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Conwy & North Wales

Conwy & North Wales

Llyn Ogwen, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Llyn Ogwen, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Wales in November sounded iffy at best. But from all accounts, we lucked out with 6 days in a row of no rain/some sun/and comfortable temps in the 50's. 

We flew via Dublin then Manchester, and after a few train issues we were on the train to Wales stopping in Llandudno Junction. It was a one mile walk from the train station to the hotel, but what a walk! Crossing the bridge of the Conwy River and seeing the castle in front of you, and the hills and mountains appearing behind was spectacular. 

Conwy is a lovely base for a trip to Wales - great natural location on the water, with an impressive castle, cute village and among the most complete medieval town walls in Europe. Very friendly people, interesting cafes, bars and restaurants (including a pub in a former bank building called "Bank of Conwy") and the smallest house in Britain (the little red house in my photo, its in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest, only 10 by 5.9 ft)

Conwy Castle was built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289 and still impresses today.

Llandudno Wales Great Orme

Llandudno is a Victorian resort town nearby to Conwy, We visited on Halloween and were amazed by how abuzz it was in activity. I walked the old fashioned pier with arcades, stalls and sweets (and I managed to play some skee ball). Then we took the slow drive around the Great Orme ( a limestone headland that means sea serpent). 

Pen-y-Pass, Snowdonia National Park

We explored all different kinds of routes in the north half of Snowdonia National Park - the A5, A4086, A4085, A498. Snowdonia National Park is beautiful, in short area it encompasses forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. We visited Conwy Falls and Swallow Falls and the towns of Betws-y-Coed, Pen-y-Pass, and Llanberis.

The most bizarre tourist attraction visited was Portmeirion, an Italian village built on the Welsh coast by an eccentric rich guy. It is supposedly modeled after Portofino (which I visited last year in the Italian Riviera).

File Nov 12, 5 56 04 PM.jpeg

We finished the trip to Wales by taking a train to Holyhead, taking the ferry crossing to Dublin and spending a night in Ireland (check out my images from my last trip to Ireland). This view of an art installation on Grand Canal Square was pretty cool. 

London, England

London, England

Not my first time to London but my first time going as a winter/Christmas destination! We lucked out with warmish temps (50s) and minimal rain. London was filled with Christmas lights and outdoor German style Christmas markets. 

Early December proved to be a relatively inexpensive time for flights and hotels - allowing a  stay right in the heart of Covent Garden - very convenient for the theater - saw a RSC production of King Lear and its counterweight, the hilarious and rediculous "The Play That Goes Wrong". As well as great art at The National Gallery, Tate Modern and the Courtauld GalleryI also visited:

Salisbury - and a visit to Stonehenge and the Salisbury Cathedral. It was a foggy rainy day so I got some hazy shots in the countryside that remind me of a Turner painting. 

Hampton Court Palace - home of Henry VIII, and we visited on a particularly beautiful day which was great for exploring the gardens and the famous hedge maze. 

For my recommendations on restaurants: check out my Trip Advisor reviews

York, England

York, England

I arrived by train to York - which was a great choice considering one of the greatest sites in York is the National Railway Museum which was surprisingly awesome. The city was very walkable - one of the best ways to see it was along it's ancient city walls - miles of which still stand strong (it's the city with the most in England). I also took in York Minster, a gorgeous gothic cathedral that also has exhibits about the thousands of years of York history (the Romans made it a capital and the Vikings later invaded, they called it Jorvik). Great Yorkshire hospitality and food!

London, England

London, England

What a wonderful city (generally) but specifically for drawing! As you can see I went a little crazy with the markers (I'm usually a black ink only person) but it was such a great spot for bold color.