I asked Ruth about her best 2017 travel experience. She thought it over and said that hers was in Cornwall too. It began in the town library of St. Just, Great Britain’s most south-westerly town. There are many abandoned mines in the area. There was once so much ore gathering on this coastline that Winston Graham set Poldark novels here. When Poldark became a TV series, a lot of scenes were filmed near St Just with some difficulty. And that’s one of the reasons why we got off the bus to look around St Just.
There was nothing to see on the parking lot so Ruth and I stepped into the library to see if we could learn something. Town libraries are 2nd only to visitor centers when we’re looking for informed, friendly locals. We never made it into the library itself. A woman exiting it heard our American accents and asked where we were from. We said near Portland, Oregon. Life is full of coincidence. Christine told us that her son was living and working in Portland for 2 years and hoped to visit him there. When she heard of Ruth’s interest in Poldark, she took us to her car and treated us to a 2 ½ hour tour of all the Poldark locations in the area, including a small museum at a former tin mine where we watched a film about the new Poldark series. Ruth wrote in her travel log, “It was magical. Fog. Rolling waves….wild flowers….”
We next talked about our best shared experience. It happened in Washington, DC. We were spending the day exploring some Smithsonian buildings and wanted to see the new National Museum of African American History & Culture. We got in line to enter and were told that tickets were necessary. We had never been asked for tickets at any Smithsonian facility. Later, we learned that this museum has been so successful that people are getting the next available tickets to be used in 8 months! We learned that each day some are offered via a website that people must access at 6:30 am. They go fast.
We sat down near the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s entrance and began talking to 2 African American women who had just come out. They raved about the museum. We told them our sad story about not being able to get in. They left.
I walked down to the street. As I stood on the corner staring at the building I couldn’t enter, a car containing the 2 ladies pulled up and the passenger opened her window and waved a piece of paper at me. She announced that they had 2 extra tickets because her friend visiting from the West Coast had also ordered tickets that they hadn’t used. She gave them to us and we saw a 5 compass attraction because of her generosity.