This is our favorite time of year to explore the UK. There’s nothing like wearing yourself out sightseeing on a crisp, fall day, only to cap it off by a stop in at a welcoming village pub. Comfortably situated with pint in hand (half-pint in Katie’s case) we enjoy observing the locals and if lucky enough, maybe even toasting ourselves by a big-ole log fire. The autumn colors of the countryside make us particularly appreciative of the opportunity to commune with nature this time of year. With this in mind, we set off for a weekend visit to the northwest corner of Wales, only three hours away courtesy of Virgin Trains.
We stayed in a beautiful B&B in the Snowdonia National Park, just a few miles down the road from Conwy. On Saturday, we rented a car and drove all through the area, starting with the Victorian coastal resort Llandudno, where as is typical for us, we found there to be about a fifty-year age gap between us and the other visitors. Driving through one of the roundabouts in town, we were obliged to come to a dead stop while a couple golden-oldies, bundled up in their electric mobility scooters, crossed over the road at a snail’s pace.
In the park it was a different story however, especially in the town of Betws y Coed. This area was sprawling with young granolas, mainly to be found having lunch half-covered in mud from a morning out trekking and biking. It was very refreshing. Actually the town very much felt like an Alpine village and we liked that. Katie picked up a compass at one of the many outdoor adventure stores, and spent the rest of the weekend getting her bearings.
Upon our B&B owner’s recommendation, we also drove up to the island of Anglesey, where we visited Beaumaris Castle and hoped to catch a glimpse of Will and Kate at their nearby Welsh home, but it wasn’t meant to be this time. That evening, we took our requisite pub break in the village of Rowen, followed by dinner back at the B&B that included many traditional Welsh foods (local cheeses, pate, Welsh lamb, Welsh cakes and even Welsh whisky).
Sunday we spent the day in Conwy. Complete with foreboding castle and medieval wall that still entirely encircles the town, this town is pretty much the stuff of fairy tales. We climbed all over the castle and enjoyed amazing views from the top of one of the towers.
We really enjoyed our weekend in Wales. Trying to pronounce the names of Welsh villages provided cheap entertainment. You try pronouncing “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”, the name of a village in Anglesey which translates into “St Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave”. The Welsh hospitality was some of the best we’ve experienced, and we love how folks still say “sure as the crow flies” when giving directions. Nice as they were though, we’re pretty sure our B&B owners were hoping we would forget our bottle of “the world’s greatest dessert wine.”