07.07.2014 - 09.07.2014 18 °C
We arrived in Wales fairly late and it took us a while to find our accommodation but we eventually got it. Flew in to get changed and then ducked out to get dinner. The apartment is great in a little terrace in a little village called Trawsfynwdd. Most of the accommodation throughout the trip has been fantastic. London has been the only one that I was a bit disappointed with. We have had 15 different beds over 31 days so I suppose that is not too bad.
Our lovely blue Citroen and our 18th century welsh cottage
The village we are staying in is very scenic on a lake. It was not until we were chatting to our Welsh in laws, Myf & Non that we found out that this is close to the nuclear power station! As we were driving in Aden commented that he could see a castle in the distance.....err no that is actually the nuclear power station. There were lots of jokes about 3 eyed fish and visions of Homer Simpson at work. Later, we found out that the station has now been decommissioned.
We wanted to go to this part of Wales because we had heard Myf and Non speak about it so passionately over the years. It certainly is lovely.
We had a bit of a slow start the next morning and I let everyone have a bit of a sleep in till 9 am. Everyone is starting to get a bit tired and needed a catchup. By the time we finally got away the weather was closing in so we drove across to Penrhyndeudraeth and had a quick pic outside their old home to send back to them. Later we returned to have a drink in 'the Griffin' their local pub. We also visited the towns of Criccieth and Porthmadoc.
Eventually we got sick of driving around waiting for the weather to clear so just headed to Harlech Castle with our raincoats ready. There are lots of castles in Wales most of them were built by Edward I in the late 1200s, in order to secure his control of Wales. He formed an 'iron ring' of castles encircling North Wales. There is not that much left of the castle inside but the views are spectacular and the weather had started to fine up for us. For the golfers, the castle over looks Royal St David's Golf course.
From there we decided to drive up to Carnarfon Castle which took quite a while by the time we had stopped for lunch and went to go in it was closed I suspect the boys were not that unhappy to miss out on another castle! We wandered around the outside and then took the scenic route home through the delightful village of Beddgelert (I think) which was very quaint. It took us ages to get home because the weather had cleared and the light was beautiful and there were so many pretty places begging for photos.
We packed up the next morning and decided that we would do a tour of the Llechwedd slate cavern at Blaenau Ffestiniog. The mine is no longer in operation, it is all open cut these days. We went down 400 metres in a little cable car thingy and were shown the conditions the miners worked in. Conditions were appalling and miners were paid on a contract system by the amount of roof tiles produced from the slate they brought up and split plus a third extra to account for breakage, they worked in crews of four and had to supply their own gear, candles etc. of course there was no protection if you were injured. It was interesting and the conditions were pretty horrific. It was a chilly 6 degrees underground compared to a balmy 18 above ground. Once we were back up above ground we watched a slate splitting demonstration. Welsh slate is apparently the finest in the world and was exported all over.
Piles of waste slate and the Hitchy miners ready to 'go down'
We left Wales and headed across to Leeds to pick up the remainder of Holly's gear. The next day we explored a bit, it was nice to see Hollys accommodation and the uni. Holly met up with a friend for lunch we had a bit of a tour of Leeds before we headed south for Heathrow and the flight to Singapore tomorrow.
Holly's Leeds home away from home, Ellerslie Global Residence