Monday, 10 November 2008

Weekend break to Wales **pic heavy**

This last weekend we decided to drive to Wales before we leave the UK. The Rockstar has always wanted to go-maybe he feels a connection. Anyway, so we hired a car on Friday morning, got up at the crack of dawn and made the trek up. It was a 6 hour drive which is pretty long and seeing that I had to do all the driving.
Most the drive up was uneventful until we actually entered Wales and suddenly the landscape changes, hills appear and everything is greener. And with all the leaves changing on the trees, it really was spectacular!!
This was one of the first really awesome sights that we saw!

The wind was absolutely HOWLING though and moi decided to get out to take a picture! I nearly died! WOW!!! It was sooo cold and windy and the camera actually blew right out of my hands, giving me a nice bruise on my hand. But beautiful!! The Rockstar couldn't even get out of the car as he was on the receiving end of the wind and couldn't get the door open! Pahahahaha!!

So I hopped back in the car, heating on full blast and continued on our drive. Our destination was Llanberis which is on Lake Padarn. We stayed here....

Good old fashioned B&B with a great breakfast and Henry...

Oh I did love Henry!! He was the friendliest cat ever and just wanted to visit and flirt and play! And he's so photogenic too! Just look how sophisticated he looks with his legs crossed. A real gentleman!!!

So after arriving we went down to the lake.
The area was well known for it's slate mining for many years. Hence everything here is built of slate. It also give the water in the lake a lovely blue hue. After the mine closed, the village was pretty much deserted until a hydro power station was built into the mountain using the water from a lake above and below to generate power. We went on a tour of the power station which was pretty interesting. Unfortunately we weren't allowed any personal belongings due to safety reasons so no pics. But you enter the facility through a tunnel mouth and then just drive down and down and down into the belly of the mountain. Great tour guide! Even if you weren't interested in power generation at the start, this guy had us listening intently. Really good!!
Across from the power station and lake, is Dolbadarn castle.

Great place for views across the valley and a great castle too!

We then took a drive across the lake to the actual slate quarry. It's rather forlorn now, deserted and almost sad, but still beautiful. There is a slate museum that tell the whole history of slate mining in the area as well as the old hospital...

and the mortuary...eeeeekkkk....

Oh and this is the actual quarry. It's really gorgeous in there.

The next day I persuaded the Rockstar to go to the Trefriw Woollen Mills not far from Llanberis. They manufacture products from welsh wool. So naturally I had to buy this...

It's woven from the local wool.

2 Skeins of pure Welsh wool in aran weight and colour ocean...beautiful. It's a bit hard but I'm sure I can sort that out. I just love the colour though!!!
The store did have a small section devoted to knitting with some yarn, looms and the like..

They also had some antique swifts from Scandinavia and the UK.
Sorry for the bad pic but they were high up in bad lighting.

From there we headed north west to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.......WOW!!!! It's the name of the local train station and means St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave. I did try to pronounce it but we just cracked up with laughter. Go to wiki here to hear what it should sound like. There weren't much else to look at and we headed out to Caernarfon next.

There we found a LARGE castle right on the waters edge. It was here that Charles, the Prince of Wales had his investiture-big word!! I had to look that one up myself! Haha!
The castle is pretty awesome with towers on the corners which you can climb. And some really REALLY green grass in the middle.

And lastly we rushed over to Portmeirion- an italian style resort village in Wales??!! It's strangely continental-as in European as opposed to the UK with all the brightly coloured buildings and lain-out gardens.
We had a great sunday roast at the hotel before driving back.

The drive back was another story on its own as we were hit by torrential downpours and flooding roads. I was driving with my nose practically against the windscreen, trying to see the road and on the look-out for floods. Needless to say, it took us over 7 hours to get home!!! YIKES!!
Anyway, so I leave you with this....

PAH!!! BLOODY INTERNET IS CRAP! OK I will load these last few pics's just not happening tonight.


adolfo said...

For great family hotel breaks, Wales Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort has something for all the family to enjoy whether it's activity breaks, a leisure breaks or to enjoy our excellent golf and spa facilities.
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Aberdonian said...

Fantastic pics! I really want to go to Wales one day.

Mish said...

I can definitely recommend it. Just be prepared for rain. That explains why everything is green! Haha!