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Wales day four – just ambling about

After our intended task for the week – going up Snowdon – today was always going to be something of a ‘make it up as you go along’ day. And so it turned out to be. We didn’t set alarms for the morning, agreeing that we would probably need a bit of a lie in. I still woke up at 4.15am though… but decided to snooze until a more sensible time arrived! By 8am I was hankering after caffeine, so got up to creep downstairs (so as not to wake Vicki, who was sleeping in the living room).

My plan to make a coffee and sneak back upstairs without waking Vicki were very nearly foiled when I caught one of the plastic shelves in the fridge, removing the milk, and it landed with an almighty clang on the tiled floor. Oops! Thankfully, other people were stirring by then so, no harm done.

Breakfast was an excuse to use up some of the food we’d brought – sausages, beans, mushroom and egg, all cremated and decimated by the worst frying pan in the world. It truly was THE most rubbish pan. Ever. No argument. For the sake of my sanity, holiday home owners, get some decent pans! Even a set of Ikea pans would be better than the crap we’ve been expected to use this week. Grrrrrr.

Anyway, pan rant over, it got to about 11am and we were making plans what to do with the remainder of the day; it had been tipping it down throughout the night and was still raining, so we were thinking of ‘things to do indoors’. Vicki, having come in her Porsche, wanted the opportunity to go to Anglesey (and enjoy the Welsh roads), find a cake shop she remembered from previous visits, and then find a tat shop to replace a mug in the kitchen; it had decided that, after holding a couple of cups of my coffee, it being dried was all too much and the cup parted company from its handle, before hurling itself, tragically and spectacularly, onto the floor.

As her Porsche only seats two, Anna and I decided to go our own way but we then spent half an hour trying to figure out where to go! What the hell, we thought, let’s go to another castle (having, on our last visit, enjoyed Caernarfon and Conwy castles). So we headed out toward Criccieth, just west of Portmadog (so, only about 30 minutes away). We could see the castle as we approached the town, as it perched on an outcrop over the bay. It wasn’t what you’d call a massive castle – it was sacked and burnt in the 12th Century (if memory serves me right, which it rarely does) and was never rebuilt. It took all of about, oo, 15 minutes to look round it and in it. Now I like a good ruin, so that was alright but, let’s face it, it was never going to be a patch on Caernarfon!

Still, the sun was out and we had cracking views across the sea and the bay. The town looked very pretty from the castle but, after taking a stroll about, it seemed to consist of a few tea shops, some pubs, a ‘craft’ centre (that was more like a secondhand tat shop) and not a lot else. Maybe we missed the town centre…

We headed down to the bay area, where the breeze was rather fresh but the views were rather awesome. Then it was back to the car and off we headed toward Dolgellau, following instructions from my Sat Nag lady.

For some reason, Sat Nag lady decided that where I really wanted to go in Dolgellau was the middle of a council estate, on a dead-end road. She was wrong. So, one quick U-turn later, we parked up in the middle of the very pretty town of Dolgellau and got out to have a wander about. It is a very pretty town but, again, there’s not an awful lot there (but then, what should be there?). We had a brief nosey about a shop selling outdoors-y stuff, but everything was a bit pricey. After asking for a good lunch spot at the information centre, we headed to Hughes’, a gorgeous coffee shop place on the square. The inside was like an old adapted ‘General stores’ type shop, with the wall behind the long counter made up of wooden shelves, divided up into squares you could imagine were previously filled with all manner of comestibles.

I had a scrummy chorizo, spring onion and cheese toasted ciabatta with tortilla chips and salsa and Anna had a large baked potato, stuffed with tuna mayo, and served with a fresh salad in a honey and mustard dressing. Very nice.

Our parking time was up so we moved on yet again, heading up the A470 to look at the big blue blob on the Google map. This turned out to be Llyn Trawsfyndd, the third largest lake in Wales. What attracted me was the huge totalitarian looking building next to it – this was a hydro-electric station, or a nuclear power plant being decommissioned; I’m not entirely sure because the signage was a bit brief. Still, it was an awesome looking thing but I didn’t want to take any photos in case I got arrested as a spy or something…

By this time the sun was absolutely blazing down so we decided to take a stroll around the lake. It was absolutely gorgeous; so quiet (except for the noisy geese!) and tranquil. No sign of any otters though (now that would’ve been a very nice end to the holiday!). We’d agreed to get back to the cottage for about 6pm as Vicki had offered to cook tea (Quorn shepherd’s pie) and time was getting on. We both agreed that we could’ve ambled round the lake for much longer though.

Just as we got back to the cottage it started spitting again, but it still didn’t amount to much. (Weather rant coming) So much for the Met Office’s promise of a miserable day (okay, rant over). Tea was stupendous, topped off with a large glass of rose and an equally large glass of Chardonnay, just to wash down a very lemony cupcake.

I shall be shoving a few things back into my suitcase, ready for the off tomorrow, and then that will be me, off to bed for the last time for this holiday. It’s been a right cracker, that’s for sure.

Images on Flickr