We had a laugh each time we came across signs such as these...
You found yourself questioning whether you recognized the words, given that the alphabet was the same. There was always a silence in the car as we each scrolled through the signs until we hit the words we understood. This was usually the bottom line, at which point the little hamster wheels in our heads would stop spinning. Ahhaaa!
Llangollen was beautiful, situated amidst snowcapped Mountains, (with 'The Englishman who went up a Hill and came down a Mountain' in mind, I would hate to call them hills if they are in fact Mountains). Check out the ruins on the top of the 'Mountain' (two photos up).
In Llangollen we visited the house where the infamous 'Ladies of Llangollen' entertained the likes of Wordsworth, and countless others.
We also checked out Thomas Telford's Pontcysllte Aqueduct. The Aqueduct is a World Historic sight, the longest and tallest in Britain, and was built to carry the Llangollen Canal. You can now take river barges across it. It's quite the sight to be seen.
It's difficult to tell from the photo, but the boat is travelling along the aqueduct, with no railing on the right side, hundreds of feet up.
After leaving Llangollen, and continuing on our drive, we started to get the munchies.
Me (from the front seat): Hey mom, are there any recommended spots to eat around here (she's reading a guide book titled 'Back Roads of Great Britain').
Mom (from the back seat): Actually, there's only one mentioned in Wales, but we seem to quite near it.
Detour. We turn of 'Jane' (the SAT NAV) and off the beaten path we go, towards Tyddyn Llan.
We didn't know what we were in for when we parked the car, but man was it ever a special meal. The restaurant has a Michelin Star and was ranked 38th in the Good Food Guide for 2013. This was a treat. The kind of treat where dad had to change his shoes before going inside. Unfortunately it was also the kind of treat where you can hear knives and forks clinking against their plates in the dining room, as everyone is speaking quietly and on their best behavior...but it was so yummy, it didn't matter. A great lunch. If you're in Wales, put it on your list!
This was the first of many meals in both Wales and the Lake District that had us start in the sitting room with a cocktail, and the menus, and then move into the dining room, with the meal already on its way. The meal then ended, back in the sitting room, with dessert and coffees.
This was something we could get used to!
In a partial food coma, we drove through Snowdonia, which is a National Park in Northern Wales. It is breathtaking. Despite the weather, hundreds of people were out, decked out in their walking gear (made me feel like I needed to outfit myself with walking gear), and heading into the hills...ahem...MOUNTAINS!
Betws-y-coed was a gorgeous little town at the gateway to the park.
It definitely seemed like a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. We saw countless mountain bikers, kayakers, and hikers.
After driving through Snowdonia, we crossed the bridge into Anglesey. We spent the first night in Beaumaris, and then drove around the island the next day. Yes, I was secretly hoping I'd run into Kate and Will. It didn't happen. I will admit I did look closely at every plane that passed overhead...and closely examined EVERY couple with a black dog...no such luck.
We stayed in 'Ye Olde Bull's Head Inn'. It was very cute, and had a cozy little pub. Apparently the Inn has an excellent 'fine dining' restaurant, but after our amazing lunch, we opted for a more casual affair, and headed down the road to a local spot on the water. It was nothing to write home about, but just what the doctor ordered after a day on the road.
Quite the history in Ye Olde Bulls Head.
Picture of the Day?
From Anglesey, you could see the 'Mountains' of Snowdonia.
Apparently, still not sick of seeing sheep.
That concludes our time in Wales. Was this how you imagined it? It was definitely a wonderful surprise for the three of us...and another place my dad wants to bring his road bike back to!
Stay tuned for the Lake District.