Thursday, June 23, 2011

of paths and sidewalks

Today's soundtrack:
"Ties That Bind" by One Hundred Dollars
"Deeper Than Beauty" by Sloan
"I Can Feel It" by Sloan
"If It Feels Good Do It" by Sloan

The other day Miguel and I went to our first proper afternoon tea. Friends of a second cousin (twice removed) invited us over Sunday afternoon. Since it was a beautifully sunny day, Miguel and I decided to walk the Coastal Path from our place to nearby Pittenweem, and then out where Charles and Stephanie stay.

Unlike the walk out to Crail, which is filled with pigs, sheep, goats, and the occasional cow, the walk to Pittenweem is decidedly more cultivated. In fact, the majority of the walk is alongside the local golf course where the waterholes are, well, the Firth of Forth. I strongly suggest you take the stroke and move on.

Although busier than the Crail path, this portion does provide a wonderful view of the west side of Anstruther, known locally as Anster Wester, and down to the harbour. The bay in the foreground is one of the summer swimming holes, but it'll have to be near 30ºC before you get me in there.

And with no more than ten minutes on the path, we can see Pittenweem. This is where the majority of The Winter Guest was filmed (along with a bus stop in Anstruther and a coffee shop in St. Andrews, or so I'm told by tour guide extraordinare Kristin). It looks much more hospitable in the summer than it did in the bleak winter months. And yes, that's part of the golf course to the right.

I was a little worried about arriving late for tea, so we didn't stop for pictures in the harbour or St. Fillian's Cave, but as we've guests arriving this weekend, I imagine those pictures will be coming in a week or two. Any excuse to go for another hot chocolate at The Cocoa Tree and a chance encounter with another Canadian expat.

Like many of the small towns and villages on the East Neuk, we didn't have to walk long before we were back out in the country. No sidewalks or shoulders to speak of, but those would just spoil the picturesque scene.

Believe it or not, this is a two-lane road. No, really. Which is why you couldn't pay me to drive around here.

On our way out of Pittenweem, we saw farmhands harvesting broccoli (which has since appeared at the local co-op and looks fantastic), as well as grain fields that reminded us of Saskatchewan.

But my favourite picture of the day has to be these wildflowers. Makes me wish I could still paint.

Tea with Charles and Stephanie was lovely, after which they showed us around their garden and tree grove. I envy their grandchildren being able to play in a backyard that is still a little wild in spots. Stephanie told us at that at least one of her grandkids does a formidable troll impression while hiding beneath a small bridge.

Afterwards, as Charles very kindly drove us back into Cellardyke, I noticed that from Anster Wester to Pittenweem there is a sidewalk! Oh laugh, you Canadians and your overabundance of sidewalks, but sidewalks alongside main roads is nothing short of a miracle up here. It also means that I can ride my bike from Cellardyke to Pittenweem, grab a hot chocolate, and fondle some yarn (come December when The Wooly Brew opens up), all without risky angry run-ins with drivers who don't believe any space need be given to cyclists.

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