We all live in Hope. Hope of a better life, a better house, a better job, a better payslip, or hope of life just being the way we want it to be. I too exude the human emotion of ‘hope’. But when that emotion metamorphoses into a microcosm of all of the above elements of a ‘better life’, you have literally arrived in a place which can be take on the ‘heaven on earth’ locution!
Hope is the name of a small cove on the shores of the English Channel and the small community of people who live in that cost of South Devon have christened this little piece of heaven Hope Cove. A field of vision, as far as the eyes can travel, will take in the turquoise blue sea and the vision of what Guernsey would look like, if you could see that island landmass direct across from the coast of South Devon.
After several hours of driving through narrow country lanes with local drivers dogging our bumper clearly irritated by the city gal at the wheel being extra cautious in fear of bouncing off the lanes, the first indication that the narrow tree laden dark lanes are coming to an end is the smell of the sea, a divine smell reminiscent of my many childhood holidays in Puri, in the state of Orissa in India. And the village unfolds in front of your eyes as you slowly descend the not so steep slopes downhill towards the sea.
The images above are just some of the many hundreds of images we captured through out iPhone and our DSLR on our way downhill towards the village. It was a breathtaking view and frozen images do not do it the full justice. On a mild summer’s afternoon, the shimmering turquoise of the English channel reminded me of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five heading off to the sea on their tiny boat to George’s island!
The British Isles are an underrated tourist destination in Europe. While London is a destination of choice for most, the countryside far outweighs the busy nightlife and historical prowess of London. Cope Hove is one such shining example of a hidden gem, a pearl in the crown, a small village of breathtaking beauty and sheer delight. Staying at one of the beachfront hotels, waking up to the sounds of the gentle waves crashing on the sun kissed shallow beaches, the chilly summer morning sea air, the long hikes down the coastal path all culminate to make a journey of Hope. And the pièce de résistance should definitely be the many stories of smuggling days of Hope Cove. Whilst the mainstay of the local people was fishing, its proximity to France and Spain pushed it into the forefront of the smuggling empire. Salt, an everyday ingredient in our kitchens today, made its way into Hope Cove from France before it reached the bigger cities and towns in Britain.
One of the wonders of this country which never fails to amaze me is the sheer diversity and availability of Indian food in almost every nook and cranny of every city, town, village and teeny village! We discovered a little piece of Keralan heaven in the town of Kingsbridge with a menu so different from the typical Indian curry houses, which left me quite amazed. We quite often drove over to Kingsbridge, the nearest large town to Hope Cove. But those visits were brief and hurried, over the week we stayed at Hope, always a rush to get back to brilliant blue sea and the pebbly beaches of Hope!
The sit down dinners at the hotel were reminiscent of the good old British way of life which I am slowly imbibing into my lifestyle. All guests, including large families of 3 or even more generations dressed in their evening finery ventured down to the dining room sharp at 7 pm for a lavishing laid out dinner, watching the setting sun while having their desserts.
No matter where we go in Hope, in whichever direction, the English channel was our constant companion. Fresh sea air, good wine and food, Indian and British, made it perfect week long getaway from London. Till I am back again!