A boat trip from St Justinian to Ramsey & Skomer island

Salut, salut

Here is the article about « the thing that we don’t do every day », finally. This article is important for me because I’d like to make you feel at least a quarter of what we felt, of the beauty we witnessed and it might be difficult with words because this place doesn’t need words. When we looked for something original to do for our 10 years anniversary, I remembered that I read in my Lonely Planet something about boat trips around Ramsey island in Pembrokeshire and we thought that it was exactly the right time to do it because we don’t do boat trips in our every day life. There are several tour operators possible included Voyages of Discovery, Thousand Islands and Blue Ocean Adventures; prices are similar and time on boat too. We didn’t know which one to choose so I simply sent an email asking them why they were the best choice among all (depending on tour, staff and boats), it’s a really simple thing to do and might appear stupid but you easily get an idea according to who answer and how they talk about their company. Among the three of them, one didn’t answer and the first who answered talked about the boats’ safety so we chose this one. « We’ll explore with Voyages of Discovery ».

Once we had the tour operator, we had to choose the tour. At first we wanted the big one, 2h30 on a boat for £60 and the title was « offshore islands whale and dolphin watch », a tour around Grassholm and the Small Lighthouse, seemed to be great; expensive but great. I called to book and the lady on the phone told me to call the next day to check the weather, unfortunately because of the weather the tour was canceled (could be dangerous to go there with the wind etc) but they advised another tour, 1h to 1h30 on a boat for £26 around Ramsey Island to see some animals, caves and the island so we were a little bit disappointed because it wasn’t a big one but we though that it was better than nothing so we said yes. The following day we arrived at St Davids and when we went to their office they told us that the last boat for this tour just went out, that was on us, we should have get there earlier. The last tour they had for the day was in an hour, a 2h boat tour called « Islands expedition » for £45 around Ramsey Island and Skomer Island. Per-fect! It was exactly between the two previous one, in term of prices and time. Per-fect!

This time, we didn’t dawdle, we didn’t want to be late so we went back to the car and drove 15mn to arrive at St Justinian. When we arrived, there’s a free car park but no empty spaces so we had to go to the £3 one. We went there and here’s the #VeryBritishProblem… We had to pay £3 right, but we had £2.50 old coins and £3 new coins. Guess what? The machine doesn’t take new pounds! This is absolutely ridiculous, I mean okay you changed the coins, fine, they’re better now but wasn’t it possible to think about machines first? Anyway, we called Voyages of Discovery and they were very nice, they took our number plate and told us to give £3 to Sam. We just needed to find who Sam was. Finally, we arrived at the boat rendez-vous point and Sam was the first person we saw, great! He looks like a beach boy from our Atlantic coast, blond hair and a Jax Teller’ look, it made us smile and we got the feeling that it was going to be great.

We still had 40mn to waste so we walked along the cliff. Breathtaking.

Then we took the stairs and sat closed to the dog, Sam and other people. He gave us big coats because even with 24 degrees on the mainland, it was going to be chilly on the boat. The boat arrived with a driver and a guide, Neil and Martin, they helped us go onboard, advised us to put our coat on, explained how to put the life jackets, checked and let’s go. We were a little bit afraid but so excited!

This water’s colour is unbelievable, it looks like a painting which shines and reflects. We got closer to Ramsey Island and saw opposite currents forming holes, tides, Neil and Martin explained to us how it works, and we even went into one of them, it was scary but so interesting! Once the boat started we got off easily. The island is beautiful, huge and really impressing, birds flew over us, they are called shearwaters.

Martin told us that we were going to one of the caves because we might find friends there…

So, here is Phoque the seal (phoque means seal in French, Le Barbu lacks of originality for names). We can clearly see him with our own eyes but I had to zoom with my camera , don’t worry we weren’t so closed with the boat. Actually, this is one of the thing we really liked about this boat trip, we could see animals but neither Martin or Neil wanted to go after them nor closer because they wanted to respect their lives and we appreciated it, we were on their lands so we let them and admired them from a respectful distance. We stayed a little near Ramsey Island to watch birds and Mr Phoque, breathe and realise how lucky we were then we went away. Direction: offshore!

And offshore, we could see the beautiful Ramsey Island, birds and… dolphins and porpoises! Voilà. You’re on a boat, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by blue and you glimpse a fin, two fins, three fins. It is magic. We could see them jumping and during those moments we didn’t really take photos because we were just enjoying. I got this one while photographing Ramsey Island. How lucky we were!

We didn’t see a lot of them but as I said, we weren’t going to chase them we were lucky enough to see what we saw and that was fine for us. We stayed a little while, we watched them and then we went to Skomer Island.

The closer we got to Skomer, the the more birds we saw. I was impatient to meet puffins, I think they are really cute, I thought they were bigger though. But the littlest the cutest, right? With their little orange bec, they look like penguin-birds.

Skomer Island is owned by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and is managed by National Trust of South and West Wales. It is a scientific site and a Historic Monument! It is the largest island of Pembrokeshire with its 730 acres. There are more than 6000 puffins’ couples on Skomer and more than 2000 couples on Skokholm (an island nearby), 120000 shearwaters’ couples on Skomer and 45000 on Skokholm, we saw thousands of them and it was crazy! We also had the chance to see Miss Mouette (mouette means seagull in French), she had less friends than the puffins and the shearwaters but they were here too. Actually, Miss Mouette sat on our boat and stayed for a while, looking at us, pooed, photobombed one of my photos and went away. Martin called her Steven for Steven Seagull/Seagal and we found it funny. It is funny, isn’t it? We also saw some jellyfishes, one of them I’ve never seen before the moon jellyfish, beautiful but scary! Martin told us that it was dangerous to swim here because of them.

Our 2h tour was going to end, we were sad but so happy at the same time! We were so lucky to witness all that beauty but the weather started to look gloomy. On our way back, we saw two cute seals, they were looking at us with only their heads out of the water but we couldn’t really see more than that because of the mist that was coming. We went on the boat with a shiny sun and 24 degrees and we landed back with a huge mist and 14 degrees… In two hours! But what a souvenir we created during those two hours, one of our most beautiful!

Useful info: we chose Voyages of Discovery, a 2h tour for £45 per person, the money is taken from your account only when you take the boat. There are 12 people on the boat and 2 employees. We met a young man at the office, Sam, Neil (I’m really sorry if I spelled it wrong), and Martin and they were all extremely nice and we had an unforgettable time, thanks a lot! Honestly, I was a little bit afraid first but they reassured me because they were so professional, we learnt a lot, saw beautiful places and animals that we’re not used to see, we had a fabulous time. It was an amazing gift for our 10 years anniversary and we’re really happy we chose this over material gifts. In those times you see how little you are, you human, and how nature is spectacular, we’re so lucky and we should preserve our beautiful planet because it deserves it…

I hope I was able to show you how beautiful this moment was, how extraordinary it was and I hope you understand that I highly recommend you to do it too, it worths the price. I leave you with Miss Mouette and her photobomb, and Skomer going away. Des bisous

(photos are mine, please don’t use them without permission)

Discovering Pembrokeshire: St Davids

Without you – Tobias Jesso Jr

Salut, salut

Today I’m not posting a recipe but a lovely tour in Wales. For our 10 years anniversary (10 years…!), le Barbu and I decided not to buy gifts but to discover somewhere new, create memories and do things we don’t do in our everyday life. We went from East to West, that’s how you realise that Wales is not a large country because it took us only 2H20 to go from Cardiff to St Davids! I’ll write 3 posts about our little tour in North Pembrokeshire: 1st today about St Davids, 2nd Wednesday about “a thing we don’t do in our everyday life” and 3rd Friday about lovely places.

We took our car to get there, by leaving at 9am we arrived at 11:30am, perfect timing for what we had planned. Roads are quite good, there’s the M4 but it gets better when you leave it and take little roads, Welsh roads where you can see sheep, cows, beaches and coast. Motorways are great because they are faster but so boring whereas little roads are good fun. We drove past St Brides Bay, it was sunny, gorgeous and a nice sun welcomed us in St Davids.

Why did we choose this town? Everyone knows about St Patrick, Irish and others celebrate Ireland’s patron saint, well there’s one for each country and in Wales, it is Saint David. There’s a cathedral to visit, a nice town and what I’ve liked a lot was the legend of Saint David. I’m going to tell you the story, very briefly, according to what I’ve read on historic-uk and in my book Welsh Legends and Myths by G. Watkins. It might not be all accurate, legends after are not supposed to be strict history.

Let’s go back to 6th century. A beautiful little girl, Nonnita, born Royal Princess in a small town called Menevia embraced the new religion, Christianity. She devoted herself to a life of celibacy and devotion for her only God and showed absolutely no interest in men. Little by little, she became well-known and people come from far away to see her, hear her words and wisdom. Sant, King of Ceredigion is one of those people, when he saw her he felt a powerful desire and even though she resisted, he took her and violated her. I’ve read a lot of legends about Saint David and they are all quite similar but a lot of them just mention his “royal blood parents” without this part of the story and I think it’s not fair because it is important to explain that Nonnita resisted.

Nonnita became pregnant and when her waters broke, she took refuge near the sea. She washed herself and lay down in the mud. A storm started with ugly clouds and pouring rain but as soon as the child arrived, a single ray of sunshine illuminated the mother and her child. Nonnita decided to give him the name “Dewi Sant” in Welsh, “Dewi” is “David” in English. He was raised as a Christian and his mother left to establish several religious sites but his education was taking care of by two priests, Saint Columba and Saint Finnegan. They taught him theology, languages and history, they also engaged a blind tutor, Paulinius. Guess what? His first miracle is going to be for him! He splashed water into Paulinius’ eyes and when he reopened them, he was able to see! What was the first thing he saw? A bunch of daffodils… Hence the Welsh symbol.

Saint David developed his religious side, he is called “David the Water Drinker” because of one of his rule: always drink water, unless it is safer to drink wine or beer. He was a strict vegetarian and frequently immersed himself in freezing water as an act of piety. He traveled a lot and was really well-known, so much that people complained they couldn’t see him in churches because there were too much of them. No problem, he took a handkerchief, put it on the floor, stood on it and a small hill appeared so everyone can see him. Classy, right? So he preached and a dove landed on his shoulder. Super classy, right? He taught people to “do the little things”, went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was named bishop. He foresaw his death and at around 100 years-old he died during a Viking raid on 1st March 589. AH! Hence the national day…

In 1120 Pope Calistuts II canonised him and declared that 2 pilgrimages to David’s tomb = 1 to Rome, 3 pilgrimages to David’s tomb = 1 to Jerusalem.

Now you know every thing, roughly, about his legend. Let’s see the cathedral.

Photos: entrance, the Bible in Welsh, one of the gorgeous ceilings, the Lady Chapel.

Good to know: you have to pay £2 to take photos in the cathedral. First, we were like “oh, common’ there are a lot of people without a badge so they haven’t payed, we’re not going to” but then, after 30 secondes “hum, cathedral, God, karma, respect…” and we payed, I got a beautiful self-sticking thing on my arm. The cathedral is really beautiful and huge (as you can see in the first photo of the post)! It is rustic, walls and decorations are amazing. There’s also a treasure room that I liked but Le Barbu didn’t because he doesn’t understand the fact that Church posses things but he liked the cathedral anyway, that means that even if you have different tastes and opinions, everyone can enjoy the cathedral and find something interesting. There was something that was strange though, 3 statues: one of Saint Patrick (Ireland’s patron saint), one of Saint David (Wales’ patron saint) and one of Saint Andrew (Scotland’s patron saint) but none of Saint George (England’s patron saint). The big question is: why? That was strange and funny at the same time.

After this little tour, we went to the town centre and even though we hadn’t much time, I can tell you one thing: I’m falling in-love with cottages, those little houses are so cute!

Photos: part of the cemetery, town centre pub, one of the cottages, beautiful flowers.

Le Barbu ate a Welsh rarebit in that pub and found it quite good, staffs were nice but, again, we didn’t stay long. If you don’t know what a Welsh rarebit is, it is a “nice but fat meal” (looks like that). We arrived in St Davids under a clear blue sky, 26 degrees, very nice and all of a sudden, clouds, rain and little thunder. Great. Awesome. I was a little bit scared for the rest of our day but it went away as fast as it came. Maybe we can thank Dewi. Or not? We decided in St Davids that if one day we want to change our careers, we’d take cows for their milk, hen for their eggs and sheep for their wool. And that, that is a great plan! They also have nice birds here, jackdaws they are called. They look like ravens but nicer and with a better sound.

We went back to the cathedral to take our car and fly to our next adventure. Saint Davids’ flag was proudly flying, water from the stream was making a soft noise and ran peacefully, birds were singing their lives, elderly people were sitting on benches and pupils were playing around. Saint Davids was pleasant! Authentic, natural and pleasant.

I hope that you enjoyed the little tour, on Wednesday I’ll take you with us to one of our best memory ever! Des bisous

 

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CRUSH #10

Hen Wlad fy Nhadau – Welsh Choir of the Black Mountain

Salut, salut

You probably know it (or you don’t), we’re living in Cardiff since October and Wales is a real crush for us, wherever we will be in a month, 10 months, a year, 10 years… It will be “Wales forever”. The other day I found an advert by Visit Wales in which we see Luke Evans (recently in Beauty and the Beast) talking a little but about his country and how should I say that… I fell in love. The views are stunning, the way he speaks like a story teller, the effects; the advert in itself that makes me want to grab my backpack and just go, right now. I am absolutely crazy about those 40sc, I saw them I don’t know how many times but just hearing the Welsh names makes me smile. I know I totally sound crazy but, last time I shared a video of my sand dune that I really miss and I wanted to share a little bit of Wales too. Here is the advert:

So, am I the only one who wants to backpack? Honestly? In 11 days we’re heading West for 2 little days, I can’t wait to see more of Wales!

If you want to see more posts about Wales, here are the ones I’ve written:

Des bisous

(Find this article in French here)

 

Caerphilly Castle

Castle On The Hill – Ed Sheeran

Salut, salut

Ed Sheeran’s song is perfect for this article – a little castle on a little hill, because today I’d like you to come with us in Caerphilly to visit a nice castle. When you live in Cardiff, it is pretty easy to find green lands in a small amount of time and we love that, there’s a lot to see, to visit and to walk. Caerphilly is only 30mn away from Cardiff if you have a car and 45mn with buses. Let’s go to the castle.

I took those pictures on the same day and as you can see, the weather changes quickly here. It’s easy to have a grey sky and suddenly a shiny sun… Wales’ magic!

Castles might be boring for some and all the same but walking there, imagining how life was and looking at the views… That’s why I love them! It is definitely worth it.

Caerphilly castle is second as biggest castle in Great Britain, with the artificial lakes there’s approx 30h of land, nice isn’t it? It was built between 1268 and 1290 by Gilbert de Clare, a man who decided to conquer Glamorgan by fighting with the locals around. Pretty nice man.

I’m not going to tell you the whole story of the castle, which is very interesting by the way, but I let you google it if you’re really interested, some articles are really great.

I don’t know how it’s possible but castles have a certain impact on me, something magic happens when I’m there; the view is mind-blowing, the light is fantastic, the air is fresh, I close my eyes and I enjoy going a few centuries back. Might be the reason why my head hit a door actually. Be careful, watch your feet and your head because you’ll never win against one of those brick door! It hurts sooo bad, I had a bump! And my dignity… Don’t mention that.

As in a lot of castle, a little ghost haunts this one. Gilbert was married to a beautiful woman, Princess Alice d’Angoulême but the lady quickly felt resentment because of her husband’s waring disposition. One day, Gruffudd the Fair, Prince of Brithdir paid a visit to the castle and the two birds fell in love. Gruffudd confessed his love to a monk but he rated him to Gilbert, can you imagine Gilbert’s reaction? Not good, eh? You’re right! He sent his wife back to France and ordered his men to find her lover. Meantime, Gruffudd learned about the monk’s betrayal and decided to go after him, he found him and hanged him to a tree. Right after his revenge, Gilbert arrived and there you go, another body hanged on a tree, Gruffudd’s body! Gilbert was very proud of himself and decided to set a messenger to France to inform the Princess, as soon as she heard the news, she dropped dead. Since them, “The Lady in Green” haunts the castle, colored in green to represent Gilbert’s envy, she just waits in silent solitude to be reunited with her lover.

There’s something else really particular to Caerphilly; the leaning tower. The castle was used during the Civil War and the south-east tower as you can see, was a little bit damaged. A man seems to be preventing it from falling; it is a wooden sculpture of J. Merrill from 2013. The man is the first Marquis of Bute because thanks to his wealth and persistence the castle was restored until it was handed over to the government in 1950.

It’ll cost you £7.95 for adults, £5.20 for children/seniors/students and nothing for disabled/-5 yo kids. To write this article I used the help of a BBC page and a Great Castles one.

I hope you enjoyed the walk :) Would you like to tell me which castle is your favourite? I’d love to have castles’ ideas. You’ll find all my posts about Wales here, and this article in French here.

Des bisous

Harlech, castle and sea

Drive – Incubus

Living in Cardiff, the sea is not that far, well it is Bristol Canal, but we miss large beaches with thin sand and waves so after Caernarfon and Snowdonia National Park, we wanted to go somewhere where we could find a castle and the sea. Wales is full of castles, it has the most castles per miles square so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one with the sea; hop we fell onto Harlech and decided to go there.

Once again, mountains are not far and I really like it. You take a little altitude thanks to the castles and ou find yourself with a gorgeous and diverse nature.

Harlech Castle is famous and in a really good shape, when we went there a dragon was there too, it xxx. Well, it was there but I could only see the hand because the head was already taken back (made me so sad).

Crazy thing; you can walk where the guards used to and it’s pretty scary because the walls aren’t high but you are so don’t look down, look away and admire the castle, the view, take a deep breathe and everything will be fine.

We decided to end our Harlech tour to the beach, we though that the beach was going to be like in Barry but, surprise, a sand dune! I miss my dune du Pilat very much so I was really happy to find a tiny there, reminding of my hometown. A sand dune with wild flowers, little waves, mountains not far and freezing water. What else?

Before we left I put sand in a little jar. Jar in the car, we drove to Bala, our last stop before sleeping in Birmingham and driving to France. I’ve told you earlier that legends and stories were one of the reason we came here so here’s a little one. There’s in Bala a lake, quite usual in the region but what makes that lake special? Well, in this lake there’s Teggie. Teggie is a big crocodile/little dinosaur that has been seen by some inhabitants… Yes, Wales has its Nessie! We looked for Teggie but couldn’t find her so, another time maybe? Don’t tell me Nessie and Teggie don’t exist, it might be possible, right?

And there we are, our 2 days road-trip accros North Wales is over, you’ll find all the articles here. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it, that you’ve travelled with us and I wish you well. Next article will be yummy yummy, until then, des bisous.

Snowdonia, magic and pure beauty (North Wales)

Where Do You Run – The Scores

Llanberis

Salut, salut

After my first article about North Wales and the walk in Caernarfon, it’s time for me to show you a little bit more of Snowdonia National Park. This park is known because of Snowdon, the 1085m mountain but there’s so much to see in this area: 35 miles from East to West and 50 miles from North to South. Honestly, when we went there, we expected to see sheep and no disappointments: 2/3 of the park is privately owned and used for raising sheep and cattle. We even saw a magpie on a walking sheep “hey, you want a ride magpie, I can take you to the Snowdon lily”. Animals make me laugh, a lot (too much? maybe).

Llanberis
Llanberis
Près de Llyn Peris

We didn’t have a lot of time so the Lonely Planet in our pocket, we decided to drive following more or less its “circling Snowdon” tour. We started at Llanberis (pictures 1, 2, 3) from where you can see Dolbadarn Castle built before 1230 by the Princes of Gwynedd (which was painted by my favourite painter, Turner!), we stopped by Llyn Peris (picture 4), then near Snowdon (picture 5). We drove again and again and after the 20% slope, we arrived at Pen-Y-Pass where light changes literally every 10 secondes (pictures 6, 7, 8, 9 and cover). There you’ll find Pen-Y-Gwryd Hotel, the training base for the 1953 Everest conquerors. Back in the car, practically alone and priviledge to see all this beauty (picture 10), we remembered how small we are comparing to nature, those big mountains and lakes (pictures 11, 12), then we drove towards Dinas Emrys (pictures 13, 14).

Around Snowdon

We went there in October and before that, I’d never seen places the same colour as Eliott (our cat); the landscape was ginger and the sky was white. It was magic, we fell in love with Caernarfon and then we went to Snowdonia and we fell in love with Snowdonia too. It’s the kind of place where you want to rent a cute house, light a fire, have a nice meal with your loved ones, read a good book with a tea… Pa-ra-dise. Oh, and running there? I’d love to, a dream! Please, give me a house there; let me go back right now!

Pen-Y-Pass
Pen-Y-Pass
Pen-Y-Pass
Pen-Y-Pass

(Okay, I’m going to say things, if there are not true, tell me! I’ve found the info in the Lonely Planet and some websites… but don’t hesitate!)

In Welsh, Snowdonia means highlands and Snowdon means Great Tomb. But why? Well, according to a legend, King Arthur killed a giant called Rita Gawr there and now he is buried at the summit. I hope it’s true… if it’s not tell me and Lonely Planet will know it because I’ve read that in the book ahah. Legends and stories are one of the reasons why we wanted to come to Wales and to visit North Wales:

– There’s Dinas Emrys, legendary home of the Red Dragon. According to the legend, King Vortirgen, son-in-law of Roman chief Magnus Maximus wanted to build a castle on the hill but it kept collapsing. One day, a young sorcerer called Merlin (Myrddin Emrys) freed 2 dragons in a cavern under the hill. One of them was white and represented the Saxons (ancestors of Germans); the other one was red and represented the British. According to the prophecy, both will fight until the Red Dragon triumph.

– There’s Beddgelert, the lovely village with a sad name. In Welsh, Beddgelert means “Gelert’s grave” and he story is moving but sad. We’re in the 13th century; Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd goes hunting without Gelert “the faithfull hound” who was unusually not here. When the prince comes back, the dog comes to him with pride but also blood, Llywelyn worries and runs towards his son’s bedroom but the bed is empty, the sheets full of blood… He thinks Gelert killed his son and pushes his sword into his flank; screaming of the dog are followed by cring of a kid. The Prince finds his son safe, near to him lies a wolf’s body killed by Gelert to protect the heir. Llywelyn is full of remorse and according to the legend; he never smiled since that day.

– There’s more that I might tell you later…

So we drove around Snowdon, we hoped to sea some dragons, some sheep and beautiful mountains. We expected green, some lakes, some people but reality was above that. I mean, look at those pictures, this place is all about nature, only nature matters.

Around Dinas Emrys
Around Dinas Emrys

I hope you’ve enjoyed strolling around Snowdonia with us; just writing this article makes me want to go back, I miss this place so much! I leave you with a picture of Beddgelert and a teaser for the next article: seaside. Des bisous, à très vite.

If I could escape: Caernarfon, North Wales

Crazy in Love – Oh Wonder

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Salut, salut

I will never forget Caernarfon. I fell in love with this place. We chose Caernarfon as our first stop after we read an article about poppies in the castle by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper to commemorate 11/11. You might not know it but your commemorations here are not like in France, first of all because we have a bank holiday on this day but also we were struck by the fact that you seem to be more aware of the signification than people in France. You stop 2mn at 11 on the 11/11, you do silent minutes and trumpet before games, put on poppies on your cities, your jackets… You do what you do and it’s different, it’s nice to see different things. Anyway, this year poppies were in Caernarfon castle so we went there.

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There are more than poppies to see there; first of all: seagulls (+400 points), then the castle is stunning, we almost lost ourselves! There are so many rooms and things to see, to go down to, to go up to, to weave in in and out to… There’s a 60% that you arrive in another wing but the fun is here!

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Go up. Go up and up again and you will never forget the view. It is so beautiful, one side with the sea, another with the port, oh and another one with the mountains… What else? It is absolutely breathtaking. Almost litteraly because when you’re up, everything is fine and suddenly, the wind blows and it is so cold that it’s possible you forget to think and say to yourself “oh shoot, I have to breathe.”

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As in many places, wait until the sun goes down a little and there’s the magic, the view is more and more beautiful. The castle is great but the view, really I swear, it’s when you fall in love. Just writing those sentences to you and I want to go back and knowing that I only have a couple of hours… But I have no car and no licence. But I’m definitely going back in Caernafon!

I filmed the view from the tops so, here is a little video about the stunning view. You can see more stunning views of other places (Bordeaux, London…) right here.

We’ve loved the castle and only left it at closing time, we walked in the streets and then we went to the beach to admire the view, you can see it on the first picture. We admired the view for a while and said “oh, ow lucky we are to be here…”.

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It’s a really fabulous place and I hope that I’ve succeeded in showing it to you. I think you get it, I’m crazy about this place, both of us are actually. I leave you here, I wish you a lovely day and new articles will come soon. Des bisous

(You can fin this article in French here and the first article about North Wales here)

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If I could escape: North Wales

The Hollow in Restrospect – Corey Kilgannon, Liza Anne

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Salut, salut

I’ve already told you (and showed you), Wales is a place full of colours, castles, sheeps,… Lots of places are gorgeous. During autumn break we went to North Wales for a 3 days road-trip. Let me tell you something that I keep repeating: I’ve seen there one of the most beautiful thing on earth, nature. But not only green nature, no, colourful nature, wild, cold and icy but comfy. I fell in love. Yes, I did.

North wil have a couple of articles, this one is going to be practical: why, how to go there, books or websites to advise, where to stop… There are several places to see but in 3 days we hadn’t time to see everything so if you have addresses, infos about things we’ve missed, please share because I really want to go back.

Why?

Look. At. That. Photos talk better than I do.

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How to?

First thing first: Wales is a quite small country, it’ll take you less than 5 hours to go from South to North. We left Cardiff (south) and our first stop was Caernafon (relatively north), it took us … hours. We rented a car with Europcar, it was the cheapest and the best thing to do because when you rent a car you do whatever you want, you stop whenever you want, it is not that expensive and you only have the gas to pay. Pick a good car, we had a Meriva and it didn’t really liked the 20% slope, we though we were going to go backwards (nice)! Also, choose a comfy car because your bottoms might like it better if you do a road-trip. Shortcut: renting a car is nice, renting a car and paying a little bit more but being comfy is great.

Books or webistes?

WHY? Why aren’t they plenty of books about Wales? For a start, try to find a complete guide book in French about Wales… Ah! That made me so angry, so what, isn’t Wales great enough to have a guide book for itself? Saperlipopette! Anyway, I found one, Lonely Planet and it is quite good (he better be!) and one of the thing I appreciate the most in this book is the little tours in it. Also, I dig on the Internet, found things on Pinterest:

Where to stop?

Everywhere, absolutely everywhere. Not possible? Okay. First thing when you think about North Wales: Snowdonia, of course, mountains! In the Lonely Planet there’s a nice tour of Snowdon with really interesting stuffs. There are also a lot of castles, pick yours ^^.

Our choices: Caernarfon, Snowdon, the Red Moutain, Beddgelert, Pen-Y-Pass, Harlech…

One day maybe: Anglesey, Bangor, Conwy…

Where to sleep?

At the beginning we’ve looked for Airbnbs but we arrived too late, nevertheless there are great ones in the area, you just need to look at the map. We chose this hotel:

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Ty Dre Town House, Caernafon. This hotel has a perfect location, in the centre, and the pub for your breakfast/lunch/dinner/drinks is only one street away. The room we had was huge, a big bathroom, tv, kitchen, a king size bed and we slept so well! If we ever go back to Caernafon and I really want to), we will probably go back to this hotel. Rooms start around £70 if I remember, wifi and breakfast included. What else?

I think that’s pretty much everything… The first article will bring us to Caernarfon and I hope I will be able to faithfully transpose the beauty! I wish you a lovely week, des bisous.

(This article is in French here)

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If I could escape: Aberdulais Falls

Cheap Thrills – Kina Grannis

Salut, salut

Last Monday, my “If I could escape” brought us to Neath, with a beautiful blue sky and it was quite nice isn’t it? When we visited the abbey, we finished it early so we looked for another place to see and we saw that with a 10mn drive we could go to “Aberdulais Falls”; that seemed to be nice and the timing was perfect. This place is quite funny because at first sight, you wouldn’t imagine such a thing, it was a nice suprise :)

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You see this little place? Would you imagine falls there? Actually, the site is part of the National Trust and there’s more: a powered wheel, a sort of museum because it’s an historical site and above all, nature!

So, what is this thing you can see? You can see one of the old building of a tin mine/works and this is the reason why this site is historical. The metal was melted, twisted and transformed into tins :)

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Nature side, water is transparent and you might want to swim in it if you didn’t know it was freezing ahah.

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Here’s the wheel I told you about; it was so heavy, it has to be pulled by horses, humans weren’t enough. The site is pretty well done, you can go up of the building near the wheel and you have a nice view of the site. There are also couple of stuffs on the floor explaining what they used to be useful for and it is playful. You can move around as you want, the site isn’t that big so it won’t take you 3 hours but it is nice. So, there you are, at the foot of secure stairs and you go up, then you’ll find the falls.

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You sit here, you enjoy the sound and the view of the falls; can’t complain uh? I wish you a lovely week and I leave you with an “ambiance”. Des bisous

For more info, see National Trust website. See this article in French here

 

If I could escape: Neath Abbey

Yellow – Coldplay

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Salut, salut

I don’t need to tell you that to work in the United Kingdom, you need to have a National Insurance Number, you all know that. We wanted to be legal workers, pay taxes and so on so to have that number we had the choice between Bristol and Neath and we didn’t want to go to Bristol so, Neath here we come! It was really sunny, not hot of course but it was really nice to have that sunbeam in our back, warming us.

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I’m gonna let you see the grandeur, the beauty.

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This little thing used to be a Cistercian abbey, not so little since it once was the largest of all Wales, and it was built in 1129. A nice fellow gave 3200 hectares to Savigniac monks and they came in 1130.

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During the 13th century, it was ravaged by the Welsh uprisings, then there’s the Dissolution of Monasteries by King Henry VIII, the abbey was dissolved in 1539. Because of that, they transformed it into a nice estate; Sir Philip Hobby was the last occupant. In 1730, a part of the estate is used for copper smelting. This is History!

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The site is sometimes used as films or tv shows locations (Doctor Who, Merlin…). We saw people running there, training, walking their dogs and we just enjoyed the place to inhale the fresh air. Wales is full of place like this, super-green and peaceful, just wait and you’ll see ;)

Tell me, which place is your peaceful heaven?

Des bisous

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