I'm Sure it Never Rained in "The Village"

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June 26th 2022
Published: June 29th 2022
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Portmeirion at night.
We love flying off to far-away places, but it is nice to be able just throw everything we need (and a lot more that we don't) into the boot of our car and drive off with no worries about baggage allowances and what is or is not allowed through airport security.

It's about four hours' drive from the Home Counties to North Wales and, once we crossed the border into Wales, the scenery became stunning and covered in sheep (we wondered how the farmers manage to track them down come slaughter time). Whilst the scenery took a turn for the better, the weather took a clear and instant turn for the worse - rain followed by more rain. The roads also took a turn for the worse, with the dual carriageway ending just before the border.

It's my first time in North Wales and after the scenery, the sheep, the weather and the roads, the next thing you notice is the language. English definitely takes second place to Welsh here, a lot more so than in South Wales. It's not just that Welsh takes priority on the signs, it is also spoken pretty universally as well. According to a
Watford GapWatford GapWatford Gap

The north south divide.
someone in a shop we went to, all school lessons are in Welsh and English is effectively taught as a foreign language.

We made a quick stop at the Swallow Falls, near a village that I can't pronounce (or spell). It was £2 each to get in (the Welsh don't seem to have their own pound notes, unlike Gibraltar - see More British Than Britain). I considered asking if there was a problem with the translation into English and we whether were in fact going to see the Welsh crown jewels, as the seven foot, high-security, turn-style entry gate seemed well over the top for some waterfalls.

Our final destination (after quite a few stops to savour the views) was Portmeirion or "The Village" as it is known in various cult circles. As we were staying overnight, we needed to check-in first at the castle, which is just outside "The Village". My wife and I were in room number four (it would have been so great to have been in six, but never mind). When we were told that, I would so loved to have retorted that "I am not a number, I am a free man!", but I missed the
Swallow FallsSwallow FallsSwallow Falls

A nice stop on the way.
chance. I'm sure that it's a total cliché that she would almost certainly have heard before, but it's got to be said at least once before we leave.

We were travelling with two friends and they were in room number one. Well that's something I was not expecting - we had actually been friends with the mysterious, unseen "number one" all these years.

We definitely wanted to ride on one of the golf buggies, which are there to take people from place to place, much like they were in "The Village". Our ride round turned out to be just a disappointing short hop down to the open area in the middle by the large chess board.

We found our room, which was actually close to the building where "Number Six" had lived and is now (no surprises) a Prisoner themed gift shop.

Before we went exploring, we went for a late lunch. It had been alongwhile since our McDonalds breakfast at Watford Gap services and my conversation with the bemused man who called out our order number when our food was ready.

There was one restaurant that looked a bit cafeteria-like (but they did have
Wales ViewsWales ViewsWales Views

Stopping to take in the stunning scenery of North Wales.
sticks that you put on your table with the order numbers, so there was another opportunity missed, especially as I could see stick number six waiting to be used). We went down to the hotel, which is by the sea (actually its on an inlet) and had some sandwiches and chips.

We couldn't pay for the food in "work credits". There was a "Number Two" like chair, which I could spin, ominously round in, although it was minus the two people nearby sitting on the end of that weird, gyrating seesaw thing.

After exploring 'The Village", my wife and I went for a walk along the coast to a small lighthouse and then back along a tree-trail through some woods. The tide was out, so the inlet was basically just sand, which we could see some people walking on. They must be locals as when the tide came back in, it was obvious that you could very easily get trapped.

We were lucky as the rain was not too bad as we were walking, but it lashed it down when we got back to our room.

It was then back to the hotel for an evening
Portmeirion TaxiPortmeirion TaxiPortmeirion Taxi

Taxi number six for transport around "The Village".
meal. The food was fantastic, but the service was probably the slowest we have ever experienced.

Afterwards, we seemed to have the whole village to ourselves (it is closed to day visitors in the evening), which was great for some photos, before settling down to watch The Prisoner Channel on the TV for a while.

If anyone is wondering what on earth I am going on about, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prisoner.

The wind was blowing a howling gale most of the night and we were frequently woken up by the rattling windows.

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Prisoner ShopPrisoner Shop
Prisoner Shop

The shop in what used to be house number six.
The PrisonerThe Prisoner
The Prisoner

A plaque about it all.
Chess BoardChess Board
Chess Board

I am sure they used people as the pieces in The Prisoner.
Portmeirion LighthousePortmeirion Lighthouse
Portmeirion Lighthouse

Along the coast during our walk.
Number Two ChairNumber Two Chair
Number Two Chair

How ominously can I spin round in it?
Evening MealEvening Meal
Evening Meal

Amazing food, once it arrived.

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