Friday, September 2, 2011

Dolgellau to Conwy, North Wales

Friday September 2, 2011
We woke up to the charms of Emma, our beautiful yet nanny-like host of the family-owned Royal Ship hotel in Dolgellau, bringing us morning coffee and shewing us away so she could make our beds. After yet another full English breakfast of bacon, beans, sausage, fried eggs and grilled tomatoes, we headed north-west driving through what must surely be a page right out of JR Tolkiens "Lord of the Rings".  Small villages with names such Gwynedd, Dolgarrog, Porthmadog,  Ffestiniog, Llanelltyd, and Rhinogydd – all real names of towns we have come through and many more pronounced by the locals with what sounds like the clearing of one’s throat and a lisp!  We drove for several hours up through the rolling Welsh countryside, sheep fields separated by rock hedges that run right up over the mountains, purple and white heather blooms all along the road and by noon we came to yet another impenetrable fortress called Harlech, which we penetrated and explored for about an hour. From the watch towers we enjoyed our first views of the Irish Sea and an east wind which took my cap off and blew it into the courtyard.

From there we drove north crossing our first toll bridge at Porthmadog where we had a coffee, shopped the streets and toured the local church  (St. Johns).  We were able to gain access through an unlocked basement door and had a good look around, sinners as we were. The good thing was that we were able to take eachothers' confessions, though we must sin no more from here on in.

From there, we went on to Caernarfon which is a gargantuan walled city with a castle that took us the rest of the day to see.  After infiltrating it straight through the gate house, we ran up the many circular stairs to every tower and walked all of the great hallways, through great rooms with timbers as big as trees come. Pretending to shoot our long bows out the murder holes and leaping from wall to wall like two eight year olds, we finished our tour with a sword fight on top of the King’s gate.  Oh what fun.  We are having the time of our lives; Each new day an adventure. This was the very castle that Queen Elizabeth got married in and saying we were awestruck would be an understatement. For a first souvenir, I bought myself a Welsh bath towel in the form of the Welsh Flag (A red dragon on a white and green background).

By late afternoon, and now having fun arguments in passable Welsh, we had lunch at the Angesley Pub enjoying Steak and Ale Pudding with pees in gravy and mashed potatoes along with a wee nip or two of Guinness.  Tyler still wears his trustee wooden sword on his side and the locals continue to look at him suspiciously.

Leaving Caernarfon, we drove on and entered yet another walled city called Conwy where we parked, safely inside the walls and found a B&B. For dinner, we dropped down to a local pub and had "sausages and hash" with the essential pees floating in a delicious dark and beefy gravy.

Heather - Blooming in Wales

For tomorrow!