A tough drive for Ed, mostly on two lane highways, some of which narrow down to just enough space for two cars to pass, with stone walls on either side. Lots of small towns and villages, and the countryside beautiful all the way. The route took us through the Brecon Beacons National Park and then Snowdonia, with the highest peak (1,085 m) in the UK—Mt. Snowdon. We didn’t see any of the mountains due to light rain and fog.
Tried to lunch at a pub in one of the tiny towns along the route only to learn that Tuesday is the “pub closed” day in this part of Wales. We were advised to go into Newtown, a market town that would have open pubs and it was market day! A delightful lady led us from the car park to the High Street where we selected The Black Boy as our lunch destination. Without her crafty short cuts, we could still be looking for a pub. The Welsh are friendly and helpful – without exception.
The pub takes its name from chimney sweeps. Because it was market day, the joint was jumping. I ordered a pint of something that looked good on another table – a tall, golden glass of Strongbow. My first taste said, “This is not beer, but something so lovely and delightful on the palate that it could only be Welsh cider”. A delicious discovery. Norah was the adventurous eater, ordering cawl, a Welsh lamb stew – tasty. As we returned to the car, we purchased a quart of strawberries and a box of large apricots that I mistook for nectarines. Both were wonderful.
Driving into Conwy was amazing. A huge castle dominates the view and mostly intact walls circle the old town. We set our navigation system for the post code of the house we rented, but this takes us only within a block or so. There are no street numbers in these old towns, only street names that are well hidden and the name of the house, Isallt.
The streets are so narrow, thankfully one-way, with parking allowed on one side, so you have only one lane for driving. We did stop for directions but our “guide” was a non-native English speaker, which only confused us – as we probably confused him. Fortunately, we found a parking space on the High Street and by carefully checking the tiny map given us by the Isallt owners, learned we were only a block or so away from the house. We walked there, were able to enter – now how to drive there? Due to all the one-ways and one lanes, it looked about mile to travel, added tothat we would only be able to unload the car in front of the house. Then we had to park it somewhere.
We were told by the owners that parking was in the city lot several blocks away, but Ed scored a space on the street adjoining Isallt’s that he claimed by backing into it (the wrong way, of course) off the High Street. The Volvo is cursed with a terrible turning radius and that huge pillar directly in the driver’s line of sight to the right. After much back and forth accompanied by shouting from Ann (outside and trying to direct) to Ed (inside and with the windows closed for the first pass so we could not communicate at all), Ed brought the beast to heel.
We hauled our gear (kit here) up a steep (but thankfully short) hill to our street then a short way down to Isallt. It’s a comfy old place, built in 1847. Narrow, steep stairs, tiny rooms, but home for the next two nights. There are two bedrooms up, with a shared, nicely remodeled bath. Down are living room, dining room, remodeled kitchen, a miniscule ½ bath (had to leave the door open to use it) and a serviceable little gravel-paved walled patio (garden) . . . nice for a sit in the fresh air.
We struggled a bit with an oven that did not work and no wi-fi. But the owners fixed these the next day. Beds comfy and shortly after Tesco purchased dinners and a huge fruit salad, we retire.