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. 

Menton, France & Ventimiglia, Italy

Menton, France & Ventimiglia, Italy

I've been to the French Riviera before several times, zipping up and down the coast to visit museums and tourist spots. This time, I decided to mix it up, and hang out for a laid back week on my balcony in the town of Menton, the pearl of France, famous for its lemons, and the last coastal town in France before the Italian border.

Beautiful sunshine, warm weather, great views and truly delicious meals.

I went to the next town over, Ventimiglia, which is in Italy for their famous outdoor market. Great lunch, good deals and a truly beautiful cappuccino. 

Menton, like much of the Riviera, is right on the water with steep mountains behinds (and very curvy roads). I decided to make my way into the mountains to the little town of Sainte-Agnes. 

Back on the ground in Menton, I visited some of its famous gardens.

I had the chance to do a lot of sketching and drawing while I was in Menton as well...

Which turned into some huge paintings

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

A quick winter getaway to the Florida Keys...

stayed in an awesome beachside, old school motel....

went kayaking through the mangroves - definite inspiration for future paintings.

A visit to Key West, with its free range roosters (who were having a fight over a hen in a parking lot) 

And a visit to the Ernest Hemingway house and its famous 6 toed cats!

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