Really early in our road trip planning for England, I knew I had to go via Wales. Just a quick google search always revealed amazing scenery, stunning sunsets (thanks to the west coast!) and the ever lust Snowdonia National Park.
Not long after leaving Manchester we crossed the Welsh border. Immediately we started seeing town names displaying both English and Welsh versions of the names. English on top, Welsh at the bottom.
Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Snowdonia – well, you can’t count driving around the edge I suppose? But the sights we did see has made me want to go back. Conwy is a typical tourist spot: beach side down, gorgeous ruins of a castle and fantastic bustling town. Despite all this, it’s still up there for my favourite spots. Alan had somehow forgotten he’d been there before, and let’s be honest – forgot he’d even been to Wales full stop (shall we blame the craziness of Contiki tours and not knowing which borders you’ve crossed?), so I explored Conwy Castle alone. Seriously this place was amazing. It’s my perfect castle. And when I say perfect, I’m not after any pristine castle with intact render. I’m after a castle showing it’s age. Missing mortar, crumbling archways, but intact stairwells. To me, being able to climb up the damp windy stairwells just get the heart pumping. And as soon as you take that last step and see the view, you can suddenly imagine how much this town has changed whilst this medievil structure has remained. Over 800 years of history and I’m standing on top of this structure… Incredible I tell you.
Llandudno was another favourite location. This beachside town boasts a west coast sunset and an amazing pier, full of amusement park rides and games. I’d never been to anywhere with a pier like this, and I know Brighton has a world famous one, and even New York – but in my defence, I haven’t ventured to the east of London, and haven’t even visited the US yet.
We arrived late afternoon, checked in to our accommodation, and immediately dropped our gear and wandered around the pier. The light was so magical as it lingered for hours… I don’t often find I have the opportunity to take that many photos while the light is still perfect, so I really does stick in my mind.
Although we missed Snowdonia, we did make our way to the next castle we stumbled across – Dolwyddlan Castle. This castle was situated on private property, and with very little signage it was a little confusing. We arrived just as a farmer was loading in hundreds of sheep into a truck and as the skies opened up. We soon got directions and made us way past the farm house and on a windy wet path – seemingly in the wrong direction. The path was slippery, so we jumped between the grass, gravel and path to make sure we didn’t slip. Once we got past the mini rainforest, we had to cross the field. So close to the castle I then managed to completely stack it. I slipped backwards and just managed to avoid a humongous and still warm cowpat right next to my hand. Slightly bruised tailbone, I swallowed my pride we finally explored the castle. There wasn’t really all that much left of the main building, but we carefully made our way up a small set of stairs into the ruins. And this was the view that we were struck with. I only had chocolate type 100 film loaded into my 180, and although it works perfectly with the texture and mode of the location, it doesn’t do justice to my memory of the colour of the scenery.
Wales, you’re definitely on my list of places to visit again. I just don’t feel like I saw enough of your beauty!