Now you may think that the above is a tautology but it isn’t, because there is an English Wales too. Near where I was born, there is a small village called Wales, in fact, my dad was born there. Now my parents were keen hikers and Youth Hostellers, so we travelled all over the UK when I was young – not Northern Ireland because ferry costs were prohibitive – and Wales, Welsh Wales, that is, was a favourite of my dad’s because of all the rugged hills and glorious scenery. So, if we were going for a doctor’s appointment, we went to Wales, but if we were going away for a long weekend, we went to Welsh Wales.
Last week, the loved one and I had a brief trip to Welsh Wales, the first time since 1978. We calculated this because it was when we discovered I was pregnant with our first child and we drove down through Wales with irrepressible grins on our faces for days. That’s one part of the experience we chose not to repeat!
This time, we stayed in Llandudno, another old fashioned seaside town, with a pier and a pub converted from an old disused cinema.
The hotel was a bit in need of repair but the service and food were good, so it was ok for just a couple of days. There are two seafronts in Llandudno because it is on a peninsular, and they are very different. There is the one lined with hotels and a pier and fairground rides and slot machines and then there is the wild, barren but beautiful bay less than a mile across town. It’s almost schizophrenic.
The end of the peninsular is a huge lump of rock called the Great Orme – I did read why it is called that but have already forgotten! You can walk up it. Ask me if we did, go on, ask me. Well, of course we didn’t.
There’s a cable car, which the loved one took one look at, shook his head and headed resolutely back to the pub. However, there is also a tram, which he consented to use and which turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Those hills are bloody steep, I can tell you. I would have needed frequent stops for oxygen had we actually tried to walk up and my knees would have given up the ghost if we had tried to walk down.
The tram is 19th century, has very uncomfortable wooden bench seats, which is part of the fun, and you can see for miles. There is an awful lot of pleasure to be derived from travelling effortlessly past those unfortunates who have chosen to walk it. They started, you see, smug in the awareness of their own virtue, keeping fit and healthy on foot. No doubt they were counting steps.
Noticeably less smug after about half a mile of 1 in 3 slopes, their faces ranged from red to puce, their laboured breathing was audible from 50 yards away and the sweat was showing through their Lacoste sportswear. We smiled and waved as we trundled past and no-one said “I told you so.”
At the top there is a cafe, of course, a wildflower garden and a crazy golf. A weird combination but it has a certain charm. The views are spectacular and, since the day was sunny, we could see up across the mouth of the River Dee to the Mersey estuary and the coast above, in fact, to the same stretch of coast we visited a couple of weeks ago.
To the west is Anglesey and then Ireland, although Ireland is just out of sight. And in between there is the beautiful rugged and mainly unspoilt coast, running down past Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfecchan to Bangor just round the corner.
It’s very lovely and, although it was quite hot, there was a gentle breeze to keep it comfortable. We had a lovely time.
The following day, we visited the other bay, the quiet one. At ten in the morning, right in the middle of the school holidays, there were five people on the sand. The sea was Mediterranean blue and the bay was full of little ruffled waves.
We walked for about half an hour with the sun on our backs and the wind in our faces, before heading back for the car and a trip down the coast to Bangor.
We were a bit disappointed that the road took us through a tunnel under the River Conwy, so we missed seeing the castle, which is a very impressive one, built in the Middle Ages (1283 – 1289) and soaked in history. It’s a Unesco World Heritage site and extremely interesting. Anyway, we missed it so let’s move on, shall we? We drove along the coast road, with its lovely outlook over the sea to the Menai Straight, which is the stretch of water that separates Wales from the island of Anglesey.
As you drive along you can see across to the island, also very lovely, and Beaumaris Castle stands proudly on the ridge across the water. Another Unesco World Heritage site, it was started rather earlier than Conwy but never finished. It is, however, well worth a visit even now.
Entering the town of Bangor, we saw a small sign to the pier and decided to follow it, rather than the town centre, which was likely to be shops and car parks. What a good decision. Free parking! A Victorian pier and cream teas, who could ask for better? The pier is just under half a kilometre long and stretches out over the extremely dangerous waters of the Menai Straight.
The banks on either side are dotted with white houses and cottages, slightly marred by a large-ish block of flats on the Anglesey side. How they got planning permission to build that eyesore is a mystery.
We sat drinking tea and sighing contentedly for about an hour before sauntering back to the car and heading east.
So I did little or no tangling for a few days and was suffering withdrawal symptoms by the time we got back.
I was therefore looking forward to the next Diva Challenge.
This week’s guest blogger is Henrike Bratz from Germany, who offers us her new pattern, Lisbon fragment to try.
As you may have noticed there’s the tangle diva dance in my first “Diva-Challenge”-tile. This pattern has been one of my favorite tangles from the beginning.
So here’s the challenge: Put on some music – best look for a fado playlist and imagine the Diva dancing in Lisbon. Use the “Lisbon fragment” and Diva Dance to create your tile. Add more tangles if you like to and enjoy the moment!
Now I have to admit I had trouble with the step outs for Lisbon Fragment, so didn’t enjoy it very much.however, i do like the look of it and I think it’s worth a bit more study. As for Diva Dance, I never get it looking deliberate; mine always seem a bit messy. So, this week, using an atc, I did as I was challenged but don’t feel it worked too well.
Ah well, there’s always next week…
Until then, world, be good -ish.