After leaving Stratford-upon-Avon, we figured we’d be at our next destination – the Welsh town of Llangollen – in about three hours. Sadly, that was not to be. We got horribly lost on what one local called the “gnarly” roads, and after six hours our car was the location of a high level of stress (most of it mine, I confess!) At first we marveled at the stunning countryside:
Then we were just frustrated. Poor Souljourneyboy had to drive down roads where hedges on either side brushed the car – and we hoped and prayed no vehicle needed to come the other way! We seriously don’t know what actually happens when two cars need to use the road at the same time.
Despite the hassle, we finally arrived and got settled in, and the next day explored the gorgeous little town of Llangollen on the River Dee. Here’s what we enjoyed:
The horse-drawn water boats
These little boats are drawn up the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct by horses which walk alongside the canal. We all loved this boat trip, and our lovely horse Hercules who was quite naughty and kept stopping to eat the grass instead of pulling the boat along.
The steam train
While it was fun to ride a steam train, I personally don’t think it was worth the 50 pounds we paid, as it just goes up and down the mountain. On the way back a tree had fallen on the track, and we were delayed quite a while as a gang with chainsaws had to slide down a 60-foot hill to get to us! I think it was the most excitement the Llangollen train crew had seen in years.
Enjoying the town and surrounds
We had great fun trying to pronounce all the Welsh names and words we saw everywhere. If the roads are gnarly, then the language is more so – check out the sign above the shop:
And where do you even begin with words that have no vowels? Truly a non-intuitive language!
On our last day in Wales we decided to visit the walled town and castle of Conwy, and it was an absolute delight. Walking along the walls and right down into the castle is an amazing experience. I think this was my favourite of all the castles; you experience such rich, untouched history here. And with the sea on one side and Snowdonia on the other, the scenery is breathtaking. We also enjoyed a visit to Plas Mawr, the ‘Great Hall’, built between 1576 and 1585 for the influential Welsh merchant, Robert Wynn. Plas Mawr is the finest surviving town house of the Elizabethan era in Britain, and is a fascinating, interactive exhibit.
We loved our few days in Wales – I can’t wait to come back and explore more of the Welsh countryside!