Friday, August 24, 2012

A taste of Wales

It turns out that Wales is completely free from WiFi access hence no blog.

So we made it to Sussex after a torturous time in Victoria Station. We almost killed each other - there were so many people and it was so hot that it was just mental. And when it came to getting off the train mum managed it but I got stuck on it and ended up having to go to the next station on my own and being picked up from there. Bit of a nightmare!

It was lovely to see the family in Sussex. We had a sort of reunion when we arrived and everyone came over to Eilidh's for a BBQ and copious amounts of alcohol. It was a beautiful day so we sat in her picturesque garden all afternoon.

Later we went over to Rowfant house (pictured) for a drink by the lake and my cousin Tony took me on a grand tour of the house and we even invited ourselves in to some man's bathroom so we could see the stained glass crest of the Locker-Lampson's which was pretty special.

I was feeling like ass that day due to a cold but pushed on through until about 9pm.

The next morning mum, Tony and I went for a walk through the woods from Eilidh's to Tony's. It's so idyllic there. And so lush! We had coffee at Tony and Francis' before heading to Gatwick to pick up a car a drive to Peterchurch where we were staying with an airbnb couple (our first one!).

We got to Gatwick, I was about to die from illness, picked up the car and met up with Emma and Hamish who are due to be parents any day now. Very exciting! It was a very brief catch up and I was feeling awful so I wasn't the best company unfortunately!

We started our road trip to Wales and on the M25 so it wasn't the most scenic route but we had been given directions for one of the A roads from a friend of mum's who we were going to visit en route. We missed the turn off because as I woke up I thought mum was taking off onto some random motorway and I screamed and told her to go off on the wrong ramp. Fortunately it didn't make any difference because we could still turn off at a place called Sodbury and end up in the same place. So we got off there and tried to find a place for lunch. We came across a place called Malmesbury (pictured) and thought we'd see what was on offer. Turns out that Malmesbury is the oldest, and prettiest, town in Britain! So gorgeous. Little old stone houses, pretty lanes with window boxes full of colorful flowers, surrounded by the original wall and a river. We couldn't believe our luck! Nowhere was serving food but we had a bag of chips in a funny little pub with a dero skittle hall and an expansive beer garden.

As we were leaving I found out that there was an abbey in Malmesbury with 5 acres of garden and over 10,000 varieties of roses so we had to go back even though we were running SO late by this point.

The gardens were spectacular and I can see that we will end up trying to replicate them at home! Oh dear!

We finally got back on the road and headed for Liz's place in Cannop. We went along quite a few back roads which were barely wide enough to fit a car through but they were 2 way roads (pictured).Very pretty though with the banks lined with wild roses and berries.

We arrived at Cannop and I collapsed on the sofa barely able to speak. Mum had a glass of wine and we scoffed some pikelets before heading back to our tiny VW Up! and getting back on track to Peterchurch.

More tiny back roads crossing into Wales briefly (Highland cattle in the highlands of Wales - pictured), some good examples of the Welsh language (pictured) and an encounter with 2 incredibly drunk Welshmen (drunk and Welsh is a combination that makes language unintelligible) and we were back in England and searching for the smallest town with no addresses and in the dark. Needless to say we got lost and the host had to wander the street looking for us. We did eventually make it there and almost instantaneously collapsed into bed.

The hosts were very nice and welcoming and had 2 adorable dos, Monty (pictured) and Jasper. We were given a tour around their chocolate house the next morning and bought a few bits and pieces for the car ride. Nom!

We resumed the drive to Anglesey via many little towns and back roads. All were very pretty. Mum had read an article about the 'Great Drives of Britain' and had read that the drive through Snowdonia was meant to be one of them. So we stopped in a little village just before the park and asked some people if they knew which road it was. . They looked a bit confused but said it was probably this particular road going through Llanberis but it was a really bad road and once you'd driven there you can drive anywhere. We thought that was quite exciting so off we went. Halfway over we realized we weren't heading towards Llanberis (there are a few different routes through the park) which was just as well because the road was better than 90% of the roads in NZ. So we had a giggle and decided we'd do the real one on our way to Liverpool.

We got to Wales and our accommodation had been changed due to the original people double booking but the new accommodation was actually much better and closer to where we wanted to be. I had to sleep that afternoon to get my health back on track but mum went for a walk around her old stoping ground, Church Bay (pictured).

That evening we went in search of food and asked a man walking along the road where we should go. He was Welsh (not drunk this time) and I couldn't understand anything he said. He was speaking English but it was just impossible. I think I squinted my eyes up thinking that it would somehow make me understand something - it didn't work. We ended up at a place called The Stag Inn in Caemes Bay. Food was alright, decor needed some work. For some reason we stood out like sore thumbs in Wales. People constantly stared at us. It was very weird.

Ok. Enough for one post. I need to catch up but I also need to catch up with my diary.

Adios from Arta!

Kerry x

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