Thursday, 23 August 2012

"Helo" from Mount Snowdon and North Wales

Did you think I forgot an "l" in my greeting? Not so! That is how you spell "Hello" in Welsh and it is pronounced,  hee-LOH.  We recently took a short break to the northern coast of Wales and Snowdonia National Park.  My photos are all taken with either my old iphone or ipad so the quality is not the best. I think I got some pretty good shots.

Snowdonia Mountain Railway in Llanberis, Wales
Before we left I booked tickets on the Snodonia Mountain Railway for 2pm on Saturday. The weather forecast was good for that time, but when we arrived it was still cloudy and overcast. Not great for viewing the sites. Really nothing we could do but hope for the best. We were surprised to see that the views were amazing, no matter the weather.

For our ascent to the summit, we travelled on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, first built in 1896. It is the only rack-and-pinion railway in Britain and just a little creaky.

Slate in a hill on our way into LLanberis
Got our tickets!

The views on the trip up were nothing short of spectacular. 

Here we are at the peak, it was VERY windy and scary, no hand rails or guard rails!

The clouds cleared for our descent, which made for the most beautiful photos and great video.  I posted the video I took on YouTube


We stayed overnight in Llandudno, which is a Victorian seaside resort, with a long promenade and pier that reminds you of Coney Island. We arrived here at 5pm and most things were closing which was fine, we weren't there to shop, just needed to stretch our legs before dinner. The streets were beautiful for strolling with many cast iron verandas and elegant street lamps and flowers everywhere. We walked along the promenade and out on the pier, watched the fisherman, and children catching crabs.

Our hotel, the St. George

The tide goes wwaaayyy out each day.

Alice Liddell came here on holiday. She was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's, Alice in Wonderland.  There are "Alice" wood carvings all around the town.

View from our hotel restaurant.
After a very hearty breakfast in the lovely Wedgewood Room, we started out for our first stop, Conwy.

View of Conwy and Castle from wall.
We spent a rainy Sunday morning walking around this quaint 13th century walled town. We visited the castle, built by King Edward I and walked the wall, despite the showers. There is also an active harbour area, with many fishing vessels and tourist boats. One more interesting feature is the Telford Suspension Bridge, built in 1862.

Telford Suspension Bridge

 From Conwy, we travelled northwest to the Isle of Angelsey, home of our good friends, Prince William and his wife, Kate.

Isle of Angelsey

This island has a much different topography than Snowdoina, as it is mainly flat and pastoral. We stopped in charming Beaumaris after crossing yet another suspension bridge, the Menai Suspension Bridge, built by Mr. Telford, also in 1826. He was a very busy man. 

There is small but beautiful castle surrounded by swan-filled moat, according to the guide book. No swans the day we visited. They were probably staying out of the rain!

             No sign of Will and Kate!

After tea and scones at the Spinning Wheal tea shop,  we moved on to our next stop: Betwys-y-Coed (pronounced BET-oos-uh-coyd). Rick Steves recommends a stop along the way. Its is just 5 minutes off the main road, and sounds like worth a look. He nailed it, it was breathtaking.


There are hikers and ramblers galore in this beautiful stop (and quite a few tour buses also). While it was a beautiful place, truly nestled in the wooded hills, there is not much besides the shopping and eating. So if you are hiking nearby and need dry socks, or get hungry, this is the place to come. We would have loved to have taken a walk in those hills, but as it was almost 5pm and we had a 3 hour drive home, it was time to get back on the road.  Next time!
This was a fantastic short trip, we are looking forward to returning to this area to walk the hills and take in a garden. Hwyl, Cymru! Goodbye, Wales!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Charlton Kings- Our Town

I have been getting to know our little village and find that I can get most anything I need here. I thought you might enjoy a walk around our town.

Daily Life

The Royal is a very nice pub, may locals are regular customers. It is a friendly place with many events for families and people of all ages.

Pharmacey, coffee shop, flower shop, and small grocer are only a short walk away.

Our villiage has Co-op that is very useful when we need to pick up milk, bread etc.

We have a small but wonderful library.

Love and Marriage

This green is directly across from our house, and is sort of our front yard. It is a busy place, with dog walkers and  people who picnic there, play ball or just relax in the sunshine.

St. Mary's Church is the parish church was dedicated 1109.

To see more pictures, visit their website by clicking here
Most Saturdays, if we are home we hear the wedding bells ring from St. Mary's. Click here the watch a Youtube video of wedding bells being rung.

 Death and Eternity

The cemetery in the church yard has tombstones dating back to 12th century.


We are surrounded by the beautiful  hills.  Alfred Wainwright,a British guide book writer and illustrator, wrote,
"The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Bits, Bobs and Berries

I often have lots of time on my hands and have found that there is never a lack of activities to occupy the days. I just have to know where to look.

Recently, I picked strawberries at Primrose Farm, a local pick-your-own farm.  They had a wide variety of berries to pick including tay berries, ligon berries, gooseberries, black raspberries, strawberries, and red and black currants.

In no time I easily picked a about a kilo of strawberries. Since they grow on raised beds, no picking on bended knees, no sore back! Genius!

Three jars of strawberry jam is now on the shelf


 I also picked a pint of redcurrants, which are little jewel-like red berries that grow in clumps like grapes. They are tart and juicy, so I made some jelly for stews and gravies. Delicious!