Late September Holiday — Coach Tour to Torquay and area.
Who would have believed late September could be so hot! Without doubt, the weather contributed considerably to our opinion of the coach tour.
I rather think the hotel is in the process of restoration because our bedroom, three floors up, seemed to be the only one where the furniture had the appearance of having been in a fight, or maybe thrown out of the window and come out battered and bruised. The bed was reasonably comfortable though and that is what matters. We also had a good view from the window looking towards the town and sea, while just below us were tennis courts.
True we were three floors up but there was a small lift should we choose to take it. We rarely did as walking up the stairs, though at times painful (due to osteo-arthritis), was good exercise.
Meals were always served on time and the food was plentiful and quite good on the whole, considering the cost of the tour and the amount of residents eager to be fed. I rarely eat meat but a fish dish was on the menu every day.
Outdoor and indoor pools, exercise equipment and other health facilities were free to use, and something was happening in the lounge every night. But since every day was a highly active one for us, by the time we had our evening meal we preferred to relax in our own room and read or watch the TV. The first night we had a spectacular, and I mean SPECTACULAR, firework display just a short distance away and, being high up, our view could not have been better. Evidently it had been put on by a wedding party in nearby grounds. Wow, it went on, and on, for ages. What a way to start our holiday!
Our meals were served by a human dynamo of a waiter. Not surprising he was incredibly lean. We were all sitting on tables for six residents and it did not take long to get to know our neighbours. Like all of the guests, oldies like ourselves.
On the Sunday, we spent our free day walking around Torquay and getting to know the area. Later in the week, on a free day, I used my bus pass for the first time when we toured the area on public transport buses.
Included in the tour price were trips to Looe and Polperro, Exmouth and River Exe sail, and a visit to Totness. We also paid to go on an extra one — a Dartmouth Round Robin trip — open-top bus to Paignton, boat trip to Dartmouth, across the ferry to catch a steam train to Paignton and open top bus back to Torquay. There we had another delightful tea with strawberry cream tart before returning to our hotel. By this time the weather was really hot! So we walked up and down hills, visited delightful places, saw black swans for the first time, had a nostalgic ride on a steam train, sailed up rivers, and generally had a wonderful time.
I particularly enjoyed Totness. For me a true gem of a town. We were dropped off at the top of the street, a narrow road running quite a distance downhill to the River Dart and the main area of the town businesses and activities. Not that there was a shortage of interesting activities going on all along the main street. Shops, a band playing jazz and other lively tunes, folk dressed up, market stalls selling all kinds of goods (an opportunity for Bargain Hunt?). Lovely bridge over the water and a magical walk by the river. A light autumn mist hovering and the crunch of leaves and beech masts under our feet enhanced our journey into a kind of paradise! Back in the town we discovered a museum that was once a mill. We did not have time to go inside but my hubby was ecstatic about the rusty old machinery on display outside.