Wandering Around Plymouth

I’m here for a walking conference, so what else was I going to do on my free day in Plymouth except go for a walk?

I got a late start: I slept much longer than I’d expected. I must’ve been tired from the flight and the long bus ride here and the late arrival. I had no idea where anything was–not even the harbour–and the hotel was out of maps. I don’t like to be completely lost: partly lost is okay, even enjoyable, but totally lost is a different thing, and that makes me an improper walker, according to some. Because I prefer old fashioned maps to Google Maps–paper doesn’t ever need to be recharged–I looked in the downtown shopping mall for a bookstore, where I bought an A to Z. There I learned something surprising about the University of Plymouth: it doesn’t have a bookstore. Don’t tell the administration back home! Students here use ebooks, apparently. What about books that aren’t available in that format? Or maybe nobody has to read anything anymore? I thought I might buy a toque at the campus bookstore, but that’s out.

I found the university and the building where the conference is, and then I headed south towards the harbour. Following my friend Noel Chevalier’s advice, I bought a Cornish pasty–delicious–and ate it as I walked. I walked past the Barbican, which is a base for the Royal Marine Commandos, and crossed a swing bridge towards the eastern side of the harbour. I saw what looked like a cormorant swimming in the murky water, and the gills are as big as chickens. It’s quite warm here, too, and I was slightly overdressed. Many of the boats have been taken out of the water for the winter, and the pubs at the harbour are closed for the season. Oh well.

It gets dark early here, and I walked back on roads busy with commuter traffic. Somehow I found myself walking past my hotel; that was a surprise. Plymouth is the size of Saskatoon but feels bigger, partly because of the large pedestrian area in the city centre. I found a wifi hotspot and asked Google about good pubs in Plymouth. It suggested this place, The Pub on the Hoe, and here I am, soon to order some food. Another pasty? Perhaps.