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Llandudno, Snowdonia, Lake Vyrnwy

Home -> Europe -> United Kingdom -> Travelogue United Kingdom -> 05 & 06 September 2005

Monday 05 September, Llandudno, Snowdonia, Lake Vyrnwy

Alice in Wonderland Alice in WonderlandIt is raining when we get up and still when we arrive in Llandudno, on the north coast, near Conwy.
Alice Liddell, the girl that inspired Lewis Caroll to write Alice in Wonderland, often stayed in her youth in Llandudno on holiday and later her father build a house for their family where they lived for 11 years. The Alice in Wonderland center is a small house where several stories are being depicted. It is very nicely done and part of the stories are being told in several languages.
When we step outside it is dry and we can sit outside to drink a cup of coffee. We make a short walk through the town and then take a steep road to the nearby coppermine which was exploited already in prehistoric times. We look around in the visitor center but we have seen enough mines the last few days and skip this one. We drive on to the highest mountain of Wales, the Snowdon.
Llanberis pass Llanberis passA very good road takes us over the Llanberis pass where mist is covering the mountainsides. We are curious how it will be on the Snowdon and if it will be even worth to go up with this weather. When we arrive in the village we are relieved to see that it is much quieter than last week when there were long waiting lines before the railway station. But this time the price of a trip scares us away: 20 pounds per person to for a trip of 2½ hours! That is € 60 for us together, 130 old Dutch guilders! We decide we feel quite happy also without this experience, especially since the mountainsides of the Snowdon are also covered in mist.
Llanberis pass Snowdonia National ParkWe turn around and drive further to the south to see more of the Snowdonia National Park. Naturally, we take the smallest roads we can find and we come through very different sceneries: bare mountain tops, prairie-like plateaus, but also very green meadows or very rough landscapes. Even the sky is alternately blue, misty or full of dark clouds.
Snowdonia National Park Snowdonia National ParkThe sheep here have very long tales, almost touching the ground, a different kind of sheep than we have seen in other parts of Great Britain, very funny since it looks as if they have 5 legs. From Bala we take a narrow road through a high pass with breathtaking views and then go down to drive around Lake Vyrnwy which is surrounded by woods. This area is of exceptional beauty and we are glad it is relatively quiet on the roads.
Lake Vyrnwy Lake VyrnwyNear the south point of the lake we suddenly see a castle tower, the Twr Hidlo Llyn Efyrnwy (no, don't ask us how to pronounce that, Welsh is still quite incomprehensible for us), or the Straining Tower. Would it be a water tower? It is owned by the waterworks. Whatever its purpose, it is beautifully situated on the edge of the lake, alos seen from the nearby bridge.
DolgellauAnd so we drive on for many more hours through this great scenery. In Dolgellau we stop to have dinner and Elisabeth gets real spinach soup, which I may finish eventually. Only a pity the spinach is still raw... the sun is still shining and we sit outside, but it gets colder quickly now. It takes us two more hours to return to the campsite where we stay in our warm and comfy car to read a bit.

Tuesday 06 September 2005, to Shrewsbury and back to Wales

The sun is shining when we wake up but the tent is still very wet and we want to have it dry when we leave. So it is quite late, after eleven, when we finally leave the campsite. It is very busy on the road and it takes hours to finally reach Shrewsbury just outside Wales.
Shrewsbury ShrewsburyShrewsbury is a nice town, but after an hour and a half, we have seen enough. We wanted to see it because the stories of the medieval detective-monk Cadfael are situated here (in the books of Ellis Peters) which we like very much. Naturally, we even have some books of this series with us.
ShrewsburyAnother inhabitant, a real one, of Shrewsbury was Charles Darwin, who was born here. A bust of him can be found before the library, facing the castle.
After this visit we drive through the English area bordering Wales, Shropshire. But after an hour or so, we long for the hills of Wales and drive back into that direction.
This time we go south of the Snowdonia park to the west, since we want to see more of the northern part of Wales. The sky has become very clouded and grey and therefore we forget to take pictures, which is a shame, since there are quite a lot of pretty landscapes on the way we take from Newton to Machynlleth (not the A470 but smaller roads like the B4518). From there we take the A493 which leads us along the coast to Tywyn where we want to turn to the north. But in the beginning of the village is a long line of vehicles waiting, and a bit further lots of police cars and a helicopter. A serious accident has happened and it will take at least two hours before the road will be clear again. So we see no other option than turn around.
On roads like these, accidents happen easily, since there are many sharp turns and it is busy with traffic. We have often seen situations that only just went well. Driving all the way back costs us a lot of time, so we change our plans once more. We decide to stay two nights in this area instead of one, to have some extra time to look around and enjoy this region.
Sunset at HarlechMeanwhile, the sun is hining brightly again and it has become very warm, almost 29 degrees! After a delicious meal on the terrace of a hotel (near the junction of the A487 and the B4405, we can recommend you to have a meal there), we drive to Harlech where we have stayed last week already for one night at the Queens hotel, standing under the large castle. We are lucky they have a room available for two nights.
Castle of HarlechWe are just in time to see the sunset and after that we take a refreshing shower. The facilities on the campsite at Caernarfon were not so bad, but in a hotel we feel we can get totally clean again and stay clean... It feels different, more luxurious, and we enjoy it.


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