Mountains and memories.
So many of my life memories have involved Wales over the years. The first I heard of Wales, ( that I remember) was in 1969, when Mum, Dad and I watched the investiture of Charles, as Prince of Wales, on tv. Next, in 1971, on my first day of high school I sat next to a girl ( Karen) who became my bestie all through high school. She had emigrated from Wales when she was 9 and I loved to hear her tales! Then one of my sister’s travelled to Wales a couple of times and shared her experiences, which also wet my appetite. As I mentioned previously, a niece travelled to Wales with her choir to compete in the Llangollen Eisteddfod. Lastly, when I first went to Orroroo as a teacher, one of my colleagues ( later my husband!) rode on most of , if not all, the Little trains of Wales and described them in great detail, and with great enjoyment!
So, I had all these memories swimming around in my head as I headed to Wales!
I visited the town my friend grew up in,and drove around her area. But sadly I couldn’t get any photos in Cwmbran, as I chose to go there in a peak hour traffic time and there was nowhere to pull over! But I have it all in my mind! Sorry Karen!
I also ate some of the Welsh food from Karen’s childhood…faggots, mashed potatoes, peas and onion gravy ;bread pudding and my favourite; Welsh cakes!!
I visited Caenarfon, and walked around the Castle walls, having my daily flat white in the Castle’s shadow..
I tried to find my sister’s favourite spots…with an especially picturesque drive to a little village in the mountains looking for the White Horse Inn that she fondly remembered. I found the village, with spectacular scenery, and the renamed White Horse Inn, closed and undergoing renovations.
Near there, was Betws-y-Coed, a delightful mountain town, recommended by a nephew & his partner, as their favourite town in North Wales. And I could see why, gorgeous!
Also included in my Welsh wanderings was another couple of catch-ups with some of my Shropshire friends, the Scotts. I travelled through beautiful Snowdonia to visit Dan at his wonderful work place, at Pensarn. We then had a wonderful walk along a sandy beach at Harlech, followed by fish and chips next to the impressive Harlech Castle. An extremely picturesque day, and great to see where Dan hangs out!
Later on, as I drove from North Wales to South Wales I stopped for lunch with Claire, Jacob and Isaac, in Aberystwyth, viewed Claire’s art studio and then wandered the streets looking for the perfect coffee with the boys! ( After an extremely dodgy episode of parking the car!!)
And then there were the trains! Unlike Malcolm, I didn’t travel on all of the little trains ( and there’s quite a few!!) but I did go on 2 : the Ffestiniog railway (where I travelled from Ffestiniog to Porthmadog and return)and the Mt Snowdon railway! ( From Llanberis to the summit of Mt Snowdon and return) The scenery enjoyed from the train windows was wonderful in both cases….but going up Mt Snowdon was breathtaking!! It was quite a hot day by Welsh standards (30°) and the little carriage of 8 of us was warm, but we could see forever…..to the coastline, to distant mountains and close, down valleys and across fields…. amazing! And all the while, the rack and pinion railway (I think that’s what Malcolm said!) pulled us higher and higher! Unlike many visitors who reach the top of Mt Snowdon ( by foot or train) we had an absolutely clear view from the top also! No clouds at all. What a great trip, it was so worth it! To top it off, the pay and display ticket machine in the car park wasn’t working so I even had free parking!
Travelling from Aberystwyth to Cardiff, I chose the scenic route, via the Pembrokeshire coastline, which didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed a break in a pretty little part of Fishguard along the way.
And then there was the capital city of Wales, Cardiff…I enjoyed some great days exploring by boat, by bus and by foot, involving many stops for coffee or tea, or to visit a library!
Except for my day of driving through the beautiful Brecon Beacons national Park,and except for visiting the “book town”of Hay-on-Wyeand finding Karen’s hometown of Cwmbran, I mostly pottered around on Cardiff’s efficient public transport system of buses that passed very near my AirBnB’s door!
Thank you, Wales! Apart from being much warmer and drier than anyone had told me about…you didn’t disappoint! I now have my own myriad of memories to add to those from my past! 😊
PS: I haven’t titled each photo individually, but you can ask me about them on my return!