Driving in Cornwall

Driving in Cornwall

I could sum up the experience of driving around Cornwall with three little letters — OMG — but that wouldn’t make for good blogging, now would it?

So, first… OMG!  The countryside was beautiful, just stunning!  Rolling hills, breathtaking views of the sea, pastures dotted with cows and sheep, trees arching over the roadways to create a romantic little tunnel.  It was lovely!  See for yourself:

On the other hand, OMG!  I have never seen such treacherous roads in my life.  At one point I commented (in all seriousness) that driving on those roads was like riding a roller coaster.

The smaller roads that connected the villages typically were flanked on both sides by 10-foot high stone walls overgrown with greenery.  We had no idea what we were driving past. Could’ve been a house.  Could’ve been the sea.  Could’ve been a herd of cattle.

Whoever laid out these roads was apparently unfamiliar with the concept of  “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line,” because there were no straight lines.  The roads twisted and turned, rose up and went down.  You could never be sure what was around the next bend because, well, you couldn’t see that far.

Also, the roads were quite narrow.  I think that maybe two itty bitty smart cars could have passed each other without any difficulty, but for everyone else, it was almost like playing chicken.  Who’s backing up?   Who’s going forward?  Do you need to fold in your rear view mirrors before passing?  On our first full day of driving, we backed up to let another car pass us, and edged right up to the aforementioned 10-foot high wall.  When we started moving again, we heard a hissing sound every few seconds.  Apparently one of the stones in the wall had punctured our tire.  Fun.

Here’s a picture of a typical country road in Cornwall.

Even the major highways were a bit strenuous to drive on.  Instead of having exits like we do in the US, there is a “roundabout” (traffic circle) at every town.  For Americans who haven’t driven in Washington DC before (and even those of us who have), traffic circles can be somewhat bewildering.  Particularly in unfamiliar surroundings.    Add to that the frustration of having to slow down when you’ve just gotten up to a nice speed, and the roundabout came to be something we dreaded.

Thankfully, Hubs did ALL of the driving for us while we were in Cornwall.  He had to get used to driving on the left side of the car, on the left side of the road, and using his left hand to shift gears.  I have to give him props for that.  I would have been terrified.

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