a shore excursion through Falmouth, England during their Holland America Line ms Prinsendam tour this summer. In fact, the two had so much fun in this region they are going back in 2016 for their 50th anniversary. Sharon and Alan are Cruise Specialists clients.
Falmouth, England: June 7, 2015
Do you believe in time travel? On that sunny June day in Cornwall, it seemed like we were certainly traveling back in time.
We had boarded a gleaming, round-shouldered, two-tone motor coach painted in forest green and pale yellow. There were about twenty of us, mostly gray-haired and elderly. Our driver wore a dress jacket and hat to match the coach’s colors. Our stout, jolly local guide, Lorna, had a breathy, nervous laugh and spoke with a thick tongue against her upper teeth.
We motored inland from the coast. The road was lined with white “ox-eye” daisies and pink campions. The coach, brand new in 1956, was named “Hughey”. Two other coaches operating in the area were named “Harry” and “Dumpy”.
Our old coach groaned up the narrow, hilly roads between tall, vine-covered stone walls. Several cars had to “reverse” to let us pass. In these forested hills, the U.S. troops hid before the D-Day landings of 1944, almost exactly seventy-one years to the day we were here. General Eisenhower spoke to them here before they departed for the fateful landings on Omaha Beach.At a narrow river, our coach eased carefully onto a small ferry. The ferry was pulled across the river on a chain, a rare type of ferry boat. Continuing, we stopped at an old stone church in the woods near a sand bar in the river. It was called St. Just Church & Bar. (No, no drinks here!) We walked among the gravestones and into the church for a short visit. One Englishman called it “the most beautiful churchyard on earth.”
After a visit to a castle built by Henry VIII, we sat down to lunch in a pub in the picturesque port of St. Mawes. Our fish & chips arrived on a bed of “smashed” green peas. We had a pleasant hour after lunch to walk around this village before meeting our group again at the Prince of Wales Pier. We boarded a larger ferry, the “Duchess of Cornwall”, (without our coach) to carry us across the Fal River to the City of Falmouth, situated on the coast at the river’s mouth.Our old coach and driver were waiting on the dock when we arrived. We boarded for a drive through Old Falmouth. Our driver slowly navigated a narrow cobblestone street, apparently designated “Pedestrian Only”. Was his eyesight really that poor?
English families on holiday parted to let us pass. We waved to them as they pulled out smart phones to capture a photo of this strange old bus from the past filled with old people slowly making its way through town. Were we really back in 1956? No, certainly not with all those new-fangled cell phone cameras aimed at us.