This blogging and drive to get more Instagram followers came after I spent a dreary Sunday, when I probably should have been marking (I’m an English teacher), scrolling through ‘popular’ glamorous and not so glamorous Instagram accounts. Pretty people who travel and have over 50k followers, people who post pics of macaroons in front of the Eiffel Tower, mums who post close-ups of their children wearing nice clothes.. many many Instagram accounts of ‘normal’ people advertising stuff. Even one mummy blogger who was on a free luxury ski holiday but couldn’t even ski! I thought, I can do this! Maybe.
But then I thought maybe not. Do I want to show pics of my son and husband? Do I want to spend hours being sycophantic with strangers on my phone ignoring real life? (and more marking) and I thought yes, I’ll give it a try…for a while.
So, our little holiday in Wales was lovely (apart from I’ve now got a cold, the hotel teabags were stale and I was probably on my phone too much) but I’ll stick to the positives and use lots of superlatives and maybe someone will offer me a free holiday.
“Are there soldiers in the castle?” “Are there soldiers on the beach?” We’re still in the midst of the S word obsession (See earlier blog post) but we took Ed’s dinosaurs toys including a glow in the dark one from the Oxford museum and a sticker book to keep him busy.
We arrived in Criccieth (pronounced crick-i-eth) at The Lion Hotel after a beautiful scenic drive through the Snowdonia National Park. The hotel was quite nice…slightly quirky but we had a large room. The town is on the beach and has views of Criccieth Castle which dates back to the 13th century. We walked down to the beach on the first day and it was really quiet. Everyone speaks Welsh which makes it sound exotic!
On the second day, we woke up to sleety snow which was quite dramatic. We tried to go up to the castle (to see the soldiers) but unfortunately, it’s closed until March. We thought about going over the wall but it was well fortified.
As the day brightened, we arrived at the Ffestiniog Railway, ‘A magical combination of spectacular landscapes and historic railway.’ It certainly was! The round trip on a 150-year-old steam train called ‘Welsh Pony’ took about 2 hours. Thankfully, we moved carriage at the start as a pair of highly strung mothers with loud children called ‘Bo’ etc got on and then some Welsh mums got on with a huge picnic and spent most of the journey on their phones. (Do other people with children annoy you, or that just me?!) In the end, we had a lovely carriage and enjoyed our cake and tea from the flask.
After the railway, we went to the nearby famous ‘little Italy’ village of Portmeirion. It is beautiful! Botanic gardens and sweet coloured buildings cascade the cliffside. It was created by a guy called Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1976. Ed wasn’t so interested in the history part and was pretty cheesed that he couldn’t play the giant chess as it was roped off. It was all very lovely to look at though and we soon got to Angel Ices gelato! We could have been abroad: sauntering down to the little beach to eat our ice cream and skim stones. Bliss!
We visited the 13th century Harlech Castle on the last wet and windy day and were nearly blown off the ramparts which made it even more exciting. There is still lots of the castle left to walk around and amazing coastal and mountainous views. Interesting history for adults: built by King Edward I of England during his campaign to secure Wales. Ed ended up getting a knight fridge magnet and a knights and castles sticker book because ‘knights’ are more socially acceptable than soldiers…. “They’re not knights mummy, they’re soldiers!”
Overall, I would highly recommend a trip to North Wales. It’s a bit of a trek from where we live compared to Cornwall but it’s so much quieter. Other attractions in the area include a sea zoo, forest park, zip world and gardens and more castles! And of course, in the summer, the beaches!
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