Writing this post is making me reflect on how much I love to travel and visit places. I love the anticipation, the getting there, the sense of adventure, the pleasure of doing something new, the pictures I’m going to take away with me, both real and as memories; I love that 1st virgin look on everything and the thrill that there is more to come around the corner. I can literally feel my world opening up. Even though I moan about not having enough money as much as the next girl, I think the rewards we get for intellectual curiosity are one of the true wealth of life.
After this day I am a satisfied customer from the Bank of Going Places. First of all I drove from Caernarfon to the little mountain village of Beddgelert and the drive through Snowdonia by a fine (not raining) morning was one of the most breath-taking I have ever done. I would have stopped every 200m if it had been possible. The scenery is dark and raw with slivers of green and the gleam of a quick flowing river or a lake. It has the kind of earthiness that grounds the sky and moulds people’s pride. Next time I’d love to take adventure days like canyoning, hiking, rafting or zip-lining, all of which are on offer in this part of Wales.
My next stop and pièce de résistance was Portmeirion. Its eccentric billionaire architect Clough William-Ellis tried to reproduce the atmosphere of Italian villages of the Amalfi coast. The village is therefore an oddity built between 1925 and 1975 and is notorious for being the location of the tv series the Prisoner. Portmeirion is both very tacky and very visually appealing. The Mediterranean feel is totally obliterated by the overcast Welsh weather and from that point of view it does not work at all and yet, it is a very pleasant place for a forest or/and a coastal walk that will lead you back to a nice little village with very decent food. I had been wanting to visit for a long time so I can cross it from my list. Would I return? This is very unlikely. However, Portmeirion makes for a good half-day outing that will replenish your tanks of quirkiness.
After an Italian lunch in Portmeirion I drove to Porthmadog, which is a little nondescript. My initial intention was to catch a steam train to the mountain but the rain started to pour and the clouds were practically touching the top of my head so there would have been very little chance of a view. Oh and because of confusing sign posting, I ended up in the wrong station too so I settled for a few pics of the trains, a few looks at crab fishers in the port, a cup of hot chocolate and got the hell out of there before my toes started to rot.
My last destination for the day I owe to my love of caves. A few years ago, I had visited the slate caves in Blaenau Ffestiniog and these are the ones you should visit if you are in Wales for the first time but I wanted something different so I aimed for the Sygun copper mine, a few miles from Beddgelert. These were exploited first by the Romans and then by the Victorians. In truth there is not that much to see there except tunnels and the running commentary explaining about the formation of the rocks and how the Victorians were digging with candles for all lightning. Still the cold temperature, low ceilings, humid smell and striking colour make it something to experience when the weather is not good enough to do anything else.
Despite the weather I wish every day could be like this. I’m quite sure I could tour the entire world and not get tired of it. Maybe that’s my thing. I know the society wants me to have a husband and children, work like a slave to buy unnecessary but cleverly marketed things and chain myself to a mortgaged house that would take 3 lives to pay for but having escaped from this a little, having sat contemplating stones and lakes and having felt deeply content I just felt like saying “F…. the society” for now. I would have shouted it from the mountain slopes but the sheep were looking at me funny.
My 3rd day was in Bangor and the place with the longest name just for the picture. I really didn’t like Bangor and would just like to congratulate photographers who could make it look nice because I absolutely couldn’t! All in all I absolutely enjoyed that trip on my own and if you allow me, I will compare it to an orgasm. Indeed it’s never too late to have one and you have a much higher chance or reaching satisfaction by going solo!