A place in the sun

I went home for the long weekend. I booked Tuesday off weeks ago when I still believed I would find somewhere to stay during the late May Bank Holiday. With literally all hotels and Airbnbs booked, if not overbooked, I gave up on the idea of staying in Wales overnight and went on a day trip to Llandudno instead. This was my first visit in 10 years or so and, frankly, apart from a Sainsbury’s Local that I don’t recall being there then, not much has changed. There are a few outdoors shops and an abundance of very traditional cafes, serving very traditional menu. In 27 degrees heat I didn’t fancy hot, fried food and that’s what they served and little else. I ordered a cofee in one of those establishments and I was simply asked ‘black or white’, which made me giggle; it was like decades ago when no one in the UK knew what a latte was…Anyway, the day was gorgeous and once I got my maps from the tourist information and ate my sandwich, I headed towards The Great Orme, Llandudno very own summit. I once took a tram to get there, but this time I decided to walk uphill through Happy Valley Botanical Gardens. At some point I started feeling as if I was on holiday abroad…Well, I kind of was 馃槈

I really wanted to explore The Great Orme properly and after taking an obligatory photograph of Llandudno Bay I walked past the Summit Complex (free toilets!) and all the way down towards St Tudno’s church. There was a sign announcing an open air mass but I must have missed it. The place was empty, calm and quiet. I adore churchyards. I like the fact that they were often built on pagan sites when new religion replaced ancient beliefs. Perhaps some old spirits still inhabit these places…

I then walked the Marine Drive road in scorching heat until I reached Rest And Be Thankful cafe. They had no ice despite ‘cafe con hielo’ on the menu; a milkshake I ordered seemed to consist of milk, flavouring and a lump of sugar(!). Whether it had any real bananas in it, I dared not ask. It certainly fuelled me for the rest of the day. I walked across the fields and found myself on the western side, where the views were even more stunning. I found a path marked ‘town’ but I lost it after a while and finally walked back to Llandudno along the tram track.

By the time I was back in town, Llandudno was absolutely packed resembling a typical summertime hell…I could have stayed longer but seeing the massive queues everywhere, even to Sainsbury’s, I decided to call it a day. Some 3 hours later I was back in Chester – Transport for Wales cancelled the Cardiff train and I was stuck at Llandudno Junction for 2 hours. They apologized for the inconvenience caused. Ever so polite, our rail companies 馃檪

On Monday I had little energy left having done over 26 km the day before, so I just popped in to Llangollen, with the intention of finding the ruins of cistercian abbey. They turned out to be right in the middle of a campsite. They Abbey itself was closed to visitors, a clear sign that Wales is still in lockdown. I also found another campsite. I was curious about it and found it even smaller and more peaceful, with only a few tents but quite a few campervans parked away from the grass pitches. From what I saw, there were normal toilets and sinks, even washing machines. When I finally gather my courage, this will be the place I’ll choose to stay at.

Unsurprisingly, the meadow near the Horseshoe Falls became a busy picnic area. I was much happier having my lunch break next to Llantysillio church.

I passed a horse drawn canal boat on my way back to the bus stop. The horse appeared temporarily parked, to everyone’s delight:

Despite not being able to go for a proper break I had a superb time in the North Wales. Never mind the crowds, queues, delayed trains and a no ice for iced coffee 馃槈 I often say it, but to have such beautiful surroundings within an hour drive/train journey is one of life’s biggest blessings.