Conwy & Snowdonia National Park

Day 3 started with a trip to what is affectionally known as ‘The Ugly House’.  According to its website, some legends say it was built by robbers and thieves, taking advantage of travellers on the road as they journeyed through Snowdonia – ugly people that gave the house a fearsome reputation. Others say the name is a corruption of the name of the river burbling away on the other side of the road, the Llugwy which flows from near Ogwen to join the river Conwy. Who knows, really.

Next up we went to the town of Conwy, which also happened to have my favourite castle in all of the UK, Conwy Castle.  It was built by Edward I during his conquest of Wales between 1283 – 1289.

Next was a fun stop in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, one of the longest place names in the world.

Wales 3 (69)

Wales 3 (72)

Where we also had a view of the Menai Bridge and Strait. It’s said that Lewis Carroll spent time here , for it appears in Through the Looking Glass.

“I heard him then, for I had just
Completed my design
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.

Wales 3 (73)

Our next stop sure was a beautiful one.  We took a little break in Snowdonia National Park to do a little hike.  We took the miner’s path (opened in 1832) down to Llyn Glaslyn, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  There are tons of other hikes to take, ranging in difficulty, but absolutely worth a visit.

And we got a great group shot too:

Wales 3 (108)

Our final destination of the day was Caernarfon, which is a beautiful port town on the Menai Strait, which my new friends and I were happy to explore.

Counties

Clawyd
Ugly House
Conwy

Gwynedd
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Snowdonia
Caernarfon

 

Brecon Beacons, Hay-on-Wye & Dinas Bran

Day 2 was unforgettable. We drove through the Brecon Beacons mountain range, named after the (ancient) practice of lighting signal fires (beacons) on mountains to warn of attacks by invaders, and ended up in Hay-on-Wye, the world famous second hand book capital of Britain.  Literally there were second hand bookstores everywhere, and everyone had a sale! I didn’t have room to carry around books, but I did bond with a few of my fellow passengers.

On top of having books, it also had a beautiful river that I stopped at, in order to continue practicing my stone throwing skills.

Our next stop was the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct, which is the world’s largest cast iron aquaduct. It had the most amazing views, and was wide enough for us to walk across.

Wales 2 (22)

Next up was Castell Dinas Bran, a medieval castle standing high on a hill above the town of Llangollen.  And when they say on a hill they mean it.  About half way up I got discouraged, and our guide motivated me the rest of the way.  I’m not sure I would have made it without her, and it was definitely worth it.  She also encouraged me to climb the ruins, like the rest of the group.

For mythology fans out there, it’s said that this is where fairy king Gwyn ap Nudd holds his court.

Our final stop of the day was at a rural Welsh farmhouse in Corwen, where we all pitched in to get dinner ready, whether it was chopping the wood for the barbecue or preparing food.  It was delicious, and I especially loved roasting the marshmallows over the fire pit at the end of the evening.

Most of this trip was spent driving across the country, which is bigger than it may appear.  But all the scenery is beautiful so I didn’t mind.  But I had learned not to take pictures through glass windows, so there are generally less photos to see.

Counties

Powys
Brecon Beacons
Hay-on-Wye

Clwyd
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Castell Dinas Bran
Corwen