Sunday, January 29, 2012

Port Isaac, Cornwall aka the Home of Doc Martin

If it's not enough that I like Agatha Christie, I'm also obsessed with Britcoms (from the 1970's on to today). One of the prettiest, although not my favorite, is a drama called Doc Martin which was a spin-off of a movie called, "Saving Grace (with Colin Ferguson)".
Doc Martin (yes like the boots) is set in a quaint seaside fishing village in Cornwall called Port Wenn. Imagine my surprise when I learned there is a real-life Port Wenn, only called Port Isaac.
I drove the hour or so from Land's End and as if a precursor of things to come, my GPS F'ed up. Basically, I ended up driving through 20 miles of cornfields, one lane roads with high hedgeroes on each side (if an oncoming car approaches, one of you needs to find a lay by and pull over...or reverse until you find one and yes, this happened to me), and cow fields.
Convinced I was going the wrong way, I finally headed down this steep tiny cow path and all of a sudden, the village appeared.
I thought driving with other cars coming at you along the hedgeroes was bad. I was completely unprepared for what you do when another car comes at you and you are cemented in by two 13th century buildings.
After a long stare down, the other driver must have figured out I had absolutely no idea what to do so he gave way. Thankfully, this was almost opposite my hotel, The Old School (which is used in the Doc Martin series as the village school). Unthankfully, I had just passed the hotel, so I had to somehow turn around, among hordes of tourists and oncoming traffic. I just managed to turn around and nearly took out a sandwich board sign announcing the daily specials at the deli across the street.
Port Isaac is beautiful and isolated and amazing. But one night is just about enough. There's not a lot to do there as the beach is a working beach for fishing boats and not suitable for swimming and there aren't any museums or shops except tacky souvenier shops.
So, I drank. And walked around. And then drank some more Cornish cider.
I met some local people who were nice enough to hang out with me and tell me a little about the town.
Apparently, the town is completely dividied over Doc Martin. Half love the show because it brings in tons of tourists (they told me tourism went up 90% since the show. Especially with Australians who apparently come there in droves to see where Doc Martin lives. When I was there I met a father/son team from Richmond, Virginia who came because of the show).
While the other half hate it....I'm actually not sure why...I guess the added tourists and the annoyance of having to deal with TV crews.
I hung out at the Golden Lion, which is a pub but also a nice restaurant. (damn hyper link isn't working but it's a beautiful place right it).
On an odd note, one of the regulars stopped in. He's a guy in his late 20's, early 30's and he had no freaking bottom front teeth. And this didn't apparently bother him or anyone else (I'm pretty sure he had a girlfriend). He looked like a 5th grader who had just lost their bottom teeth and are proud of it (except this guy was shaved bald and pretty rotund).
What is it with the English and teeth? I'm sorry but sometimes stereotypes really are true....

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