Monday 24th July to Thursday 27th July
After leaving the Lake District on Monday morning we travelled the English motorways to Wales. Our first stop was Llandudno (pronounced Flandidno - go figure). This is a delightful seaside town on the north coast of Wales. The waterfront is lined with grand old hotels that are in immaculate condition. Part of the beach is covered in large rocks that give way to gravelly sand in the more shltered area of the bay. There is a long pier at the northern end of the beach and on the day we visited the weather was fine and the beach was very busy even though the water temperature was a bit cold. There are several sculotures around town relating to Alice in Wonderland because Lewis Carroll was inspired to write the book by Alice Liddell whose family owned a holiday home in Llandudno. There are several amusements near the beach including a Punch & Judy puppet show. We only stayed in town for 90 minutes as we were in a limited parking area and then moved on to Conwy Castle across the bay.
The castle is largely a ruin now but very impressive with great views from the turrets across the bay to LLandudno and of lush green hills in the other direction. There is a suspension bridge leading to one side of the castle which you can cross by foot. We looked around the castle first and by the time we made it to the bridge it was just closing for the day but we were able to walk across and view the castle from the other side. Cheryl and Lyn were about half an hour behind us so they missed that opportunity.
We continued on to our temporary home for the next few nights which was a lovely apartment in the western coastal town of Tywyn. On the drive we passed through beautiful green valleys surrounded by hills and mountains. At one stage we passed by a large open cut slate mine which sat like a scar upon the hills around it. We passed through several small villages with the narrow streets we have become used to. In one of the villages they had some knitted artwork dotted around the town and as we turned a sharp bend there was an ugly knitted created sitting on the stone wall of the bridge we had turned onto. It was quite distracting and I wouldn't be surprised if it caused a few accident- t gave me quite a fright. As we drew close to our destination the winding road followed very close to the sea with a sheer drop off to the ocean. Luckily we were on the side away from the ocean but is was a little nerve racking particularly as the road was very narrow in places with not enough room for two cars to pass each other. I was very relieved when we made it safely to our destination.
We started the next day with a stop in Harlech to view the castle and then continued on through Snowdonia National Park. The scenery is beautiful but the weather was overcast for most of the day. We stopped at a great viewing point for Mount Snowdon the highest nountain in Wales which is only half as high as Mount Kosciusko (and we thought our mountains are small). We could barely see the top because of the mist. At Llanberis we caught the lake railway train which had received positive reviews on tripadvisor and the description on the website sounded great. It turned out to be a very slow one hour trip on an old uncomfortable train. It followed the shores of the lake which you could only see occasionally through the trees and made a very quick 5 minutes stop on the way back where you could get out and see a view of Mount Snowdon across the lake. As it was a cloudy day you couldn't see the mountain very well anyway. I wouldn't recommend wasting your time on this trip. By the time we reached home the weather had really started to close in. We had a lazy day the next day catching up on washing and checking out the small town.
When we left Tywyn the next morning the rain was quite heavy and you could barley seem 3 metres in front of the car. Luckily we were leaving by a diffrent route to the one we travelled the previous 2 days. Although the road was still windy it wasn't as steep and close to the sea. We passed through a few charnming towns on our way to Glasbury-on-Wye but because of the heavy rain we didn't bother pulling over. We had planned to travel through the Brecon Beacons National Park but decided it wasn't a good option on a day like this so just travelled directly to our accommodation. We dropped one of the cars and then drove to Hereford and Ledbury.
As you drive in to Hereford it looks like just another modern town but quite near the large city shopping centre is the older part of town whioch has lovely medieval buildings and not too far away a very impressive cathedral. We spent about a couple of hours looking around and then onto Ledbury which has a very famous old market hall build up on wooden pillars and more buildings of a simialr style to Hereford.
We had dinner back at our accommodation which is a lovely stone lodge in the countryside around Glasbury-on-Wye. Vicki & I received a complimentary upgrade to a deluxe room that was very impressive. Pity we only had one night here.