23a. It’s A Small Small World (4)

There’s been a long interval this month, we’ve been away to Italy, France and Burgh Island. You’ve probably heard of the first two destinations but maybe not the third. It’s only an island at high tide, off the Devon Coast.

We went to Pisa, Florence and then Rome for a few days because we’d not been there together, France to pick up some Champagne for the Big Birthday parties (more at an appropriate time) and Burgh Island for a couple of days with some pals.

The last day in Rome, I started to read Dana’s “Two Years Before The Mast”. At the end of the introduction it mentioned that he had died in Rome and was buried there. Anyone who has been on holiday with me will know I am a taphophile (today’s word for those of you who’d never come across it), that is, I love visiting graveyards. Unfortunately we were on our way to the airport so did not manage to visit Richard Dana’s resting place. We did get to the Colosseum though. It is the most exhausting city I think I have been to, you walk all over, pausing only for an espresso or glass of wine (or two).

Old ruins

The other coincidence in the book is the mention of the Sandwich Isles. I’d never heard of these but on researching it, they were what are now known as Hawaii. These islands were “discovered” by Captain Cook in 1778 and named after the Earl of Sandwich. I’ve never been there but we are in the process of organising our house-sitters who will look after the house and home crew whilst we are away: one of them is from Hawaii!

This post was meant to stop there and not meant to be about Burgh Island but we so fell in love with it I need to tell you. Here it is at low tide, easily accessible on foot. If you’re staying there they’ll use a 4×4 to take you and all your luggage across.

Burgh Island looking towards Devon

And at high tide it’s a totally different place, with a unique way of arriving, the Sea Tractor.

Cut off!
Sea tractor to Burgh Island

The main interest is not in the position, although that is amazing, but in the hotel itself.

Burgh Island Hotel

It was built in 1929 and has managed to stay in that era. It was extended in the 1930’s and the Captain’s Cabin from HMS Ganges (a warship from 1821) was added. You can see it in the foreground in the photo above and in the next photo. During World War II the hotel was used for RAF personnel who needed to recover from their injuries. It was converted into flats for a time then restored to its current state.

On top of Captain’s Cabin looking out to Mermaid Pool

You are expected to dress up for dinner just as if you had gone back in time. There are no televisions and all the furniture is Art Deco inspired. The bar is an example of the whole place:


Agatha Christie wrote some of her books there and anyone who was anyone visited (including, of course, us!). Noel Coward reportedly came for a few days and stayed much longer. I can understand that, it’s such a restful place.

Where Agatha Christie wrote “And Then There Were None” and “Evil Under The Sun”

Next time, I think some technical talk to get you thinking about Clipper again!