My Life as a Traveler

Welcoming Wales

Bridge to Betws-y-Coed (pronounced BET-oos-uh-coyd)

Bridge to Betws-y-Coed (pronounced BET-oos-uh-coyd)

Mountain stream at Betws-y-Coed

Mountain stream at Betws-y-Coed

We have one full day in northern Wales to see all of the sights. What do we do? Woolen mills, botanical gardens, a mine, a national park, walks along the mountain stream, castles? So many choices!

Chips for take-away

Chips for take-away

Breakfast was with our host Alan, a former ski coach and fascinating fellow. After a bit, his buddy Ray joins the fray and, after chatting about the various options, there is a plan. To the mountains and end with a castle!

At the base of Mount Snowden

At the base of Mount Snowden

We’re heading to Mount Snowden, the highest point in the British Isles outside Scotland. It’s cloudy today, though, so it’s not clear that we will actually see the mountain. No worries, we go anyway. The drive up through green forest opens up to glacier-sculpted rocky valleys. First stop is the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed for a short walk along a mountain stream. The smell of the pines and the blooming rhododendrons remind me of the forests in the Oregon coastal mountains. We get some chips to go on the way out.

Glacier-carved valley

Glacier-carved valley

Next stop is Beddgelert, translated as Gelert’s Grave. Gellert was a dog who belonged to Llywelyn the Great, a Prince of Wales. The story goes, Llywelyn, a new father, returns from hunting to find his infant son’s cradle turned over, the baby missing, and his dog, Gellert, greeting him anxiously. The dog’s mouth is smeared with blood. Llywelyn, jumping to conclusions, believes that the dog killed his son, so he draws his sword and kills the dog. As the dog is dying, Llywelyn hears the cries of his son, who is unharmed and safe under the cradle. Next to the boy is a dead wolf who had attacked the child but was killed by Gellert. Llywelyn is extremely remorseful and buries the dog with great ceremony. From that day forward, Llywelyn never smiled again. Sad story, but the setting is pretty. We continue walking down the stream and turn back after the steam train rumbles by.

Inn at Beddgelert

Inn at Beddgelert

Monument to Gelert

Monument to Gelert

A mountain of rhododendrons

A mountain of rhododendrons

All signs are in Welsh, then English

All signs are in Welsh, then English

The mountain train

The mountain train

Back on the road again, we do a quick drive-by of Caernarfon Castle and continue on to Beaumaris. We’re running a little late, so we only have 45 minutes to explore this 13th century castle, which is a shame, because it is so beautiful. Perfectly proportioned, complete with swans in the moat and a chapel with acoustics that make even my voice sound great.

Entrance to Beaumaris Castle

Entrance to Beaumaris Castle

View of Beaumaris moat

View of Beaumaris moat

Beaumaris castle interior

Beaumaris castle interior

Castle chapel

Castle chapel

Back to Conwy, we find Alan’s recommended pub and have an early dinner. Tomorrow, on to our last stop, Liverpool. We don’t have to leave until noon, so we can take it easy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s