While in Liverpool, people tend to do some sort of Beatles-related tour. Alas, I don’t really like the Beatles. Mind you, I don’t not like them, but I am ambivalent, and don’t want to spend my whole day seeing places that inspired them. I would rather see places that inspire me. Thus the jaunt to Northern Wales.
Our group was delighted to see that we were not meeting our driver until the very reasonable hour of 8:30 AM. After meeting our driver/guide, we boarded the Busy Bus for Conwy, a lovely little town famous for its castle. While Conwy Castle was in use for nearly 400 years, it was completely destroyed in 1665. Today it is UNESCO World Heritage Site and welcomes visitors from across the globe.
After touring the castle grounds, we made our way through the small streets of Conwy, browsing some of the shops, the seawall, and even the world’s smallest house. This was a tiny house before tiny houses were a thing. At just six feet wide, somehow it has a bedroom and living space. It was last occupied in 1900 when it was declared uninhabitable. The town people clearly had a much higher tolerance than say, me, who would have announced it unfit for habitation much earlier. Clearly, it was the view, and access to the harbor that kept in use for so long. Even then, real estate along the waterfront was pricey.
The perfect weather kept everyone in a great mood. Before heading back to the bus, we stopped for some local fudge for the crowd to enjoy en route to our next stop: Snowdonia.
Driving down a dirt road, our guide relished the terrifying experience. “You won’t see those big tour buses coming down this road,” he chortled, apparently pleased with himself. Snowdonia is a stunning national park, covering more than 800 square miles. If we had more time, I would have loved to see more, but am delighted to have seen some of the lush landscape, sheep, stunning waterfalls, and even more sheep.
All those sheep and castles and waterfalls can make a person hungry. Betws y Coed, a lovely little Alpine-like village in Snowdonia, was the choice for a lunch stop. (For the record, it is pronounced Beh-toos ur coyd. Yeah, I can’t say it, either.) While most of our crowd headed straight for the pub, and fish and chips, we seem to have missed the pub. Somehow, the giant, crowded, bustling restaurant evaded us, and we walked right passed it. Instead, we found a tiny cafe, where I enjoyed Welsh Rarebit. When in Wales…
Welsh Rarebit is actually just cheese toast with a mustard sauce, and it is delicious. As I type this, I wonder why more places outside of Wales don’t have this and think I should make myself some for lunch. Then I realize that carbs are not my friend, as I go back to my salad. Sad.
In somewhat of a food coma (or maybe that was the beer), we made our way back to the bus, regrouped, and headed towards the final stop of the day: Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. (Let’s skip trying to pronounce that one, OK?) Strolling along the narrow river, with a constant stream of small tour boats out enjoying the sunshine, the idyllic setting os straight out of a movie. Billed as the “aqueduct in the sky”, it is worth a visit if you are in the area.
I know many people enjoy their Beatles tours, but for me, I’ll take stunning scenery, castles, and sheep any day.
Upon our return to the ship, our gang headed out to the helipad for a stunning sail away party. Next stop: Belfast (and that is a blog post you won’t want to miss).