I know its a bit late to write this but still I will try and take you with us to the beautiful land of Wales !!
Something about my first attempt at driving on UK roads::
We rented a car which was the easy bit..but to be honest, driving on UK roads was the difficult one. Well, you might say that a person who can drive in Pune can drive literally anywhere in the world, but try and drive with all the speed limits, the one-ways, the roundabouts, the exits & lane systems …and you are bound to get a bit thrown off! Luckily I could borrow the satellite navigator (GPS or Tom-Tom) from my manager so thankfully I can say that driving on the UK motorways was a ‘pleasure’ and I did take my time to enjoy it! (For the less infromed: You just have to enter the post-code of the place you want to go and the ‘Tom-Tom’ will find the quickest/fastest/shortest route for you !) We clocked about 410 miles (around 700 kms) and I could touch a high speed of 150 kmph on the motorway. (when Kanchan was reading a book or looking outside of-course!). Nice car.. was a Renault, small but powerful and brand new (just my luck).
Welsh: The language of Wales –
A thing I want to mention out here is Welsh language is one of the most difficult languages to read and pronounce and if you dont get the right pronounciation then the meaning might differ. Maybe coming from India where around 800 different languages and around 2000 dialects are existing, you might have thought that we can easily cope up with Welsh! but not by a far shot ! (for info: ‘LL’ is pronounced as ‘C(k)la’.. so Llanberis will be pronounced as ‘Klan-berrys’.) If you think pronouncing ‘Llanfailchefan’ or ‘Penmaenmawr’ or ‘Llanystumdwy’ is difficult .. .try pronouncing ‘Penrhyndeudraeth’ !!!! yes these are names of villages/town/cities in Wales !!
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch –This is the name of a town in North Wales. The name translates as “The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio’s of the red cave” in Welsh, has long claimed the fame of having the longest name in the world !!
Wales is mostly mountains and countryside and much of it is difficult to visit by public transport. We had planned to spend 2 nights at this beautiful Bed & Breakfast inn ‘Bryn Conwy’ (http://www.brynconwy.co.uk/). B&B (as they call it here) is cheap and nice. Its generally a big house with lots of rooms and couple who wants to make some money without opening up a hotel and all those things. So basically they provide you with what they say ‘Bed and Breakfast’. Nicely situated in the cosy village called ‘Betws-y-coed’ (pronounced as bet-see-coed).
We reached there by lunchtime (thanks to the holiday traffic) and then had some lunch. We then set off to see around the place and generally gather information for places to see around. We visited the village center and headed towards the information desk. the lady over there was more than happy to let us know about all the places around. We then went in a cafe to have some tea and to our surprise we got some excellent Darjeeling tea. Then we set off to see the swinging bridge and then on to the Swallow Falls. Excellent countryside and i can say that it reminded me of Lonavala Amby Valley in the rains when everything goes green and misty ! We had our dinner at a local Bangladeshi Balti restaurant (not the best food, but like other Indian decoys) and then headed back to the B&B for some rest.
Next day we got up to have a really nice breakfast and a big one too! there was cereal,toast,beans,omlette,veg-patty(cutlet),tea,milk,coffee.. etc etc…
Today we were going to travel to the Portmeirion Village . ‘Clough Williams-Ellis’ built Portmeirion from 1925 to 1975 on a peninsula off the coast of Snowdonia to show how ‘the development of a naturally beautiful site need not lead to its defilement’. Thats the official description of the village, but in simple words I would say that its a beautiful place where we could find thousands of different flowers and numerous different types of beautiful buildings, gardens, pools and landscapes. The famous series the’ Prisoner’ was shot in this village. We spent the day there and then moved on for our journey back. It started raining heavily so we pulled over into a good restaurant and had food. There were quite a few good places to visit nearby(like chocolate factory, Bodnat gardens), but by the time we finished our food it was too late as most of the places were closing for the day.
The next day we had reserved our seats on the mini-train which would take us to the top of the Snowdon mountain !! The Snowdon Railway scale the highest mountain in England and Wales(3560 ft) where Snowdon boasts dramatic landscape and scenery. This unique railway is one of the most popular visitor attractions in North Wales. Since we had booked early, we got the tickets at half-price and so we were in the first train to go on the top of the mountain. Luckily it was a clear morning, so the train could go right up to the top. Otherwise it stops midway and comes back. Whilst on top we took some snaps and then the weather started to change. They say over there that ‘If you dont like the weather now, please wait for another 10 minutes and it will change’ !!! The weather which was quite nice and sunny suddenly changed to windy and chilly, and it started to hail. The temperature dropped almost to 2-3 deg C. We had to then rush into the train and close the doors because of the wind. The trip down the mountain was pretty ok and we then went onto the boat which cruised on a lake just at the foot of the Snowdon Mountain.
In alI can say we had a good trip and a nice break which we all really enjoyed !
Have a look at the pics from our camera at: http://www.picasaweb.google.co.uk/nikhil.thite
Hwyl fawr(thats ‘good-bye’ in Welsh)