Our latest adventure took us to Wales this past weekend for camping and seeing some local sights. It all began with what Google maps called a 4 hour drive... We thought we'd break it up by driving to our friends in Birmingham Thursday night. Ron and Maria graciously housed us, fed us, and were so polite by our late arrival due to traffic cues and confusing directions into B'ham. We left Friday morning to complete the journey to Betws-y-Coed. Again thwarted by long queues, this one for the music V-Festival, rain, confusing signs - Cat's Eyes Removed?!- and general UK roads, we arrived at our destination some 7 hours on road.
We did some research on where to stay in Snowdonia National Park, tried to make reservations, but ended up winging it in the end. With pouring rain and brisk winds most of the quaint farmland fields looked swamped and we kept on driving until we decided on Swallow Falls Inn/Hostel/Pub/Tavern/Campground. We pitched the tent on a staggered hillside overlooking the building, but had the roar of the waterfall tempering the not-so-camplike feel of the place.
After we got our tent up, and dried off a bit, we walked across the road to view Swallow Falls. A few pounds later to get thought the gate, we were able to see all of water from the latest rains. Done in 20min. So, back to the tent to fall asleep by 8. Josh, however, was devoured by little no-see-ums which left him looking like he had developed a case of the chicken poxs.
Saturday was our day of hiking. Most of Snowdonia National park is used for farming, so, essentially your hiking though someones acreage. We saw sheep, sheep, and more sheep. Other animals, possibly wildlife? Nope. Nice views of the valley from our hundreds of rock steps up. Olive caught a ride with Papa for most of it. She did want to cross the fence lines herself.
Sunday was our in town day. The morning we went over to Llanberis. There we spent the morning wandering about the Slate Museum. We were all equally impressed with the gigantic water wheel that once ran the various saws and machines. Afterward we took Olive on her first train ride. A blue steam engine named Thomas Bach and old wooden coaches down the side of the lake. Olive kept looking for his face and his other friends- Percy included.
Later on we went to the Caernarfon Castle - started being built back in 1283 - and we went up and down all the towers and halls. Olive's favorite part was the scoop of ice cream she got at the end of the trip. *note to reader, I just had to cross the room and squash a giant spider that Josh thought was a mouse* The end of the day was ended with a pint on the picnic bench while Olive played on the campground playground.
Monday was the return journey home. All seven hours of it. But before we left Wales we went to the Trefriw Woolen Mills. There we saw raw wool carted and woven into beautiful blankets. Learned about tweeds and various other styles of wool cloth. I picked up some local roving and Josh got a smashing tweed flat cap.
That was our trip to Wales. *Geeze ANOTHER frickin' giant spider crawled out from under the couch towards the hearth. Josh's turn*