North Wales, Ty Beulah and beyond

Trip Start Jul 17, 2009
Trip End Aug 02, 2009

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Where I stayed
Ty Beulah ("ty" means cottage)

Flag of United Kingdom  , Wales,
Saturday, July 18, 2009

After a bit of trouble getting our rental car at the airport we were off.  Donna helped remind me to stay on the left side,  the expressway was not a problem,  it was getting used to the round-abouts, the foreign road signs (in both English and Welsh!), and crossing to the left lane as I turned a corner...   The roads within the cities / villages are extremely narrow and people park every which way!  Confusing as hell...  We actually haven't figured out all the road signs yet,  so basically I just ignore them and proceed cautiously. :>)  As an example: the one-way signs are blue with a white arrow pointing towards heaven - and they're only half the size we're used to in the U.S. Actually, the road signs on the highways ("motorways") are quite good, but within the older villages can be very challenging because either there aren't any, or they are not very distinctive!  We spotted many of the signs mostly hidden by ivy or hedge-rows! ...but I guess that's the charm of the place.

  The first few days we are visiting castles and Snowdonia.  The castles, Conwy (no "a") and Caernarfon are tremendous structures and their stories are equally impressive.  The region of Snowdonia is a National Park and has the highest mountain peak in the U.K.: Mt. Snowdon.  The whole region is a haven for bikers, walkers, climbers - and sheep.. lots of sheep,  miles and miles of sheep, both sheared and woolly. There are also cattle and horses throughout the mountain passes and valleys.  Some of the horses are certainly wild mountain ponies - either that or they're very lost and confused small horses - as they were up on some of the steepest areas of the mountains. 

At the end of every day we visit the pubs: The Valentine (pictures at a later date),  the George & Dragon,  The Yacht,  The BrynTyrch Inn,  The Highland, The Fox and Barrel...  The beers are at times a familiar taste, and at other times not at all friendly - I found that a brew called "Strongbow" tasted like a combination of champagne and beer...and vinegar!  But, found out later that it is a cider and not an ale at all!  On the other end of the spectrum, however, are Abbot Ale,  Hobgoblin, Boddington's, Worthington's, and many many, others.. Donna sometimes enjoys a Shandy (a mixture of light lager/ale... and lemonade) with me, but more often has a scotch and water.  She has found a wonderful local scotch: Famous Grouse.  All in all it's one discovery after another - we'll cover food on a later posting,  when we have tried a bit more..

Enjoy the pictures, Regards from North Wales,  Tom & Donna

First Few Days:  The country side was beautiful!  We had already driven about North Wales quite a bit when we had a visit from Tony and Pauline who live in Shrewsbury.  They had been to Llandudno many times but never up onto the Great Orme.  So, we took an excursion together, taking the tramway to the top of the mountain - the weather was rainy, windy and cold - but the trip was lots of fun, anyway!  Nothing like freezing with friends!  Tony & Pauline only came for the day, and headed home after a nice dinner together.    
Am writing this from the Shrewsbury, England, public library - wifi connections in the UK are somewhat difficult to locate, there is a Starbucks here, but not many other public or shared wifi signals.  Our last evening in Llandulas was very special,  we went back to the Valentine (just a short walk form our cottage) and things were hopping - it was Friday night!  We fell into a conversation with "Lenny" and two of his friends and spent the evening buying each other various beers and shooting the bull. They informed us that our cottage owner has the nickname "John The Baptist" because Ty Beulah is a former Baptist church and his name is John.  The range of topics covered: politics, the future of the world,  jobs, the economy and immigration - which is a very hot topic in England.  Enjoy the pictures - more will be added to this blog when Donna gets a chance to move some of the details from her diary entries to the blog.

tm (and dj)

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