Tag Archives: UK

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˜‰

UK Trip Day 6: July 19/14

10 Sep

This is the big day! My most exciting day! The day I was most looking forward to! πŸ™‚ I was surprised I slept at all the night before lol I woke up early, made my way down to the cafe that is attached to the B&B. The lady who helped me when checking in was manning the counter, I don’t know how she was so friendly so early in the morning but she was lol

I got my full Welsh breakfast, which by this point, was starting to seem like a normal way to start my day lol Only thing is I forgot to tell her I don’t eat pork so I ended up with a huge thing of bacon and some sausages, ugh, I ate everything but the meat, obviously.

Dave came out and I asked him for directions to where I needed to be, I was hoping it would be close enough I could walk/jog there but when I asked about that he looked at me like I was a tad cuckoo lol which is ok, lots of people look at me that way when I say I want to walk to get where I’m going lol πŸ˜›

Since I couldn’t walk/jog there I asked if they wouldn’t mind calling a cab company for me but Dave said nope, he’d give me a ride there! How awesome is that?! First he carries my super heavy suitcase then he gives me a ride to the outskirts of town, love this guy! πŸ™‚

So where was I going you ask? I was going to the home base of a company called Anglesey Adventures, their website is http://www.angleseyadventures.com I thought I had signed up to go coasteering, which if you are like most people I know, you have no idea what that is, which is ok cause I didn’t know what it was either lol I stumbled across the company and their adventures when I was researching what to do in Northern Wales, this video is what sold me on signing up for fun times with this company…

Now, there was a bit of confusion because when I booked my spot with them I thought I was going to be doing what was in that video but when I got there they had me signed up for cliff jumping only, not coasteering. sigh. Also, only out of the awesomeness of the owner Grant did I still get to go because nobody else had signed up for the same day/time and normally they would have cancelled the outing but since I signed up so far in advance they didn’t want to cancel on me so it was just me and a guide, no group! When Grant first told me this I was a tad nervous but that is cause I am sometimes shy and I didn’t like the idea of just me and a guide, he (the guide) would see just how much I sucked since there’d be nobody else to look at lol also, I was counting on the peer pressure from the group to help me jump off the cliffs lol In the end though I was really grateful it was just the guide and I because I’m pretty sure I would have died without so much attention being given to me πŸ˜›

The first thing that I noticed when I got to the office site was that there were no women around, I eventually found one lady in the office manning the desk, and there were some twenty-somethings in the same washroom as I but they were from a neighbouring campsite, they weren’t taking part in any of the adventures. When I asked about that I was told that women don’t really sign up for this stuff, most of the groups are guys going on a stag weekend. What’s with that? C’mon ladies, go out there and have some adventures already! lol

I was given a wetsuit and told to put some swim shorts on over top of it, I knew that already so I brought the closest thing I had, which was a swim skort type of thing lol I figured it might look weird, wearing a black skort over top of a wetsuit but whatev, I’m a girl, I can wear a skort if I wanna! πŸ˜› lol The reason for this is because the cliffs are so sharp they tear through the wetsuit material super easy but swimsuit material is tougher and doesn’t get damaged nearly as quickly. Once I heard that I resigned myself to having my skort die at some point but it actually survived without a scratch.

The guide brings along a water proof camera and takes pictures through out the adventure so I have actual proof of what I did! lol He said to remind him to take the pics cause he often forgets, I reminded him at the beginning, and we did get some, they turned out pretty well, I think…

I do this whenever I'm on vacation and there is a beach lol

I do this whenever I’m on vacation and there is a beach lol

Final prep on the beach before heading to the cliffs...I didn't tell him to take this one lol

Final prep on the beach before heading to the cliffs…I didn’t tell him to take this one lol

It looks like a really big jump when looking down!

It looks like a really big jump when looking down!

Big step out so I don't hit any of the cliff on the way down...

Big step out so I don’t hit any of the cliff on the way down…

Happy and safe bobbing about in the ocean

Happy and safe bobbing about in the ocean

Different angle...I was told to keep my knees bent cause that area was a bit shallow and you didn't want to hit the bottom

Different angle…I was told to keep my knees bent cause that area was a bit shallow and you didn’t want to hit the bottom

Tryna act all cool and nonchalant, like this is stuff I get up to all the time lol

Tryna act all cool and nonchalant, like this is stuff I get up to all the time lol

So here’s how it works, you walk out to the beach, put your helmet and pfd on, get given a safety talk and head to the cliffs. They are super slippery and right from the start I thought I was an idiot for doing this, I can be a slow hiker on rocks when they are dry, why didn’t I think about the fact the surface of the cliffs would be slippy? Β The guide said not to worry, everyone starts off slow even though the beginning part is the easiest but before I know it I’ll have sped up and be going much faster on difficult areas, I didn’t really believe him but turns out he was right! πŸ™‚

The first cliff jump is one of the shortest ones, the first four are actually not huge, they gradually get a bit higher with each jump. They start you off there so you can practice your form, and so the guide can see how well you listen to instructions, if you don’t do as you are told, or you suck, then you can’t do the super high jumps cause it’d be too dangerous.

An example of the instructions I got for one of the jumps went like this:

Take a big step out because the lower part of the cliff comes out farther then the top part we are on so you need to make sure you clear the rocks, also, don’t go to the left because there are rocks under the water in that area that you can’t see from here but trust me, they are there, also, don’t go too far to the right because there is a patch of seaweed and you don’t want to get tangled in it…oh, and if you jump too far out there are more rocks…

Sooooo, basically, you are told which small area to aim for when jumping, and you better get it right! lol

After each jump you swim over to the next section of cliff that you will be climbing and up ya go! There was one part where the guide climbed up first, braced himself and sent a knotted rope down that I could use to help me climb up, that particular area was extremely slippery and he said the rope would make it easier…it did and it didn’t lol I was part way up and my foot slipped, I swung out a bit then slammed in to the cliff side with most of the hit landing on my right knee, oh man did that hurt! I kinda hung on to the rope for a second trying not to make any noises of pain then realized the poor guy was still holding the rope and a wet person is not a light person so I basically mentally shook it off and kept climbing lol There was one other section, near a top of a cliff where he cautioned me to be extra careful because a person the previous weekend had slipped there, landed face first and chipped a tooth, ack! It took him saying that for me to realize I could actually get hurt in more ways than just some bruises.

All in all, I would say if you want adventure, want to test your limits, want to see how brave you are, go to Anglesey Adventures! They are really nice, the excursion, though not what I was expecting, was still ridiculously exciting, it really gets your adrenaline pumping! Definitely worth the money! πŸ™‚

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™‚

UK Trip Day 4: July 17/14 Part 3

2 Sep

After the gaol I walkedΒ over to the old Court House, also Victorian era. It was also supposed to have live performances but there weren’t any. It is small but there was lots to see and learn. πŸ™‚

They also had the headset audio tour that you could listen to and me being me I listened to every part of it. This one was done in the more traditional style of a person explaining what each section or room was for, some examples were given of various cases that went through the court and things of historical significance were pointed out.

Mostly what you learn is how unfair the court system was back then, something I already knew lol My pictures of the inside didn’t turn out very well, kinda blurry, but I managed to get some good ones…

I was standing in the balcony overlooking the main area of the court house, to the far left you can see the “judge” (aka creepy mannequin lol). To the right you’ll see a metal fence, that was put up because the public would come in and the whole place would get overwhelmed with people, plus there were attempts to kill the judges, so the fence kept non necessary people out.

Main area of the court house

Main area of the court house

closer look at the creepy mannequins

closer look at the creepy mannequins

From the other side of the fence

From the other side of the fence

There were other rooms in the building but I didn’t take pictures of them, mostly because I knew I wouldn’t remember what the specific rooms were for and I’d be stuck with a bunch of pictures of random rooms lol One thing I did get a picture of though was a device used on women called a Scold’s Bridle…

I lifted it, it's really heavy!

I lifted it, it’s really heavy!

It was used on women who were considered to be “quarrelsome or nagging”, lovely huh? Mostly it was used on women who were considered to be witches, sigh. It was quite heavy and must have sucked to wear, understatement I know! If I was sent back in time I’m fairly certain one of those would be put on me quite quickly lol cause not only will I quarrel to prove my point (though I like to call it a spirited debate lol) I also have red hair and we all know what people thought of gingers back in the day, heck, some people still think those thought now, the twits. πŸ˜›

After the court house I stopped and got some ice cream from a place that was recommended to me from one of the people who worked in the Llanberis hostel, the ice cream shop is called Redboat Ice Cream Parlour and it was amazing! So many choices, really nice people working there, I had a little flirt with the cute guy behind the counter lol so all in all a place I’d recommend πŸ˜‰

Redboat Ice Cream Parlour

Redboat Ice Cream Parlour

Hot summer day + ice cream = happiness

Hot summer day + ice cream = happiness

I got two scoops cause who just gets one scoop of ice cream when there are so many flavour choices? lol The coffee coloured flavour is peanut butter, the orange one was a local fruit that I can’t pronounce the name of let alone type lol The peanut butter one was ok but the fruit one was delish! Go to Beaumaris for ice cream, dooooo it! πŸ˜›

After having indulged in ice cream I wandered over to a sweet shop I had seen online when I was researching what I wanted to do in Wales. It is an old school sweet shop called The Penny Farthing, it looked so cute online I was really hoping to come across it, luckily everything is close together in Beaumaris and finding it wasn’t a problem. However, finding good service once inside was a huge problem. There was one lady working and she was busy chatting with her friend when I entered, not a big deal, everyone who works in retail has done that and I really don’t care if the person working is hanging with their friend as long as I get some semblance of service. I looked around, the shop is super small so that took all of 15 seconds lol The friend left and the lady turned to me asking me in an abrupt way if I wanted anything. I asked her if there was any candy that was a local traditional type of candy, she looked at me like I was a moron, said there was one but it was sold out and then turned away. Um, ok…I then asked if she had any suggestions for something that would be good…she said no without even looking at me. huh. I took the hint and left. It’s too bad really because not only did I not get any candy but they have a decent online presence and I wonder how many people wander in and get treated shabbily…

The Traditional Sweet Shop

The Penny Farthing Traditional Sweet Shop with the horrible service.

This is apparently the food portion of my post lol I eventually went to grab a bite to eat, I was hungry but not starved, didn’t want a proper sit down meal but really had no idea what I felt like eating. I ended up in a take-away that was attached to a pub, there were tables so I could eat there if I wanted, which I did. πŸ™‚ I ordered a cheese and onion fry (I think that’s what it was called lol) it’s basically mashed potato, onion and cheese surrounded by a batter and deep fried. I asked if it was enough for a meal and the lady working said I should get chips to go with it. What I was envisioning was a cheese and onion pie or pastie so I was a bit disappointed when I received my food and saw this…

My lunch

My lunch

It was ok, not amazing, but not bad either. I had to wait a while for it to cool down enough to eat lol the chips were of course perfect. πŸ™‚ I didn’t eat it all but figured that was ok cause my tummy was half filled with ice cream still lol

I wandered around a bit and wasn’t sure where to go next, all the things I had planned to do I had done but it was still early enough in the day I wanted to do something else before leaving for the next town. I walked to the pier area and saw a sign for a boat cruise and before I knew it I was signed up to go on a Puffin Boat Tour, yup, you read that right, Puffins, as in the bird…

On the way to the island

On the way to the island

those little dots are birds, lots and lots of birds

those little dots are birds, lots and lots of birds

closer shot of the birds

closer shot of the birds

abandoned building on the island

abandoned building on the island

because I think the water looks pretty lol

because I think the water looks pretty lol

The company that I took the boat tour with was amazing! Their website isΒ http://www.starida.co.uk/ The people at the kiosk where you buy your ticket were friendly and knowledgeable, the prices are totally fair (it only cost me eight pounds for my ticket) and the tour itself was sooooo worth it. πŸ™‚ It lasted an hour and a half (if I remember correctly), they do their absolute best to make sure you get some good pictures, my camera wasn’t great at close ups but if it had been I’d of had some amazing pics of birds…not that I’m really in to that but some people are, shrug. The gentleman who was the guide seemed to know everything about the area, before we even started moving he brought me a blanket because he could tell I’d need it lol It was a hot day but on the water, at the speeds we were moving it was chilly and since this was unplanned for me I didn’t have a sweater or jacket.

I learned a lot about the island, what I remember most was that the island got infested by rats when a boat went down near the island and the rats from the boat swam to the island for safety, ugh. The rats were winning the battle against the birds so people went over and set traps to get rid of the rats and save the birds, cute huh? There are 12 species of birds on that island and the guide spotted almost every one! We also saw seals, well, we saw their heads lol but I couldn’t get a good picture. I was so tired from the long day and the heat I actually nodded off on the way back to the pier lol luckily nobody noticed, or if they did they didn’t say anything! πŸ˜›

After that I decided a spot of dinner was in order, the town had practically shut down and I had two choices for where to eat, the fancy hotel’s restaurant or a smaller restaurant that was right beside it, I chose the smaller one. I got a yummy pasta dish and an amazing dessert called an Eton Berry Mess, oh man so so so good!

Mmm, dinner. :)

Mmm, dinner. πŸ™‚

This dessert turned heads lol

This dessert turned heads lol

This dessert was so impressive people turned to stare at it, which made me feel slightly self conscious lol I didn’t expect it to be so large but oh well, who am I to complain? There is fresh fruit, crushed up meringue, whipped cream, umm…I think that’s it…I ate the entire thing! Even scraped the edges of the dish it was that good lol

After my lovely meal I headed off to my next stop Betws-y-coed which will be in the next post cause holy crap this is one loooong post! Congrats if you made it through the whole thing! πŸ™‚

UK Trip Day 4: July 17/14

19 Aug

At the end of my UK Trip post for day 3 I said how I used my walk/hike that evening to de-stress from the run around from British Airways…to read that clickΒ here.

While yes, this post is about day 4 it really starts on day 3, kinda…

Earlier in the day on Day 3 I called the delivery company that would be bringing my suitcase to see if I could get them to rush it since British Airways was being incredibly unhelpful. The guy there said British Airways told them that due to the place of delivery (Wales) the suitcase couldn’t be delivered any earlier than 2-3 days so the delivery company automatically put it in to a unit destined to deliver using that timeline and they couldn’t expedite it without British Airways say-so. OMG say what?? I explained that I was leaving the delivery address they had on file from British Airways and that the longer they took to deliver to me the farther away I would be from them. They took the address I would be staying at the night of Day 4 and said they would deliver it there. I told them I wouldn’t be there until an unknown time in the evening and requested they leave it at the front desk. I then called that hostel to explain what was going on and asked if they wouldn’t mind taking custody of the suitcase until I checked in, the lady was very nice and said that wouldn’t be a problem.

After my walk/hike I called British Airways to try to get an update, the first call the lady disconnected cause she said it was too windy where I was and she couldn’t hear me, the second call I was told they absolutely would deliver my suitcase that night, but they didn’t say by what time. This meant I was once again trapped in the dining room since it is the only room in the hostel with a view of the driveway, sigh. After dinner, which was a lovely goat cheese and tomato quiche, I sat with my cards, my book, and a diet coke and waited…and waited…and waited…I couldn’t decide what time would be the cut off time for a delivery person when it came to luggage, part of me thought no later than 10pm but then I extended that to 11pm juuuuuust in case. Regardless, it never showed so off to bed I went with a renewed sense of anger towards British Airways because not only did it not show but I stayed up later than I wanted waiting for the suitcase cause they promised it would be delivered that night. Arg!

The morning of Day 4 I got up nice ‘n early cause I had to be on the road hopefully by 9am. I wasn’t lol. This didn’t surprise me but I wasn’t running too late so that’s good. I had my full Welsh breakfast, left my contact info with the hostel so if my suitcase did show up they could let me know and headed off to Beaumaris.

Oh, before heading off I spoke with British Airways to give them a piece of my mind in regards to the lack of delivery even though it was promised. It didn’t get me any results, or even an apology but the venting kinda felt nice lol

So off I went to Beaumaris, which is pronounced how it is spelled in case you were wondering.

Beaumaris is the first place I found on this trip without getting confused or lost, yay! The super kind people at YHA Llanberis Hostel printed me out some google map directions and the road signage was a better than the signage on my way to Llanberis so no wrong turns for me! πŸ™‚

There is a lot more to do in Beaumaris than I realized. My original plan was to go to the Gaol (that’s a prison) and the Court House, they are both Victorian era and have been turned in to museums, I looooove stuff like that! There was also a castle there to explore, a pier to walk along, boat tours, fun little shops and more. I planned to wander Beaumaris on this particular day because I wanted an easy day after climbing Mt Snowdon, as we all know by this point an easy day wasn’t needed since I didn’t get to climb the mountain but that just means I had more energy for exploring. πŸ™‚

I went to Beaumaris Castle, it was built, well, ordered to be built since I doubt he did any of the work lol, Β by King Edward 1. To build the castle the English forced an entire town of people to move so they could have unlimited space, rude! πŸ˜› This was the last castle built by King Edward 1 in Wales and it never got finished due to the Welsh being able to get the English out of their country, and lack of money. The style of castle is called concentric and that means there is no central keep, really, there is no centre at all. The castle has a high inner ring of defenses surrounded by a lower outer circuit of walls.

It was absolutely beautiful! The day was sunny and warm, entrance was cheap, and you were left to your own devices so I was able to take as much time as I wanted to explore the nooks and crannies of this castle. πŸ™‚

The entrance, you can see the moat that surrounds the castle.

The entrance, you can see the moat that surrounds the castle.

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You can climb up to the top walkways and walk around the perimeter, you get great views!

You can climb up to the top walkways and walk around the perimeter, you get great views!

One of the stairways to the top, not the widest of things lol

One of the stairways to the top, not the widest of things lol

View through one of the peep holes/archers spots.

View through one of the peep holes/archers spots.

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My only regret about the visit to the castle is that when I was in the gift shop I saw a necklace I reeeeeally wanted, it wasn’t out of my price range but I opted to not buy it because I thought I’d find something I would like even better later on in the trip and I didn’t want to buy my memento item so early without seeing what else was out there. Bad move! Bad bad bad move! I never found anything else I liked nearly as much and I really regret not purchasing it, sigh. I can’t remember the name of the company that made the jewellery so I can’t even look for their website and buy the necklace online. *rolls eyes at self*

Other than that my time at Beaumaris Castle was so enjoyable! πŸ™‚ I highly recommend it to anybody who will be in the area. For information on where it is and hours of operation you can check out this website…

http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/beaumaris-castle/?lang=en

I’ll put the next part of my Beaumaris Day in a new post since this one got long awfully quickly lol

 

 

UK Trip Day 3: July 16/14 Pictures!

12 Aug

 

 

 

This was posted on the kitchen wall in the hostel for anyone who is interested in how to pronounce some of those crazy Welsh words lol
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The following pictures are the entrance area of the slate museum I mentioned in the previous post. I didn’t go in the museum part cause I really didn’t feel like it lol but that didn’t stop me from taking some pics of the area.

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This was a pretty creek? river? I dunno…a pretty flowing water area lol I stood and enjoyed the sounds of the water and the prettiness of the area for a while before continuing on with my exploring.

 

 

 

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A wooded path I was on. It looks like something from a fairy tale or movie.

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The Round Tower was the crowning glory of Llywelyn ab lorwerth’s castle. Llywelyn ab lorwerth died in 1240 and under Welsh law all his heirs had a claim to become his successor. A struggle began with no clear winner until 1255. Llywelyn’s grandson, Llywelyn ap Grufudd finally defeated his brothers in battle to become Prince of Gwynedd. But the brothers still posed a threat. One solution was to imprison them. That’s what Llywelyn ap Grufudd did to his elder brother, Owain Goch. He was imprisoned for 22 years. Historians believe he was held here because the 13th century poet Hywel Foel ap Griffri described Owain as “a man in a tower, long a guest”.

This information was found on a sign by the tower, provided by http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk

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These are views from the climb to the tower and from when I was up near the tower. πŸ™‚

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Here is the actual tower. You could climb up inside of parts of it, some areas were blocked off due to safety issues.

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This house was at the beginning of the little road that led to the hostel I stayed at. I thought it was a hotel or something at first but when I walked by another time there was a family going inside and it seemed like they lived there, weren’t guests. Can you imagine living there?? It’s beautiful!

 

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This is a horse I could see in a distance from the dining room of the hostel. It was out grazing when I was walking back to the hostel so I thought I’d try to make friends. It came over so I could pet it a little bit then went back to eating grass…apparently I don’t rate as high as grass! lol This picture was taken close to 7:30pm as I was on the way back for dinner.

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I focused on de-stressing during this walk, I was so mad because of the run around by British Airways and not getting to climb Mt Snowdon but I really didn’t want my vacation memories to be overshadowed by stress and anger so I looked for and enjoyed the water, the views, the history, the peace, the quiet, the beauty, the animals, the surroundings. I’d say I succeeded because by the end of the walk/hike I was kinda sweaty, feeling good from getting out there and exploring, feeling a bit more relaxed and ready to enjoy dinner and just be in the moment.

 

UK Trip Day 3: July 16/14

12 Aug

My first two nights in Wales I stayed in the YHA Llanberis hostel, here is their website: http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/llanberis

I can not say enough amazing things about the people that work there and the location. It may have been a bit tricky to find (due to bad road sign placement) buuuuut we do have to keep in mind I have a poor sense of direction lol. I conversed with the staff a bit more than I normally would have due to my lost luggage debacle (thanks British Airways *rolls eyes*) but they were so friendly I’m glad I did. πŸ™‚

My first full day in Wales I woke up early and was fed a lovely Full Welsh Breakfast, Mmm! I didn’t take my camera with me to breakfast cause uh, who does that? πŸ˜‰ Β so I don’t have a picture but a Full Welsh consists of: bacon, sausage, fried egg, baked beans, toast and fried tomato. Because I don’t eat pork I got the vegetarian option which meant no bacon and sausage and instead I was given this batter covered something…I’m still not sure what it was lol I think it was supposed to be a vegetarian sausage option but that’s a guess. It wasn’t good, whatever it was lol The lady serving the food also gave me some sauteed mushrooms, yum! If you didn’t want to pay for breakfast there was free toast, cereal, juice, tea, coffee, yogurt, continental type breakfast foods.

The day prior at the airport British Airways had told me my luggage would be delivered to me the next day between 8a-4p, the hostel reception area and front doors are locked from noon to 5pm daily. If you are staying there you are given a code to unlock the door otherwise you’re outta luck. This meant that I had to stay inside and wait for the delivery of my suitcase all day. It sucked.

I was supposed to be climbing Mt. Snowdon that day but even if reception had been open and I didn’t have to be there to receive the suitcase I still couldn’t have gone because my clothes and water-backpack were in the suitcase. So yeah, no gear for the climb, bummer. The only up side was that the weather was crap that day, and I mean serious storm weather! Pouring rain, strong winds, absolutely brutal. It wasn’t cold though, which was odd. Even though the weather was horrible I was the only person staying in. I waited until a minute after the British Airways call centre opened and called them to discuss the luggage situation, it was once again confirmed I would have my luggage delivered sometime today. I stressed to them that was very important because I was leaving the next morning for a different town and would no longer be in Llanberis to receive the luggage. The lady was nice, said she understood, said she put a rush on it, she said a lot of things which would later prove to be lies, sigh.

The only place in the hostel I could clearly see the driveway from was the dining room so I made some tea, grabbed my backpack and claimed a table.

 

Where I spent most of my first full day of vacation - exciting huh?

Where I spent most of my first full day of vacation – exciting huh?

Luckily I had a book, a notebook to write in, a deck of cards and a bottle of water. I also had my ipod if I wanted to listen to music and my ipad if I wanted to play games…no wifi connection sadly but oh well. Oh, and I also had the phone a friend of mine let me borrow. She is from the UK so she had her old blackberry and she let me use it so I wouldn’t have to worry about roaming fees with my phone or finding a converter for the plug, nice huh? πŸ™‚ I found it funny that I used to have a blackberry and for the life of me couldn’t figure out how to do a bunch of different things on that phone, drove me nuts! But at least it gave me a way to call British Airways and get updates on my suitcase lol

While I was writing in my journal I kept looking out the window hoping to see a delivery van, here is what I saw instead…

The driveway

The driveway

There be horses in that field!

There be horses in that field!

This sheep was baa-ing the whole time I sat inside, it was so cute! and sorta soothing...who knew?

This sheep was baa-ing the whole time I sat inside, it was so cute! and sorta soothing…who knew?

Close up of the sheep. Why? Cause I can lol Sheep are a bit of a novelty to me lol

Close up of the sheep. Why? Cause I can lol Sheep are a bit of a novelty to me lol

Around lunch time a girl came in to the dining room and asked if I was staying in all day. I explained why I was stuck inside and she commiserated, said BA is known for losing luggage and when they lost hers it took 4 days to get it back, ack! She then did the nicest thing! She said she was staying in for the next couple of hours so she could stay in the dining room and watch for the delivery if I wanted to go in to town to get some food or walk around or even just to look at things. I was oh-so-grateful! I was going stir crazy just sitting there, plus, I had no food for lunch and the hostel doesn’t serve lunch so I was looking at a loooooon wait till dinner. I left her to keep a look out and I dashed in to town. I didn’t want to take too long, I was paranoid about what if they brought the suitcase but wouldn’t leave it with her cause it wasn’t hers, thoughts like that…so all I did was hit up this super tiny grocery store called SPAR, walk the main street rather quickly then drive back to the hostel. Even though it was a short trip it was nice to get out. The rain had stopped by then and the air was so fresh smelling, it made me want to stay out for longer.

I didn’t get anything fancy but what I got made a nice little meal…

 

My lunch, a turkey and apple sandwich with the rest of the apple on the side, along with a rice pudding cup, two jaffa cookies and of course tea and diet coke lol

My lunch, a turkey and apple sandwich with the rest of the apple on the side, along with a rice pudding cup, two jaffa cookies and of course tea and diet coke lol

At 4pm on the dot I called BA back since the suitcase was supposed to be delivered by 4pm and it had yet to arrive. I was informed that whoever told me earlier I would get it today was wrong and I wouldn’t get it until the day after or maybe even two days after. Grr! So I spent all day inside waiting for the suitcase and it wasn’t even on the way! I was pissed!

I figured since no way I could miss the suitcase now I might as well go out for a walk. I walked in to town than wandered. I found a slate mine museum type place but didn’t really want to go in. Then I found a little mountain that when I got to the top I found an old castle that used to be a prison, exciting! I’m putting all those pics in the next post, enjoy! πŸ™‚

Mail Day!

26 May

It’s not often I get fun stuff in the mail, usually I’m getting hounding letters from the student loan people, bank statements, boring stuff. But today I got two fun things, yay! πŸ™‚

The first is a package my parents sent me, it had a letter written by both of them, newspaper clippings, some Weight Watcher info in case I wanna try again aaaaaand a package that came to them but is for me. That package within the package was the tab for my BMO Run medal! Yippee! The back of my medal has a spot that has been waiting oh-so-impatiently for the tab to fit in it. The tab shows my name and my official finish time, which is good cause otherwise I’d forget lol. πŸ˜› I want to show you a picture but my full name is on there soooooo sorry but the picture of it won’t be put on here. Don’t be offended, I still love ya! πŸ˜‰

The next package had this:

First is the postal envelope...

First is the postal envelope…

 

Then comes the pretty envelope...

Then comes the pretty envelope…

 

And finally the super pretty wedding invitation is revealed!

And finally the super pretty wedding invitation is revealed!

 

It is my cousin’s wedding invitation! I knew it would get here eventually, and I already knew I was going to the wedding, heck, I planned an entire trip to the UK around this wedding, but getting the invitation was still exciting lol It made it that much more real. πŸ™‚

The mail was pretty much the highlight of my day today…is that sad? I’m gonna pretend that isn’t sad lol πŸ˜‰ I had a super busy work day, I hate when I have to actually work at work, sigh. Then I did some quick grocery shopping, or at least it would have been quick if I knew what a zucchini looked like (don’t fret, I got help and now I know!), then homeward bound was I. My landlady was in the backyard when I got home so I chatted with her for a while then eventually made it inside to my little slice of personal space. I was hungry enough to want to gnaw my own arm off (well ok, not quite that hungry but getting there!) so I made a super fast meal of maple flavoured baked beans on toast. Mmm! I love how it is a classic British dish but I Canadian-ize it by using the maple flavoured baked beans,Β it’s the best of both sides of the pond! lol

Since then I have done nothing interesting which would be why the opening of mail was the highlight of my day *rolls eyes*. Never fret, I will have more interesting days later this week, I’m just getting a bit of a slow start to the week is all, resting up for the really good stuff…or something like that lol πŸ˜‰

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