Save the Welsh (Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons)

Trip Start Dec 07, 2008
Trip End Jan 02, 2009

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Friday, December 19, 2008

With a few extra days before Hamlin needed to fly back to Belgium, we made the decision to fill the time by seeing a little of Wales. It would only be a day and half, so little being the operative word.

Leaving Liverpool, we crossed over the border into Wales. Our primary aim at this point was to find somewhere out of the way, to park and spend the night. However, the northern waterfront of Wales seemed like one long, brightly lit boulevard with towns bleeding into each other and nowhere to pull over and stop the car. It had a surreal America circa 1950s feel to it. Lots of neon light and gaming parlors. We ended up spending the night in the hills outside Conwy. Conwy seemed like an interesting little town and also a convenient jumping off point for the National Park.

We were woken at 2:30am by Welsh policemen knocking on the window. They didn't have a problem with us staying there, they just wanted to check that the car wasn't stolen. Considering how many nights we had slept out it was surprising that it hadn't happened earlier.
Up early to explore Conwy the next morning, we walked the length of the old town walls which led us down to the water. The old walls are still practically intact except for the removal of a small section allowing the modern road into the town. Next to the road is the old Conwy Castle. Such was the standard of this castle that we actually paid money to go inside it. Walking though all the old rooms, it was hard to imagine how it must have looked and functioned back in the time when is was inhabited. These days, all the roofing is long gone except for in a few of the towers which have been restored. As a kid, this was what I had imagined old British castles to be like. 

Later that morning we drove West into Snowdonia National Park. We attempted to have a look at Snowdonia Mountain, however it was shrouded in fog, something that we would not be able to escape whilst in Wales. Next stop was Swallow Falls, a roaring waterfall that looked too intense for white water rafting this time of year. We also drove by Llyn Ogwen and walked up to Llyn Idwal, which was a hidden lake with huge hills surrounding it. Snowdonia National Park is absolutely beautiful. I was lamenting having so little time there. I could have easily spent another few days.

We made a short detour to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in the afternoon, the Welsh town with the longest name in the UK. Also the longest internet domain name as I found out later.

We traveled south to Brecon to stay the night in a whole new national park. Brecon Beacons National Park is so named because they used to light fires on the mountain tops to send warning signals along the coast and inland. We did a little driving the next morning, but it was difficult to see anything as the dreaded fog was hanging around. I'm sure it would have been nice, not that we could tell.  We ended up at Talybont Reservoir. I think we saw some sort of lake or river every day since we left.

In the late morning it was time to head back to London. It would only take a few hours and I was due for another shower. We covered a total of 2466 miles in just over two weeks. No flat tyres, or breakdowns. The car was brilliant start to finish. Hamlin also did well to put up with me for two weeks in confined quarters without anyone else to talk to other than the odd tourist we would see every few days. Massive effort and a great travel buddy.

It was the end of our trip and Hamlin was heading flying out the next day. But it wasn't the last of my time in Scotland.
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