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Published: October 19th 2018
Heading north toward my ferry crossing to Ireland, I had Thursday morning cocoa in colorful, upscale Aberaeron and reached Aberystwyth by noon. I’m so grateful to neighbor Penny Plavala for recommending Aberystwyth! Bill Bryson had written so harshly of it in his latest book (“On the Road to Little Dribbling”) that I was going to give it a pass, but the Plavalas said it was their favorite from their recent anniversary trip, so I booked a cheap twin room on the waterfront for a night.
Once I saw the bayfront, I upgraded to a seaview double, and although I dined on takeaways to make up for it, it was totally worth it. Looking out on (and hearing) the shore and passersby has provided a week’s worth of entertainmen! From my perch above the esplanade, I saw a fast unicyclist, a guy on a bike being pulled by two huskies, adult women giving each other piggyback rides, a border collie that crawled on its belly in the sand anticipating the chance to fetch a piece of flung kelp, and a lady pushing her dog in a pink pram. And the sunset was pretty awesome, as was listening to the surf all
night (without worrying about earthquakes ansd tsunamis...)
Friday brought the “main event” for my northern explorations: driving through stupendous Snowdonia National Park and visiting fancifull Portmeirion, an architectural wonderland that I’ve longed to see in person for decades (it’s like Disneyland for adults.) Built between 1933 and 1978 by architect Clough Williams Ellis, it’s a reduced-scale village comprising an international jumble of styles, from British traditional to medieval and Italianate. The harmonizing theme is color and charm. Portmeirion has been used for many films and TV series, most notably “The Prisoner,“ starring Patrick McGoohan in the late 60s.
Tonight I am cozily ensconced in a guest house in Caernarfon, near the legendary castle established by William the Conqueror and expanded by ruthless Edward I. It was built so cunningly that it once was successfully defended by 28 soldiers against a whole army.
What can I say? Coming to Wales has absolute been the best decision of this visit! It combines elements of Cornwall, Devon and Scotland, plus it has good roads and there are fewer than three million inhabitants in a country the size of Iowa - all making a pretty attractive package....
Tomorrow is a
BIG Travel Day: I turn in my rental car, take a train to Holyhead on the northwest tip of Wales, catch the ”fast ferry” (four hours) across the Irish Sea to Dublin, and then board another a train to Galway, where my friends Robert and Héctor will shelter me while I catch my breath and plan the rest of my time. Praying for good connections, and especially for a smooth crossing!
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