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Tag Archives: Wales

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 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 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

2014-07-18 10.08.55

2014-07-18 10.09.05

 

 

2014-07-18 10.13.27

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 Part 2

20 Aug

After exploring the castle I followed the oh so nicely placed maps that are all over the town to help out us silly tourists and popped in to the Gaol (prison). This was my first and main reason for going to Beaumaris, I studied prisons, prison systems, the judicial system etc in University and find it all amazingly interesting. Yes I know, I am a geek, whatev. πŸ˜›

The entrance.

The entrance.

I am ticked at myself because I have almost no pictures of the gaol, the reason for this is because I was so absorbed in what I was seeing and learning I completely forgot about my camera lol They provide you with a headset so you learn all about what you are seeing and it was recorded in an interesting way. Instead of a narrator saying something along the lines of “Room A was a blah blah blah” the entire thing was recorded from the point of view of one of the prisoners, there were only 2 prisoners executed there while the prison was in use and the recording was done from the point of view of one of those men, sorry but I can’t recall his name right now. At first it bugged me because of the style, I didn’t really want to be hearing some guy, who is pretending to be some other guy, talk about his memories of this room or that room but by the end it grew on me.

There is an outdoor part to the tour that was closed while I was there due to it being mating season for the birds. Yup, you read that right. Some birds decided to take over one of the outside ares of the gaol and because it is mating season the people in charge opted to close off that area to humans so the birds weren’t disturbed. I found that a little odd, but I like that they take care of the wild animals like that.

Some random things I learned during the tour:

– they believed in work as punishment so depending which time period it was, and what your crime was, and what your level of punishment was you could find yourself (a) taking apart pieces of rope in a room with other people that you were not allowed to speak with (b) having a piece of machinery in your cell that you have to rotate a certain amount of times per day (c) walk on a machine that is like an old school stairmaster – this last one was outside (in an area where birds were not mating so I got to see it) this punishment was reserved for men only and they worked in teams, there would be a couple teams and they would rotate 15 minutes stepping at a time. There were other punishments, these are just the ones that stuck in my head the most lol

This is the machine in the cell, the person would turn that handle over and over and over every day.

This is the machine in the cell, the person would turn that handle over and over and over every day – and it did nothing!

Their stairmaster

Their stairmaster

– if a woman had a baby they were still expected to work so the babies were put in cribs in a room above the women’s workroom and there was a slit in the floor/ceiling so the women could poke a stick through the slit to rock the cradles.

The crib

The crib, if you look close you can see the slit in the floor underneath it.

– if a prisoner died while in the prison the prison had to pay for the burial so if someone was very sick and likely to die they would get released so they didn’t die while on the prison books

– the drunkard’s cell was placed as far away from the guy running the prison as possible so he wouldn’t be disturbed. The bed in that room had a bit of a higher edge to it so the person wouldn’t fall out lol

The drunkard's cell

The drunkard’s cell

– work was divided based on gender, some women would work in the laundry room (pictured below), others worked with the food (cooking, serving, cleaning up) or taking apart cotton or ropes etc. Men did more of the manual labour, like the stairmaster, the turning of the handle on the machine, building new sections of the prison etc. Gotta say, generally I don’t like things being divided based on gender but I totally prefer the sound of the women’s jobs lol

Laundry room - female prisoners worked here.

Laundry room – female prisoners worked here.

– the prison kept very detailed records of inmates weight and physical condition, because most people who were in there were poor, despite the labour they had to do on a daily basis most ended up maintaining or gaining weight because of the better diet they had while in prison

One of the hallways.

One of the hallways.

Another hall.

Another hall.

Upstairs hall.

Upstairs hall.

One of the stairwells, most weren't so fancy looking.

One of the stairwells, most weren’t so fancy looking.

A quick fyi if you are going there, the gift shop is practically non-existent and nothing in there is a memento type item of the gaol, not even a postcard with a picture of the gaol on it! The people working at the front were very friendly and helpful. πŸ™‚ If you are going to go to both the gaol and the court house you can buy a combo ticket at either location that gets you a discount, yay discounts! But even without that the entrance fees are not that much, in my humble and cash strapped opinion.

To get additional information about the gaol check out

http://www.attractionsnorthwales.co.uk/attractions/beaumaris-gaol-and-courtroom

It isn’t a great website, someone really needs to make a website dedicated to the gaol cause you can find barely anything about it online, or at least I couldn’t. They are not open Fridays, oh! and the above website says there are live performances July-September based on the history of the gaol, I was there in that time frame and there were no live performances, a bit disappointing since I was looking forward to that but it is still a fascinating place with or without a show. πŸ™‚

Eesh, looks like my day at Beaumaris is going to take up more than two posts! Crazeeeee! See ya in part 3! πŸ™‚

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.

 

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