The Scillies are off the west coast of Cornwall, which is the southwestern part of England.
From Penzance it takes 3 hours by boat to reach theisles of Scilly.
The first map shows where they are, and the second (itself a link to a larger map) shows the isles themselves:
On the way we stopped in Marazion, a peaceful small town in the West Cornwall.
It faces a beautiful wide stretch of a sandy beach.
It consists of quaint narrow streets, and the glimpses of the sea around every corner show the town's dramatic neighbour - the island of St Michael's Mount.
Our stay was only 4 day long, but it was long enough to be charmed by the "fortunate islands".
I can now see very well why people keep going back year after year. The long deserted cliff walks, sun-bathing on the white sandbeaches, snorkeling with the seals, diving, friendliness of the islanders, and the beauty and the tranquility of the isles.
The photos below shows the harbour of St Mary's atlow tide, and a beach at St Martyn's.
The isles are a place of ancient things, strange memories, and alluring beauty.
Settlements from 2000 BC have left their traces in forms of villages and burial carns; unfortunate shipwrecks have left their parts and loads for the fortunate divers; luckily, tourists still haven't left anything but their money, and the atmosphere of the place is unspoiled. So is its nature.
The stone formations are impressive; here's Andreas on the rocks, and a petrified turtle, and Silvija at the very edge.
And some more rocks in the sunset.
Seals live among the western and eastern rocks; sea puffins and tens of
other bird species chose the same rocks to breed.
The fish is plentiful, and there are even a few basking sharks in sight.
The cormorant is easy to spot, but can you find the seal?
The ambiance of the isles is a rarity in these times - upon arrival one has to tune in to a different world, and to slow down.
There is no choice but to relax. The holiday activities consist of walking, diving, fishing, reading,island hopping, and then some more of the same.
Tresco is the second largest island; it takes about 4 hours to do a round-walk, and the island has two castles and an abbey with a fantastic botanical garden.
Andreas and some flora and fauna.
These are some of the front figures found in the waters around the islands - the difficult tidal conditions and the shallow rocks have defeated many a captain.
The islanders don't lock their houses; the cars are left with the keys in the ignition; on the second thought, where would one go with a stolen car anyway. People still remember the last crime which was committed some 4-5 years ago, when someone broke into some kind of a pay-box and got away with a bag of 50 pence coins.
After a day or two, one knows about half the people on the islands, as one keeps meeting them in Hugh town or on the boats.
The food is good - especially the crab sandwiches are great, and the homemade cornish pastry and clotted cream fudge are excellent as well.
They have good local fish and ales, and the hotel St Martinon the Isles does fantastic gourmet dinners in unique surroundings.
Here's another photo of the loooong whitebeach. When the weather is *really* hot, it gets a bit crowded: there have been reports of up to 11 people being at this beach at the same time.
On out way home, we stopped at Polperro, an old fishing and smugling village in Cornwall.
Somewhat touristy these days. But definitely charming.
Dartmoor, and a picnic with these friendly wild horses.
And an old stone bridge on the way:
And then the long way home.
A good starting point for some more info on Scilly is here.
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Silvija Seres, September 2000