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  • Day24

    Crown Inn, Tolldown

    September 23 in England ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We departed Porthmadog this morning before 8am and had a less traumatic drive across Wales to the motorway south.
    The drive was extremely scenic but once again, nowhere to pull off to take in the views. Except for one spot that had no warning and was gone in the blink of an eye.
    Check in at our alternative accommodation was not until 3pm so we drove to Bodkin House in the hope of visiting as we had roughly arranged.
    However, there was no-one there and a phone call and message have gone unanswered. We sat and waited until close to 3pm and then left. We're not overly disappointed as we are aware the family was having problems and they probably forgot we were coming. I have sent a follow up message and we will contact them again from home to share the history. We had a good wander about.
    We hope it will become a successful business again as it is really lovely in 3 acres of grounds.
    The Crown Inn where we are staying is a lovely old stone pub with beams, fireplace and lots of character. We had a lovely dinner and drinks and returned to our room which is just like an Australian motel at the back of the pub. Perfect for one night as we don't have to haul bags up stairs to pack for home.
    We're up for an included hot brekkie tomorrow and then off to Heathrow for a long day before our flight home. Bye bye UK, it's been great! 🇬🇧🇬🇧
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    Traveler

    Callie and I will see you soon 😻🤗

    9/23/22Reply
     
  • Day23

    Last day in Wales

    September 22 in Wales ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    Out last day in Wales today and it was wet, windy and rainy for most of the day. A coastal drive took us towards the Llyn Peninsula where we hoped we could do a bit of walking armed with coats and umbrellas. The weather got worse but we had a look at Borth y Gest, a nearby seaside spot, then the popular beach of Criccieth with its Castle up on the headland. Hard to get photos, even harder to park. Then on to Pwllheli, pronounced Puu+thel+ee. Or maybe you prefer Hafan y Mor? Pronounced 'have fanny more'.
    Here we managed to park and have a coffee. What a busy little place - I wouldn't like to be here in the height of summer.
    Then we gave up and came back to have lunch, pack and relax.
    Later in the afternoon the weather cleared quite a bit so we had another walk about town. Now we are ready to be off first thing in the morning.
    The last three photos are of our accommodation here at Porthmadog. We are in the centre of town in a gated group which provides secure parking. Practically harbourside and two minutes to the Ffestiniog Welsh railway station. It has been ideal for our purposes.
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  • Day22

    Blaenau Ffestiniog

    September 21 in Wales ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    Today was a shorter three hour train trip in the opposite direction to the industrial slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. This time we couldn't open the windows so the images are through glass and are definitely not 'photo book' quality. Also, there were very few photo opportunities due to the terrain and trackside foliage. We didn't have long at the destination as it seems this trip is about the journey.
    We picked up our prepaid 'Cream tea' goodies and coffee and headed back to the train. We had a variety of small wraps, a Welsh scone with jam and clotted cream and a lemon meringue tart. It all went down very well. So glad we had done this as it was near impossible to have got something otherwise.
    Later, back at Porthmadog, we went for a long walk up to the higher region around the harbour with magnificent views over the town. Should have taken my camera, not just the phone. We've had fine weather today but tomorrow we are expecting heavy rain.
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    Traveler

    It's lucky we have a Welsh lady at yoga I can ask how to pronounce these places. I can google it, but much more authentic when Fran says them😁

    9/21/22Reply
    Traveler

    Good luck with that. It is the most mysterious language. They should have used have used it for spies etc in the war! It is wonderful to hear so many speaking Welsh in the supermarkets etc. Much more prevalent than I would have thought.

    9/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    Enjoyed watching your video. The countryside is amazing. Keep enjoying your adventures. We are all well here in 'Aussie Land'. 😍

    9/27/22Reply
     
  • Day21

    Harlech & Harlech Castle

    September 20 in Wales ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    From Portmeirion we travelled another twenty minutes with more arduous driving to Harlech Castle. Harlech is perched on the side of a hill and to say the roads were narrow and steep is no exaggeration. The carpark held about eight cars. We drove in and had to back straight back out into the narrow street. Then we drove up, down and around more streets, passing a sign boasting about the steepest road in Wales, to the Short Stay car park. Here you needed a degree, your life story and so much more to pay by phone so we, and others, failed and moved on around the corner to the Long stay car park where our one and only £1 coin bought us twice as much time. Phew.
    So off we went to the castle, but on looking in the door at a food establishment we could see straight through to tables on the grass with an amazing view to the sea and the castle, so lunch and a beer, or 'a alf', it was. You could sit here and look at this vista forever.
    Seriously, how much breathtaking can we handle in one day?
    We possibly could have given the castle a miss but last time in UK, so last castle. Some interesting history and obviously amazing setting.
    Back 'home' and time for a harbourside walk and drinks on our little bit of gravel with a view.
    So today you get two footprints instead of one to make up for the one I missed 😊
    Now, if anyone is expecting souvenirs, you can settle down and be prepared for disappointment. I have found nothing remotely affordable, unique, or otherwise worthwhile, that any one of you would want. So savour these footprints and photos because that is as good as it gets. Sorry Caz, no scarves - they must all be in London!
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    Traveler

    Well the lunch and view look like the drive was worth it. And I would much rather follow your trip with you, a souvenir does not tell the story of it or show the amazing places you are going 😊

    9/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    Absolutely worth it for that!

    9/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    What Melanie said ☺️

    9/20/22Reply
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  • Day21

    Portmeirion

    September 20 in Wales ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    Well, do I have my work cut out today. How do I pick 10 photos to represent one day?
    Today was a ten minute drive to the amazing Portmeirion. It was purpose built by Clough William-Ellis from, believe it or not, 1925. A man with a vision whose motto was "Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Construct for the Future". It gave Clough pleasure during his life and he hoped that it would give pleasure to others and there is absolutely no doubt that it does. The last building, the toll gates, was built when he was ninety three.
    These are not show piece buildings. Apart from cafes and shops they are a range of wonderfully unique places to stay. Save your pennies and come and stay. That is just the place - the setting is absolutely breathtaking! And there is no way photos can do it justice.
    We were advised to download the app to get the best out of this place, and we did. We'll delete it later but it is well worth downloading, particularly if you will never come here in reality. I have to say, we watched/read the initial two but have since watched/read all the sections. If you love the place, do the same.
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    Traveler

    What an unusual place! Will have to do some googling about it.

    9/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    Great pics u 2.

    9/21/22Reply
    Traveler

    I could live there,so nice.

    9/21/22Reply
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  • Day20

    Ffeistiniog Highland Railway

    September 19 in Wales ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Trip 1 to Caernarfon. After a definite day of rest yesterday where all we did was a couple of walks around town, today was a full day out.
    We had preordered a hamper which included Prosecco and kept us sipping and munching for the whole trip. Also meant we didn't need to worry about lunch, which was a good thing because nearly everything was shut in Caernarfon. We were lucky the trip wasn't cancelled! On the way we had a train stop where we all alighted to observe 2 mins silence in line with the Queen's funeral, signalled by 3 hoots of the train whistle to begin and end. Very memorable. The trip was extremely scenic and the town was very quiet and grey all day, but no rain. Wales is a place for all manner of walking, cycling and outdoor activities, including zip lines through old slate mines and caverns. We settled for sedate train trips.
    Sadly, we were notified this morning that our night at Bodkin House was cancelled as it has been sold and is being renovated as we speak. Booking.com cannot always be relied upon. We were devastated, but not to worry, I made a phone call and they are happy to have us visit on Friday afternoon to tell them what we know of the history. Where there's a will...😊
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    Traveler

    Looks and sounds like a lovely day, the hamper looks delicious! What a shame about Bodkin House, good of them to still let you visit 😊

    9/19/22Reply
    Traveler

    Oh,that's sad for you.. Look forward to how it goes there.

    9/19/22Reply
    Traveler

    Bugger about Bodkin House after the luck of getting that night. Who'd have thought with all the awesomeness that's been this trip that that would be the thing to fall through 😢

    9/19/22Reply
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  • Day18

    Wales, Porthmadog

    September 17 in Wales ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Well, where do I start? What a traumatic drive through Wales. Made some wrong choices early and did so much windy, up hill, down dale, narrow, hedge lined roads through the Brecon Beacons that we don't want to repeat on the way back. However, the landscape is breathtaking.
    We managed to stop at a couple of places, firstly at Bluith Wells for a much needed coffee that stretched into their small Welsh breakfast for lunch. Lucky we didn't order the large! This town was really busy but had a lovely old bridge and green area by the river with parking and toilets. Such a relief to be able to stop anywhere. There were some lovely cob ponies here.
    Next stop was at a lookout for a very large reservoir, Llyn Clywedog, which we were told had very low water levels, as you would expect with the summer just gone. Next diversion was at Penmaenpool Bridge. This is an arched single lane, timber toll bridge. Unusual for the UK.
    Finally, we arrived but then we had to interpret the instructions to get a key to open the unit, to get the key to open the security gate to get the car in! We are in the middle of town, hence the security for precious car parks.
    Then it was a quick trip to Tesco for some essentials and OMG, it was sooo busy! Of course, public holiday weekend , or bank holiday as it is called here (even though it is a day for the Queen's funeral). Haven't seen any tributes in any shop windows here, as yet - except for one op shop with black clothes in the window. Definitely a day of rest for us tomorrow.
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    Traveler

    What a harrowing day! The bridges are beautiful, I love the timber bridge - some amazing construction. It sounds very different in Wales to England, but their breakfast looks great 😊

    9/17/22Reply
    Traveler

    Arrh, those narrow hedge lined roads of England, Wales etc. No wonder they called New South Wales just that, it does resemble parts of South Wales.

    9/17/22Reply
    Traveler

    You're right about that! Some parts along the beautiful river Wye actually reminded us of the Cann River valley. Wales certainly is beautiful.

    9/18/22Reply
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  • Day17

    Last day, Acton Turville

    September 16 in England ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    Last day. A visit back to Chipping Sodbury for a final walk. A bit like a home town now. There are various op shops in every town and it occurred to me that one easy way to travel lightweight is to buy here. Especially items like coats which can be heavy, although there is also a chance of getting a very good, warm, but lightweight coat here as well. We bought umbrellas and had plenty of choice. So many of the shops windows have tributes to the Queen.
    We have a full day train trip on Monday in Wales and we were worried that it may be cancelled due to the funeral. However, we had a confirmation email today advising that the trip would go ahead but there will be a stop and a two minute silence held.
    Later we met up with a final local contact, Ian Carter, who had been away in Spain earlier. He is the editor of the local community newsletter. So now we are done.
    The surrounds where we are staying are lovely and historic and the grounds would be a wonderful Callie playground. There are two black and white cats that do zoomies and somersaults about the house 🐈‍⬛. Our hosts house is large and newer, maybe 70s, but behind it their daughter and family live in part of a very old building.
    When the railway went through close to here there were many horse enthusiasts who wanted to visit Badminton. The Duke didn't want them staying with him so he had Portcullis House built near the station. It consists of two main buildings, one which is U shaped, where the extended family live and use the old stables as stables to this day. There is an unusual clock tower on the top. It's purpose, unknown.
    We had drinks and dinner at the pub tonight and were able to chat to more locals one last time.
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    Traveler

    🥰

    9/16/22Reply
    Traveler

    Oh,how lovely of them to include you in their tribute😂

    9/16/22Reply
    Traveler

    😁😁

    9/17/22Reply
     
  • Day17

    Oops, Bristol update

    September 16 in England ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    I neglected to mention the owner of the impressive 300 acre gated estate is the now Lord James Dyson of vacuum cleaner fame - from humble beginnings. The home is big enough to fit 17,900 ordinary homes! As a comparison, J K Rowling's estate home would fit about 9,000 homes and she was born near here at Chipping Sodbury.
    He does seem to be well liked locally and is converting buildings for accommodation and building a new set gallery. He was in trouble for installing a swimming pool in a basement without approval.
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    Traveler

    Wow! Hard to imagine the size.

    9/16/22Reply
     
  • Day16

    Bristol

    September 15 in England ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    This morning we were off to a Park & Ride for a day in Bristol. After a slightly traumatic drive we were off into the city. Tourist offices seem to have all closed down. Lucky I had some info with me but a good paper map of Bristol would have been very useful. The big red bus is expensive and their brochure is sadly lacking in detail and info. Commentary not much better. Oh well, we made it. Half way around we stopped off at the Observatory Hill Park which led us to the amazing Isambard Brunel's Clifton suspension bridge between England and Wales. This is suspended over the Avon Gorge and is spectacular. The tour down into the bowels was off the cards due to enormous number of steps. We then impatiently waited for the next bus but gave up and walked down into the port area of the city. Some wonderful architecture and colour and harbourside was lovely. Finally, a cafe, so coffee and lunch before exploring the fabulous S S Great Britain, a ship that transported many emigrants to Australia.
    Then it was a quick ferry across to rejoin the bus. So we had ticked off the two essentials of Bristol. As a city, it's not my favourite. Very busy and no real centre, but an amazing bridge and harbour. Incomparable to beautiful Bath. So, done and dusted. One day to go here and my knee needs a rest after 7.8 kilometres today!
    Oh, the first pic is of the extremely impressive entrance gate to his Dodington Estate. Mind you, he used to live in this village where we are, in the house where James great great grand grandmother lived in the early 1800s!
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    Traveler

    A busy day, how amazing is the ship! I hope Jim whipped up something delicious in the galley 😂

    9/15/22Reply
    Traveler

    Not sure which thing is more impressive,the bridge,the gateway with the perfect hedge or the ship!!

    9/15/22Reply
    Traveler

    Our 'ticket' for the ship was for a trip to Melbourne. Um, I think we will be better off keeping our cattle class by air ticket!

    9/16/22Reply
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