Wales – Some Impressions

Introduction

My very short visit to North Wales in April was my first visit to that country. It is strange to consider, when I’ve been to so many European countries and quite a few further away as well.

Logisitics play a part. It’s at least 5.5 hours to drive to North Wales with the Edinburgh, Glasgow and Greater Manchester rush hours to work around.

It would mean 3 trains. A lot of scope for things to go wrong.

Flying – Manchester is the nearest airport and then you’d have to rent a car or take a train.

Impressions

I was interested by the history, culture and current politics. They have some things in common with Scotland but are very different in other ways.

Their pro independence party – Plaid Cymru – is not as strong as the SNP in Scotland but had some very good results in the elections to the Welsh Assembly in the week after my visit.

Their history is dominated by the English, but they have been “under control” for much longer.

Castell Conwy

Castell Conwy

On the other hand, recent history has involved English owned holiday homes been burned down. We’ve never encountered that kind of situation in Scotland.

Welsh seemed to be widely spoken in Caernarfon, but I didn’t notice it in Conwy. Once or twice in Betwys y Coed. In Scotland you could spend all day in a Gaelic stronghold like Tiree and not hear it spoken. On the other hand, it would be the first language for many working at Stornoway Airport.

Likes

I loved the three towns I spent some time in – Caernarfon, Conwy and Betwys y Coed.

My bed and breakfast was welcoming, clean and comfortable. It was good value too. £70 per night on my own in a double. My trip was midweek and out of season (the end of April), so that’s always a good time for a bargain.

The food and drink I had was excellent, and they do a good job of promoting local produce – lamb, cheese and cider come to mind.

Blas, Caernarfon

Blas, Caernarfon

Snowdonia National Park was rugged and spectacular. I’m glad I’ve seen it.

Snowdonia

Snowdonia

Downsides

I’m struggling to find any. The weather wasn’t kind but in April you have to accept the realities. Make sure you have a plan B if outdoor activities are your plan A.

Summing up

I’d be happy to go back any time. I can think of several more things I’d like to do just in the area I visited. It’s just that long drive…

ⓒ iain taylor 2016

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