Wales (Take 1)

On Friday afternoon, after school, we put our things in the car and hit the road, destination Wales! We called in at a services for dinner and also booked our first night’s accommodation on Adrian’s laptop. We made it to The Manor Hotel in Llandudno by about 10pm and basically went straight to bed. Llandudno is a gorgeous seaside resort/town, so the plan was to wake up and go exploring. The weather had other plans and as the rain showed no signs of easing, we decided to carry on.

We then drove to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch just to see the sign with that written on it, which of course we couldn’t find! There is nothing special about the village, it was given the longest name of any place in Britain in the 19th century as a tourist ploy.

From there we went to Caernarfon, where we spent some time wandering around the Castle. The castle has a museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, which was quite fascinating. We found a cute little cafe tucked away in a side street and had toasted sandwiches – the perfect lunch on a rainy day.

Our next stop was Betws-Y-Coed which is one of the main hubs for Mt Snowdon. We had a look in their outdoor clothing stores and then decided to keep going as it was still raining. We drove to Portmeirion, but again with the rain decided it wasn’t worth stopping, so carried on to Lake Vyrnwy. There is a great drive you can do which takes you all around the lake. We did this, which was quite nice, and would have been spectacular without the rain. It was about here that Adrian booked our evening’s accommodation on the laptop. We weren’t too concerned about the weather. It had been nice driving through the Welsh countryside and the reports for the South coast were mostly sunny for Sunday and Monday. On Saturday night we stayed just outside Aberystwyth in Llangeitho at a place called Cwrt Mawr (pronounced Court Manor). It was a beautiful Georgian B&B run by a lovely couple – the sort of place you could stay for ages, relaxing in the house and acreage. We arrived at about 7.30pm and hadn’t eaten, so they directed us to the Penuwch Inn, where we had a nice pub meal.

After a lovely breakfast on Sunday morning, we went into Aberystwyth and found the Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway. By this point we had noticed there was a problem with the brake switch again, so we left it with Kwik Fit while we caught the train to Devil’s Bridge. The train took about an hour to get there and once there we had a look at Devil’s Bridge itself and the falls. Devil’s Bridge is a famous crossing-point where three bridges are stacked above each other. The lowest was supposedly built by the Knights Templar before 1188, the middle one in 1753 and the uppermost road-bridge in recent times. We had a quick lunch and then got back on the 12.30 train.

The problem with the brake switch turned out to be the same problem we had in Scotland with Mum and Dad, only this time the switch was completely stuffed. Luckily the brake lights were permanently on, rather than off, so we had been able to drive it that day, but it meant the battery would soon die. There was nothing Kwik Fit could do, so we called our roadside recovery people. The main problem was that this happened on a Sunday but with Monday being a bank holiday, we were kid of stuck. There were several options, but the easiest seemed to be to cross our fingers that they would take us back home. That’s what happened, so at 4pm we loaded the car onto a tow truck (the one in the photos) and went back to his base in Aberaeron where we swapped onto another tow truck. A lovely Welsh fellow, Lee, drew the short straw and was the one who then drove us the 220 miles back home. We had 2 quick stops on the way, the first for fuel and the second for a toilet break. Lee seemed to know just about everyone in Wales so was constantly tooting his horn, flashing his lights and giving his mates the thumbs up. He also used typical Welsh phrases like ‘what’s occurrin’ and ‘tidy’ which kept us amused. We finally got home at about 9.30pm, offloaded the car, unpacked our suitcases and went to bed!

I have a rotten cold, so today we have just been taking it easy doing housework – washing, cleaning etc. The weekend didn’t go quite according to plan, but it was still nice to get away. We are going to go back one sunny weekend and explore the South coast of Wales. We didn’t take many photos on this trip either, but the ones we did take will be up on the site soon.

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