Friday, September 25, 2015


Wales!  We made it to Wales!  And I must say, it is quite adorable, and very festive, well at least the town of Conwy, in North Wales is.  I loved the colored houses, the flag banners zig-zagging across the tiny streets, and of course the castles!  Conwy has two majestic castles for which it is famous.

We began with Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon is massive and impressively restored.  It is full of history and unique architecture features, and is still the place where princes are "crowned."  Charles, Prince of Wales, received his title here in 1969.  We had the most wonderful local guide, who give us an extremely in depth tour of the castle grounds and it's history.

Despite the deceiving beautiful, blue skies, it was absolutely freezing!  And by the end of our outdoor tour, I couldn't feel most of my body.  So with our free time, we sought out a quaint, family owned restaurant to get something warm for lunch.

I wasn't super hungry, so I just ordered a steaming cup of hot cocoa. complete with whipped cream and mallows.  It definitely hit the spot on that chilly day.

After our busy morning at the castle, we had a nice leisurely drive through the GORGEOUS Snowdonia National Park.  Our tour director put on an Enya cd, and told us that listening to Enya makes anything look more majestic, I might have to agree with him on that one.

After our relaxing drive, we were brought back to the town for a few hours of free time.  Dad and I explored some of the shops, and I bought a beautiful Welsh Love Spoon.  Then we made our way to Conwy Castle.

We took a vote, and both of us actually liked visiting Conwy Castle better then Caernarfon.  While Caernarfon is more well known, and famous for it's construction and history, we thought Conwy Castle is much more magical and scenic.  Plus, you can climb the watch towers and get amazing views!  We picked the highest tower and climbed all the way to the top!

It really doesn't get more beautiful then this

My dad served his LDS mission in England, and he remembers visiting Conwy and taking this exact picture on this bridge. I was hoping to have found that picture and post it next to this one, but I totally forgot about it until I was posting this post, so I will find it sometime and come and add it in.  But I thought that was a pretty cool memory to recreate!

Then we walked the quick mile or so back to our hotel to meet up with mom for dinner.  There was a pretty fancy wedding reception being held at our hotel that night, and to end the party with a bang (pun most definitely intended) they lit a bunch of fireworks off from a boat, so they would reflect over the water.  I had a perfect view from my room!  It was gorgeous!  Those Welsh people really know how to throw a party.

Lunch in Chester

After our wonderful two night stay in the Lake District, we continued our journey and began the drive to Wales.  We stopped in Chester to have lunch, I would have loved to have had more time in this charming place, it's one of my parents' favorite English towns.  We had a couple of hours to walk around and grab a bite to eat.  My dad did the walking around part, while mom and I enjoyed the most pleasant and memorable lunch at a side walk cafe.

We got salads and pastries from Patisserie Valerie, the same place we got some treats in Scotland.  We sat at a table for two and enjoyed people and dog watching (there were three of the most gorgeous and large poodles I have ever seen in my life, lounging gracefully at the table next to us!) while listening to some lovely, live music.  It was such a perfect moment in time, I wish I had more pictures to portray it more accurately.

And that was it for Chester!  Onward to Wales

Thursday, September 3, 2015

English Country Gorgeousness

After lunch we came back to our wonderful hotel and had the rest of the afternoon free.  The first few photos are of our National Park hotel, it was hard to capture the feeling of the place because it blends in so well with it's surroundings.  The rooms were in different small buildings throughout the grounds, and the restaurant and the lobby were in the buildings pictured below.

With our free afternoon, dad and I decided to go explore the trail that was right next to our hotel which meandered through the English countryside.  It was the most perfect day for a stroll, it was nice and cool with the sun shining in a bright blue ski, scattered with puffy, white clouds.  We had the green rolling hills on one side of our path, and a gently babbling river on the other side.  It was complete bliss.

We passed by this docile herd of cows, there were quite a few rambunctious baby calves that were pretty adorable.

Our trail ended at this huge waterfall.  There was a little trail leading from our walking path out to the rocks right next to the water.  We did a little adventurous rock climbing to get close to the falls, and enjoyed the refreshing feeling of the mist cooling our faces.

We headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up for dinner.  Tonight we were dining at a local pub just up the street from our hotel.  The other members of our group enjoyed a tasting of local ales, while we enjoyed our bubbly sodas.  We began our meal with an appetizer sampling of some local favorites.  My favorite was the deep fried breaded brie cheese with a spiced cranberry dipping sauce.

I am so sad I didn't take a picture of the sticky toffee pudding we had here, it was THE BEST sticky toffee pudding/ dessert we had the entire trip.  We had dessert every night, and when it was available, we ordered sticky toffee pudding, so I feel as if we are pretty qualified judges.  It was so buttery, and gingerbready, and had such an amazing caramel sauce, *grunt* it was so good!