We left the hotel this morning at 10:30, allowing us to sleep in a bit and walk around on the beach before loading the coach.
We made two stops on the way back to the manor--one to see Swallow Falls and one in Betws-y-Coed for lunch. I really liked Betws-y-Coed, although I don't have any pictures to show for it. It reminds me a little bit of Estes Park, only smaller. Maybe Lyons is a somewhat better comparison. In any case, it was a charming little mountain village and I enjoyed our visit, although not the cheap hamburger I had for lunch.
Our first stop today after breakfast was Caenarfenon Castle. The town around the castle was quite charming. I bought a few more postcards and a couple of little trinkets, too.
From Caenarfenon, we headed to Portmerion Village through Snowdonia National Park, which stretches most of Wales, so we didn't actually see the full extent of the park. It was, in any case, perfectly beautiful, and aside from my green-blue-tinted picture below, there's a little video of the Welsh countryside at the bottom of this post.
Portmerion itself was a rather odd place. It reminded me of Atlantis, you know, an eerily deserted city (Portmerion was built it the Victorian era as a resort town, but nobody lives there. It's kind of like Heritage Square out in Colorado, only not). It was all very lovely (and sort of mythological because it seemed to mesh together Greek, Roman, and Victorian architecture all into one location and time period), just so very odd.
After Portmerion, we stopped by a slate mine museum inside of the mines itself. Cold and damp, but the lake at the end of the cramped thing was beautiful.
Left for Wales this morning at 8:00. We stopped for lunch in Chester, which is a town that I fancy I could live in. I really liked it.
We made it to Llundudno by 3:00 and checked into our rooms. Then I walked around the town with Sara, Veronica, and Carly. It's too bad it's cold and windy today. Our hotel is right along the beach and the walk would have been much nicer had it been warmer. So far, though, I like Wales and Llundudno is a charming little resort town.
We ate dinner at a bar down the street from out hotel, Ambassador, for around 5 pounds. Then, we vegged out in front of our TVs because although Llandudno is picturesque, it is somewhat of an aging community, so there isn't really any nightlife.
Since we had to be on the bus at 6:40, a wake-up call came in at 5:30 and breakfast was at 6:00. Not exactly my cup of tea. As soon as we were on the coach, we searched for my ring, and...Carly found it! Yay!
The ferry then left at 8:00 and we arrived in Holyhead, Wales at 11:00. Shortly before arriving, I went up onto the deck for a look at the coastline, which I thought was really nice, but that may be because I haven't been to the coast often enough to tire of the way land meets the sea. I also bought chocolate and the two things I'm beginning to collect from my travels: postcards and phone key chains. The chocolate has now been entirely consumed.
From Holyhead we headed on over to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerchwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch, which is the longest place name at least in Europe with 58 letters. That's why everyone refers to it as Llanfairpwllgwy. And because no one has the faintest idea how to pronounce the Welsh. Except maybe the Welsh. Its translation is somewhat longer and takes a bit more breath: "St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave." It's basically a truck stop.
The rest of the trip up to the Manor was passed watching Far, Far and Away with Tom Cruise and some other actors and actresses...Good movie, though!
This morning we left for Dublin at 8:30 and we reached the hotel at 2:00. When we got there, the room I was sharing with Carly and Dana wasn't ready yet, so we left our bags with the staff and stopped by Veronica and Jiffy's room before roaming the streets of Dublin. It was while I was using their bathroom that I suddenly realized that my mom's ring was missing from my finger. I of course panicked and we retraced our steps through the hotel on our way out, only we couldn't check the bus because it was locked. There was a little gray rain cloud over my head the whole day.
We took some pictures of Christ Church first since it was right across the street, then headed down about three blocks to the Liffy so that Jiffy could have a picture of "Jiffy on the Liffy."
Next, we went to St. Patrick's Cathedral, which has a very nice little park behind it. The park offers some excellent views of the building. Like most tourist churches, you have to pay to go inside, unless you visit at one of the service times for the service. So, we didn't go inside. Instead, we took some pictures and then tried to find Temple Bar and Temple bar district, but got "distracted" by Dublin Castle where we ended up losing Jiffy (or, as it was so wonderfully put by Dana, "Jiff-Jiff is poof-poof"). So, we walked around sans Jiffy and found a gelato place that we eventually went back to after dinner.
After dinner at a "fifties" style diner of hamburgers, and then some very delicious gelato, we went back to the hotel, where Dana, Carly and I finally got our room, which is probably the nicest hotel room I've been in. Well, except while I was in Japan. But then a private school was paying for all of the costs, so..... In any case, the room was on the fifth floor and offered a marvelous view of Christ Church and the surrounding city of Dublin. Once we settled ourselves in, we went down to the hotel lounge and watched some rugby. Of course, as soon as I was actually getting ready for bed, I discovered that I'd left my PJs at the hotel in Killarney.
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