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Tag Archives: adventure

UK Trip Day 7: July 20/14

21 Sep

Just a quick recap for Day 6 of vacation, after the cliff jumping I got a taxi ride back to the B&B had a quick shower and went to the attached cafe for lunch where I devoured fish n chips, Mmm! πŸ™‚ I didn’t have anything else planned for the rest of that day, I wanted to wait and see how I felt. I was told there was an interesting lighthouse that people liked to go to, you can climb all the way to the top but I just wasn’t feelin it, ya know? Normally I’d have been all over that lighthouse excursion but after lunch I went back to my room and napped lol Yes, that is right, I napped. I was exhausted! I think not just from the cliff jumping but the whole week, I think it caught up to me and knowing that I had my own room (no more hostels, woot!), and knowing that starting the next day I’d be surrounded by family, my body decided forget climbing a hill and then a bunch of steps, it was time for sleeeeeep.

Some might say I wasted that afternoon and evening, but I don’t feel I did. I worried a bit that evening I’d regret not having done something once I no longer had the chance but nope, I still don’t regret it. I made endless cups of tea in my room, took my time packing and getting organized, had that lovely nap, watched some tv, read some of my book, went on facebook cause that was one of the only places in Wales I’d had internet and well, that’s pretty much it, shrug. Heck, I even went to bed early! *gasp*

July 20th aka Day 7

I wasn’t sure how long it would take to drive to Manchester from Holyhead Wales so I decided I should probably leave around 9am. My rental car was due back hmm…noon or 12:30pm, somewhere around there and I was worried what would happen if I was late. I went to the cafe for breakfast and when the lady took my order she commented that she noticed the day prior I hadn’t eaten the bacon or sausage, I apologized and told her I forgot to mention to her I don’t eat pork. She seemed so worried I wouldn’t have enough to eat so with my full Welsh breakfast she didn’t bother with the pork but instead I got an extra egg and some fried mushrooms, yum! I dallied a bit over breakfast, had an extra cup of tea, basically did whatever I could to stay longer. I really didn’t want to leave.

I didn’t want to leave The Beach Hut B&B (seriously, nicest people ever!). I didn’t want to leave Wales (I fell in love with that country). I didn’t want to leave that section of my vacation (I learned I looooove going on vacation alone, who’d of thunk it? lol). I just didn’t want to leave, sigh. But leave I did, and only a tad behind schedule. πŸ™‚

Thanks to the wifi at The Beach Hut I looked up directions to the Manchester airport the night before and wrote down quite possibly the most detailed directions anybody in the history of the world has ever written lol Oh, and Dave being the awesome man that he is, when I was partway down one of the flights of stairs with my stupid heavy suitcase he saw and came rushing up the stairs to take it from me! When I said not to worry he made a comment, I don’t have the exact quote or anything, but it was something like of course he would help and I should have come and got him because of course he’d have brought it down all the stairs and not just the final flight of them. Love that man! πŸ™‚

I said bye, told them I had a great stay and I loved the place, loaded up the car and *sniffle* left Holyhead. 😦

I was so sad to be leaving I took pictures while driving, *rolls eyes at self*

I was so sad to be leaving I took pictures while driving, *rolls eyes at self*

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Driving back towards Manchester I was much more confident on the highways, heck, even on the little roads and within city limits. At the beginning of the trip, when I was leaving Manchester and on my way to Llanberis I wasn’t sure of the speed limits anywhere so I am sure I was going slower than I needed to. On this leg of the drive not only was I more comfy driving on the left side of the road, and more comfy with the style of driving over there, I was also more used to the road sign placement so I actually noticed signs in enough time to read them properly which meant I knew the speed limit, yay! This meant I got to Manchester waaaaaaaay earlier than I predicted lol

Returning the rental car was thankfully a lot easier than the ordeal I went through picking it up – if you don’t know what ordeal I am referring to feel free to clickΒ hereΒ to read all about it. I had to fill out a form when I dropped the car off, there were all these questions asking about how happy I was with the service etc. I chose to fill out the form truthfully, and then when I was giving it back to the lady at the returns section of the lot I mentioned I had a horrible experience at pick up and now that I’ve told the truth on my form I was probably going to get charged for something (damage to the car that I didn’t do etc) because the powers that be within the company would be unhappy with the review I gave. She said no, she was the one who assessed returning vehicles and she promised she wouldn’t charge me for anything just because I wrote the truth on the form. I wasn’t sure if I trusted her, which is horrible to say, but it is true, shrug. I never did get random charges by them on my credit card and I even got an email asking me to fill out a longer online survey because they heard I had an unpleasant experience. I filled out the form and their response was that next time I rent a car from them I can get a discount. I won’t ever be renting a car from them again, but the offer is nice.

All this time I’ve been talking about the car, I don’t think I ever put a picture up of it, here ya go…

The little Kia that got me through Northern Wales

The little Kia that got me through Northern Wales

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It really was a cute little car, great for the tiny roads. It handled well and was comfy, go Kia! πŸ™‚

I had time to kill waiting for family to pick me up, originally it was going to be Sue, who when I was younger I used to call Aunt Sue even though she is my cousin cause she was an adult and I wasn’t and it is polite to have a prefix in front of an older than you family members name but now that I am all grown up I just call her Sue…actually…most of the time I found ways to get around calling her her name cause I felt a little odd calling her Sue but she’s not my Aunt so I can’t call her Aunt Sue anymore and well, it was kinda awkward lol By the end of the trip I got it sorted out though lol So anyways! She was going to pick me up but then I got a phone call from her son Liam saying he was picking me up, along with Samantha (his sister), and Bryan (Sam’s son)…still with me? πŸ˜‰

Liam ended up calling me from the car cause they were lost and needed me to give them directions to where I was waiting (I was at the car rental office) which I thought was hilarious cause I have absolutely nooooo sense of direction, however! I had my freakishly detailed handwritten notes I had made for how to get to the car rental place from Holyhead so I read off to him the section of the notes that were pertinent to him and eventually he found me, well, they found me. πŸ™‚

It was great seeing family, and it seemed almost magical how for a week I’d been travelling on my own and sorting things out by myself and all of a sudden I was in a car with people who had my back, aaaaaand who understood much better than I how everything worked lol Finally! People who could answer all my random questions about all the odd little things I’d been noticing but had nobody to comment to about them lol Oh, and even better, someone to drive who knew (roughly) where they were going. What a relief!

To be continued…dun dun dun… πŸ˜‰

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UK Trip Day 5: July 18/14 Part 2

8 Sep

After the mining expedition ended I followed the nice people who were headed in the same direction as I and managed to get to Holyhead. I warned them I drive slow on the narrow, windy roads and they assured me they did also. Lemme tell ya, their idea of slow and my idea of slow, totally different! lol

My final stop in Wales was Holyhead which is on the island of Anglesey. It’s a cute, tiny town that unfortunately is struggling a bit, at least that is how it seemed in the areas I saw. There were a lot of closed pubs and shops which is too bad cause it was a pleasant place and I swear I met the nicest people in the world there. Or at least the nicest people in Wales lol

I realized once I got in to town I had an address for the B&B I was booked in at but had no idea how to find that address, oops! Oh and yes, you read that right, a B&B, no more hostels for moi! Not that the hostels weren’t awesome but I was oh so ready to have a room to my own and not need to share a washroom lol πŸ˜›

Turns out I didn’t need to worry about finding the place, I drove in to town on the main road and was following it through town when I came upon the B&B, it was just there, like it was meant to be!

The B&B is called The Beach Hut and if you ever want to find it the address is 4 Hibernia Terrace, their website is http://www.thebeachhut.me.uk They have completely reasonable prices, a view of the ocean (admittedly the view is slightly marred by traffic going on and off of the ferries but really, how often do you stare out the window while on vacation?), breakfast is included in the price (a full Welsh of course! lol), people who go above and beyond to make you feel welcome and to help you out and while the room I was in was small, it was beautifully decorated, had everything I needed and more and the bed was super comfy! πŸ˜€

If it seems I am going on and on about this place, well, I am, but it is worth all the praise I can heap on it lol

The B&B rooms are over top of a cafe that is part of the B&B, I climbed 2 or 3 long flights of stairs to get to my room and Dave, the owner was sooooo nice, he carried my suitcase the whole way up! I am incapable of packing light, that poor man having to carry that bag, I felt bad for him. He and his wife (least, I think it’s his wife) made sure I was settled in, gave me directions to the nearest pub so I could grab dinner, answered my questions about directions for where I needed to be in the morning and then left me be.

My evening wasn’t all that exciting, but I was ok with that. I had a shower, reveled in not having to rush cause it was myyyyy bathroom lol found the pub, had an ok dinner, was a little sad the pub wasn’t like the pubs you see in movies depicting pubs in the UK, this one was quiet, pretty low key, shrug. When I got back to the room I repacked the suitcase, got everything I would need for the morning ready and had an early night. It was so glorious to be able to stretch out in a full sized bed, to enjoy a pile of pillows, cuddle under a duvet.

I had to be up early to be at my next days adventure so I watched a bit of tv, finally was able to go online cause I was somewhere that had wifi aaaaaand passed out lol

Best B&B Ever!

Best B&B Ever!

My view

My view

Remember in my last post I said I learned a lot during the mining expedition and would share some of that next post? Well here ya go! lol

– the mining town was created by the mining company, the houses were rented to the miners and a freakishly large amount of people lived in each small house

– the miners were paid in a combo of cash and credits, the credits could be used at the mining company store only

– miners were responsible for buying their own mining equipment, which they could buy from the mining company, putting themselves in debt to the mining company…seeing a trend here?

– boys as young as ten were working in the mines, they were used for a variety of jobs, they were trained so young because the average miner died by his mid 30’s leaving his sons behind to support the family…basically the entire family was like indentured servants to the mining company

– to save money the miners would use shorter than recommended fuses for the bombs, the kids were the ones who would light the short fuses then run for cover, they were faster than adults so had a better chance of not getting blown up

– the miners spent all day in the mine, didn’t even go outside for lunch, usually there was a small canteen type shop in the mine, run by one of the miners wives or daughters where they could buy a hot drink and simple meal, they ate by candlelight but the caverns are so large and candles so precious they were in mostly dark even when eating

– there is an underground lake in the mine that is freakishly deep and drowning was a legit concern

– approx 95% of the slate hauled out of that mine was thrown away once it saw the light of day, the slate had to be perfect and once it was in daylight and smaller flaws could been seen it would be deemed unusable, it was tossed on to the side of the mountain so now when you climb that mountain you see these strange formations that are nature growing over the piles of slate

– slate used to be used for only one or two things, not like today where it can be used for all sorts of stuff but a historical association deemed the slate on the outside of the mountain historically relevant so it can’t be taken and put to good use, it has to stay there

– when the mine was abandoned it was too hard to remove some of the larger pieces of equipment from the mine so it got left behind, when you go through there you walk along train tracks, come across equipment I don’t have names for lol there is even an old miners shoe in there, and when I say old I mean like 100 years old!

– oh! miners used to put nails in their shoes to make them last longer

As you may recall from last post I have no pictures of the inside of the mine because my camera battery died after I took two pictures at the beginning of the adventure sooooo I stole the following pics from the internet, I can promise you they are all images from the same expedition I did, they just aren’t pics taken by me nor do any of the pics have me in them, sigh. But at least you can see some of the stuff I did!

Ziplining

Ziplining

2

Abseiling

Abseiling

Crossing the underground lake

Crossing the underground lake

5

Climbing the waterfall - there was more water when I did it...

Climbing the waterfall – there was more water when I did it…

The Land Rovers they use

The Land Rovers they use

Abandoned equipment I can't remember the name of

Abandoned equipment I can’t remember the name of

Vertical air shaft you climb to get out

Vertical air shaft you climb to get out

Climbing - who'd have imagined such steep climbs inside a mine?

Climbing – who’d have imagined such steep climbs inside a mine?

comin doooown!

comin doooown!

UK Trip Day 5: July 18/14

3 Sep

Alrighty so technically I am starting this post with the tail end of Day 4 of my trip but I just couldn’t bring myself to write a post titled UK Trip Day 4: July 17/14 Part 4…4 parts seemed excessive lol πŸ˜›

After I was done eating dinner and that oh so lovely dessert (don’t know what I’m talking about? go read the previous post! lol) I called the hostel I was going to be staying at that night to see if my luggage had made it. I had requested the delivery company send it ahead to that hostel because the delivery timeline they gave me showed that is where I would be on that day, well, that night. The lady at the hostel said the best words to me I had heard all vacation “we have your luggage”. Oh my freakin gawd, my luggage! No longer lost! No longer who knows where being subjected to who knows what! My luggage just a short drive away! Happiness, oh overwhelming happiness. πŸ˜€

I quite happily got in to the rental car and started on my way to Betws-y-coed which is pronounced betta-sea-co-ed.

When I got to the town I (of course!) couldn’t find the hostel lol In my defence this particular hostel is attached to a hotel, which I didn’t know, and the signage for it isn’t all that clear. However, it is a small town, a super small town, so I pulled over near a shop with a name in the window I could see and called the hostel for directions. Got there less than five minutes later lol.

I didn’t take a picture of the outside of the hostel so I nabbed this one from the hostel’s website…Β http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/betws-y-coed

Betws-y-coed hostel

Betws-y-coed hostel

The long part you see is the hostel, farther to the right (not shown in the picture) is the hotel which is taller, more obvious, and has a large sign – maybe now you see why I overlooked it? The only picture I took of the outside of the hostel was this…

Came over to say hi!

Came over to say hi!

After I got my suitcase I immediately took it to the car and plopped it in to the trunk, I was then sorting stuff, seeing if everything was still in the bag etc when this little guy came over to welcome me to the neighbourhood. I don’t have much experience with birds like this so I was a tad worried it was going to try to peck me to death or steal my food or something but all it did was hang out for a bit before leaving me for more interesting sights…which fyi was a cute guy over at his car lol

It felt so amazing to have my own things again, *happy sigh*. I was able to take a shower using my own items, blow dry my hair for the first time on this trip, basically look normal for the first time on this trip lol I was tired after a long day in the sun and not really looking for any company so only chatted with one of the girls in my room. It was a four person room with two bunk beds, I was the last one there so I got stuck with a top bunk. I showered, got organized, crawled in to my bunk and basically passed out lol I woke during the night not feeling well, too much sun, which gave me a bit of a worry cause I didn’t want to be heat stroked the next day but I fell back asleep and by the time morning came I was doing ok. Not great but ok. I had a lovely sunburn and was cursing myself for not being smarter the day before lol

This was the first day I didn’t have a full Welsh breakfast, my tummy just wasn’t up for it, instead I had the “healthy breakfast option” from the menu. This hostel was the same as the other in that you could pay for breakfast in advance, which I did, it was served in a dining room that looked like it did double duty as a pub.

My healthy breakfast.

My healthy breakfast.

I of course had tea and juice with the breakfast, and actually, before I got served this I had a small bowl of cereal. I was really worried I wouldn’t have enough energy to get through the day but this turned out to be a nice size. πŸ™‚

After breakfast I walked across the street to Swallow Falls, its this little park area you have to pay a pound, maybe a pound and twenty five pence I can’t quite recall, to get in to and then you have some little walkways you can follow to get a beautiful view of the waterfall. There were steps going down, then up (obviously) as well as some benches set up so you could just sit and enjoy. It was amazingly beautiful. πŸ™‚ I went on a whim and am so glad I did. After I wandered all the paths and saw all the various views of the waterfall I sat on one of the benches and just…sat. It was such a peaceful area and I was so calm within myself.

I don’t know how to describe what I felt at that moment except complete and utter peace. I was calm, the area was calm, the sounds of the water was soothing, I didn’t have to be anywhere, I was disconnected from the world (literally since I had no data plan and hadn’t brought my phone with me on the short walk), it was as if I had found some inner quiet, become one with myself, it is the most centered I have ever felt in my life.

I ended up sitting there for at least a half an hour. I didn’t want to leave but I was worried I’d be late for my next adventure so off I went. I wish I could go back, sigh.

The sign for Shannon Falls

The sign for Swallow Falls

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I thought this couple was cute so I took a pic of them on the down low lol

I thought this couple was cute so I took a pic of them on the down low lol

The view from the bench, I could have sat there for hours.

My view from the bench, I could have sat there for hours.

Aaaaand as I was inserting these pics I noticed I did take a pic of the hotel/hostel, yay me! I took it when I was leaving the waterfall area and was across the street…

This part is technically the hotel, not the hostel.

This part is technically the hotel, not the hostel.

After my time at the waterfall I headed off to my next adventure, which really was my first big adventure since I didn’t get to climb Mt Snowdon…not that I’m still bitter about that or anything… πŸ˜‰

I went to the meeting spot for a caving expedition I signed up for. The company I went with is called Go Below Underground Adventures, their website is www.go-below.co.uk and if you are ever in a position to go on an adventure with this company all I can say is go! Go! Goooooo!

You meet up beside Conwy Falls Cafe which is 2 miles south of Betws-y-coed. For the caving expedition they recommend bringing a packed lunch and the cafe provides them if you want to get one from there. Since I had nowhere else to get one from I bought mine there and it was totally worth it. There was a delish sandwich that was huge, chips, water and cake, Mmm!

Go Below provides you with rubber boots (or wellies as they call them), helmet and harness gear. You are responsible for bringing a small backpack to hold your food and water, a waterproof jacket and clothes easy to move in that won’t get heavy when they get wet.

After they go through a safety presentation and show you how to clip on and off the safety ropes with your harness you head off in a Land Rover to the base of the mountain.

Sidestory! When I was in the cafe I asked for directions to Holyhead since that would be my next destination and I was worried the cafe would be closed when we got back and I wouldn’t be able to ask. A group of three people overheard me and they also were doing the Go Below adventure, we started chatting and they said after the caving expedition if I wanted to I could follow them because while they weren’t going all the way to Holyhead they were going really close and they’d make sure I took the proper route. How awesome is that?!?!

Back to the adventure! lol

You get out of the Land Rover and have a hike up the mountain to the entrance of the mine. It was incredible, it looks so different from the hiking environment I am used to lol I kept wanting to stop to look more closely at things but there wasn’t time. The guide was really nice, talked a lot about the area, explaining the history of the place. Also, fyi, there are these things that look like four leaf clovers that only grow in the forest, if you eat them they taste like licorice!

The forest

The forest – some of the trees were completely covered with moss.

After about a half hour hike, mostly going up, you get to the mine entrance. From the inside looking out it looks like…

The little part at the bottom, with the smaller bars, that opens and you crawl through.

The little part at the bottom, with the smaller bars, that opens and you crawl through.

Sadly, that is the last of my pictures from this adventure, sigh. My camera battery died. 😦 There was a couple in the group from Scotland that took my picture at the end and said they’d email me pics but they haven’t. I was holding out hope for a while, but now it’s pretty much gone, sadness.

When you are in the mine you walk, climb, crawl, cross a zipline and traverses, climb rock faces, boat across a lake, abseil off ledges, climb a waterfall and to get out you climb a vertical air shaft where you then pop out of the side of the mountain and blink like a mole seeing sunlight for the first time ever cause you’ve been in a mine for about 5 hours lol. Oh, and then you have to climb down the mountain lol πŸ˜›

It was amazing! So much fun! Challenging in parts but what is an adventure without some challenges? There was one part where I thought I was an idiot for signing up for this, that would be when I was climbing along the side of the rock face using such small rock ledges to step on that only my toes fit and I could hardly see them in the dim lighting, oh and the finger holds were so small and hard to see that I was certain I was going to fall off in to a pit. I mean yeah, I had safety gear on and was attached to a line but that doesn’t matter in the moment ya know? But! I didn’t fall, I conquered! wOOt! πŸ˜€

You stop in about the middle to eat your packed lunch, everyone turns off their helmet lights and you eat by candlelight to see what it would have been like for the miners – those miners, wow, I don’t know how they did it!

I learned all kinds of interesting things from the guide but this post is already ridiculously long, a trend I am noticing with my holiday posts lol so I’ll tell you all that random stuff in the next post. πŸ™‚

A Quick Note From Northern Wales

18 Jul

Yup, you read that title right, I’m in Northern Wales! Specifically, right this moment I am in Holyhead sitting on my bed in a nice little B&B about to go to sleep. Wales is like a little slice of calm and happiness and I’m quite enjoying my adventure. πŸ™‚

I had intended to write a post at the end of every day while on vacation and share my trip with you but a severe lack of wifi impeded that lovely intention. Hey, I’m staying in little towns, whatcha gonna do? Lol

I can’t wait to get some of my pictures up on here so you can see what I’ve been getting up to!…buuuut that won’t be tonight as I have to get up at 7am to go coasteering (so so so excited!) and I don’t wanna wait up the unknown amount of time it will take to get my pictures from my memory card to my iPad to my Dropbox to here lol oy! So many steps! lol

But trust me, they’ll be up soon and it won’t take long before you’re sick of my writing about Wales lol πŸ˜›

Stay tuned to hear, well…read, about my adventure, I think you’ll enjoy it! πŸ˜€

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