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The pilgrims on the Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock. To my knowledge they didn't wait around for a return trip to Europe.

August 29, 2018

portsmouth to plymouth.jpg

Yesterday's downpour has disappeared, and as a weak sun appears from behind a cloud, the watery blue sky brightens considerably.  We are almost at Plymouth. Our unscheduled stop in Portsmouth to see The Mary Rose takes us out of our way slightly. As we follow the instructions of the GPS to the Barbican area of Plymouth, I see a church in ruins in front of me. Behind it are copper-coloured 'sails', similar to those of the Sydney Opera House. From this perspective, they look like wings behind the ruins.

As we approach, I realise that the 'wings' are part of a completely separate building. The church however, sits in the middle of a large roundabout. As we traverse around the roundabout, according to the directions of the GPS, I am thankful that somebody wanted to preserve this church, even if by doing so, it had to become part of the road.


We drive down the narrow cobbled streets of the Barbican and quickly find a parking spot. Natasha has called to say that she is also in Plymouth and wants to hang out for the day before she has to return to London.


We are in Plymouth to see the spot from where The Mayflower set sail on its voyage to America with its Pilgrim passengers. But we find many interesting sights within these tiny streets. 

A barbican is a fortified gate, and its easy to see why the name was given to this harbour, as it sits at the entrance of the original fortified city, hence its name. Beyond the main street, through a tiny cobbled alleyway, there is an Elizabethan house. Unfortunately it is in bad condition, but hopefully someone will be able to perform some restoration work on it to conserve it.


We walk to the harbour and find an archway, under which is a stone to commemorate the sailing of The Mayflower. The famous Mayflower Steps are currently closed, as there will be some restoration work done on them before next year's 400th anniversary of the sailing on 6th September, 1620.

'm surprised to see the number of plaques commemorating various sailings to Australia. Interestingly, six Cornish convicts transported to Australia in 1834, were pardoned and returned to England two years later. The Tolpuddle Martyrs, as they are known, returned to Plymouth, where a plaque has been placed. Captain Cook, Captain Bligh, and two ships of the first fleet all used Plymouth as their point of departure.


Additionally, this is the port from where thousands of Cornish miners and farmers left to live in Australia during the 19th Century. Perhaps life in Cornwall was so harsh that the idea of living in a land half-a-world away looked attractive to them. Of course, they brought their Cornish pasty with them, and of all the foods imported through migration, I believe the pasty is one of the most well-loved.


The Barbican is one of the few parts of Plymouth that escaped most of the destruction of the Blitz during the Second World War. Charles Church had been entirely burnt out in March 1941. When peace came it was decided not to rebuild the church. It was decided to turn Charles into a living memorial of the 1,200 civilian deaths in the air raids. It now stands proudly within the central roundabout in the city.

Plymouth itself had been largely rebuilt after the war, having been redesigned with wider roads and modern homes.


We drop Natasha off at the railway station and continue our drive towards Penzance.



Title Quote: Buzz Aldren

Accommodation: Rosalie Guesthouse, Alexandra Road, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 4LZ

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