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Published: September 10th 2017
My feet could not just stay put on the ground. I had exciting discounts following my recent trips to both YHA (Youth Hostel Association) and National Express and so had a brilliant idea and booked 3 nights at Conwy YHA with return tickets from London for 90 GBP.
I got up early and prepared egg sandwiches for tea. Brunch was fresh ham and cheese sandwiches for the bus! I arrived well in time at London Victoria Coach depot and got a good seat in the front of the bus. I got friendly with an Indian family who were spending their August bank holiday in Landudno sea resort in Wales. There was a black lady, sitting in front of me also who said that I must ride the Great Orme tram at Landudno. The weather was forecasted to be sunny and bright. I was excited.
On the bus, a woman with two daughters (2 and 4 years old) alighted at Birmingham and the mother sat next to me. A little later, the elder daughter wanted to switch sides and sit next to me. I asked her name. She gave me one of the slowest and sweetest smiles which started from
her eyes to her lips and she said shyly, "Georgia". My heart simply melted.
I finished my packet of peanut M&Ms (or colourful Gems with peanuts) while looking at the countryside. There was a bad traffic jam at Rhyl where the airshow has just ended. There was also a driver change due.
The driver change took ages and the Indian man got down the bus to enquire. The old driver said that he was calling police because of the traffic ahead. The clever Indian man checked internet and said there was no traffic.Within a few minutes, the matter was resolved and the new driver was off. If people cannot steal money, they must steal something. In this instance, it was time. It was getting dark. I reached my destination at 8:30pm (45 mins late).
I got down and walked from Landudno Junction to town called Conwy crossing the bridge on river Conwy and what do I see? A beautiful, medieval, beautifully lit castle towering majestically across the bridge! On the right side was a gentle estuary known for mussels and once upon a time, they were caught with hand made racks for pearls. It was a wide
expanse of water, dotted with small, motor boats and sky was different shades of slate gray. The freshness and natural beauty lifted up my spirits. I walked confidently with my backpack and small food bag over my shoulder on the narrow, cobbled roads by the castle and out of the town on a road called 'broad road'. Then there was a road with no street lights. It was dark. My intuition said it was up there. I walked up the small hill and there was YHA Conwy- brightly lit up like a smart little hotel.
I registered at reception and had a big glass of water. Actually, 2.5 glasses of water. It was sweet water of Wales and not the millionth time recycled water of London. I took a quick shower and went off to sleep. In the middle of the night, I could smell the awful smell of damp clothes and shoes perhaps from my German room mates who had been hiking in heavy rains. Anyhow, I tried to get catch my sleep.
What a crispy morning! I walked on the fort walls (micro mini China wall) and enjoying the view of hills/farmlands towards the Conwy quay
to take a photograph by the red door of the smallest house in the world. I visited a Merchant's house called Plais Mawr with a hilarious free audio tour of all rooms in the house. The erstwhile owner proudly described the plaster of paris decorations, his family coat of arms, arches copied from the popular architecture of Flanders, the food and lives of the 20 odd servants. The house even had a brewery, buttery and a dairy. He married twice and his second wifes' name was also Dorothy. It saved him money to not have to change the initials on the walls above the fireplace on plaster of paris. There were rats in the olden days and food was hung from the ceiling or locked up in the cupboards. One could get a feel of how the rich in Wales lived in 1500s and consider a poor man in today's world very fortunate.
Since I bought a combo ticket for both Conwy castle and Plais Mawr, I did not have to stand in queque and marched straight into the castle. There were live demonstrations of sword fighting, wool spinning, polishing of swords among others. The castle was well restored
and large. I ate self prepared egg sandwich and a packet of malteasers. Now for the real adventure of this trip.
There were no signs. I explored and found routes disappearing into woodlands, the signs of the famous North Wales coastal walk. I started walking uphill and people coming downhill encouraged me with smiles and saying that the sight is worth it. I finally climbed 250ms and what do I see? The blue Irish sea on my right, the Conwy estuary faraway and the farms/Conwy castle/hills on my left. Far away I could see the Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. What a magnificient view!
The Conwy hills were painted with pink, purple and yellow flowers. I walked from one hill top to another. It was a hot day (27 degree celsius). I sat in the shade of a pile of stones and quenched my thirst. Later, I realised I was sitting in the ruins of a pre-Roman, ancient Iron age fort built between 300 BC and 78 AD.
I took another route to return to my hostel and it was 19kms well spent. I drank hot soup with fresh, crunchy Indian cucumbers (carried from London vegetable
store) and shared my experiences with fellow hostellers. I fixed the window of my room so that it opened more widely and slept with sprigs of fresh lavendar next to my pillow 😊
Next morning, I enjoyed full English breakfast and set off on a bus to Landudno. The cable was not ready. I decided to enjoy the Great Orme tram as my co-passengers in bus had suggested. We were waiting for dry run of the trams to be completed. Meanwhile, I was talking to an old man from North England while we stood in the queque to wait our turn.
The great Orme was an old tram system which went up to a pre-historic Copper mine. There was even a gigantic piece of rock cut out and the board said there are fossils on the rock. Tried as much but I could not spot a single fossil 😞Tram ride was very short. The Darjeeling tram ride is 1000 times better.
I walked up the Mostyn road in Landudno for window and gift shopping. I tried to locate a fish and chips shop but all were full with a long waiting time. I slept off in bus
from Landudno to Bangor.
The bus followed the North Wales route, falling out at places to pick up passengers from the villages. Bangor is the oldest town in Wales. It is now a university town and finally had my fish and chips. There was an old, well preserved cathedral. I bought a formal shirt from H&M.
While returning, I was reading out the bus numbers in Bengali and met with a Sylheti man who was a chef. He kindly guided me to the exact bus stop to Conwy. Indeed, Indian curry is famous! Since I still had a few minutes, I popped into M&S to buy a baguette. The check out queques in M&S was very slow and some of us were having a friendly competition as we hopped queques. People were very friendly.
Once back at YHA, I looked foward to a heavy meal of Chilli Con Carne as I was famished. It took ages to arrive and quantity was small. Indeed, I was grateful when a kind, elderlycouple sitting next to my table shared their excess pizza and sweet potato fries with me.
The other day in the hostel dining area, I had observed
how a father was patiently explaining to his 6 year old who was sulking. Today, the boy was excited and happy. He told me how he had visited the aquarium and seen different types of fishes and eel like snakes. We had a laugh.
I went over the hiking magazines on the coffee table and there was a particular one which caught my interest. It was about pregnant women climbing snow peaked mountains. Indeed, people whole heartedly followed their passion in UK.
I prepared my packed lunch. I said good-bye to a fellow hosteller by giving him a satchet of Indian masala tea to enjoy and fresh red onion for his pizza. He told me to visit Northumbria which is full of castles being on the border of Scotland and England.
I walked downhill and reached National Express bus stop from Conwy to London Victoria next to Landudno junction. I bought hot sausage bap from ASDA.
On my way back, we stopped at Birmingham and I took the opportunity to explore the Birmingham shopping centre. It was full of children and young people. The bus depot was at Digbeth which was a thriving industrial hub of
immigrants with markets, cold storage, custard factory among others.
I reached home, put my clothes for washing and settled down with refreshing memories of heathlands of North Wales, grand castle and the musical accent of the Welsh people playing in my dreams. All well that ends in Wales.
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