Sunday, 20 May 2012

Nadira's North Wales Adventures!

On Thursday my friend from uni, Nadira, came to stay! Her timing couldn't have been more perfect...on Wednesday I did my last exam and was ready for some serious celebrating but unfortunately my partner in crime Byron had left the day before to go back to Milton Keynes to start the job hunt and so if Nadira hadn't been around this weekend it would have been a very lonely celebratory one indeed! 

I met Nadira when I was in my 2nd year at Reading Uni as she was on the same corridor as me in our halls of residence.  In my first year I had been rather unfortunate with the people I ended up sharing a corridor with and so I was definitely hoping my 2nd year experience was going to be better! and thanks to Nadira, Nicola and Leanne it definitely was! 

Last time I saw Nadira was over some rather delicious milkshakes and burgers at Tinseltown last September.  I was just about to head to North Wales and we put a date in the diary for when she was going to come and visit me - May 18th.  There have been many offers of people saying they were going to come and visit us whilst we have been here but most of them come to nothing...there is nothing I love more in a friend than a person who keeps their word! and keep her word she did - she even arrived a day earlier May 17th so we had 3 wonderful days to have as much fun as possible! 

Let's face it - any weekend that starts off with a whole box of delicious cheesecakes is going to be a great one! 

So let's let the pictures do the talking (and please excuse my Morticia style hair - I had an accident with a bottle of hair dye!)

Our first stop was Bodnant Garden, an 80 acre National Trust property full of amazing beautifully landscaped gardens.  I was a bit worried it wasn't going to be amazing, many of the attractions we have checked out around here have been slightly disappointing but I needn't have worried because Bodnant was pretty spectacular! 

It's always good to have helpful gardeners willing to move their wheelbarrows out the way just to take a nice picture for you! 

Here I am in front of the rather impressive Bodnant Hall which was built in 1792.

I also tried to get a little arty with some of the amazing flowers on display, but my manual lens work does need a little work clearly! 

The beautiful Nadira colour co-ordinating perfectly with those red flowers in the background! 

Bodnant has some amazing flowers! apparently they come from as far flung places as North America, China and even Japan

and everything is just laid out so beautifully too! 

This place was called The Pin Mill, I liked the reflection of the building in the large stretch of water in front of it.

and I absolutely loved the roof of the Old Mill - the yellow was so vibrant! 

Nad smelling some of the pretty flowers! 

These were our favourite, we had never seen any like it before.

The website describes spending a day at Bodnant as a 'feast for the senses' and that is exactly what it was! 

Everywhere you looked there were vibrant coloured flowers popping out at you! The fuschia pink flowers which dominate throughout the gardens are called Amoenum.

We sat on this bench for a while admiring the waterfall below, and the railings proved handy for snapping a self timer pic of the both of us! 

It wasn't just the flowers that amazed us at Bodnant, the trees were also spectacular! Here's Nad trying (and failing) to hug the whole circumference of this one! 

and check out the size of that one!!! to the right you can see a person walking along just to put it into perspective! 

Towards the end of our visit the sun came out! which was amazing! when we arrived it was drizzling and we had umbrellas up so we were more than ready for some sunshine! (and some much needed warmth!)

We asked a very nice French man to snap this picture for us just to prove that for a short while at least the sun did make an appearance! 

and here's a shot to prove it, probably the first one where we both actually have our coats off!! (and gloves Nadira!)

and what's even better than finding a great attraction in Wales that actually turned out great? a great restaurant too! I had read all about the Dutch Pancake House but as I'm such a fan of My Old Dutch in London I was a bit hesitant to try it out but since there aren't many other options we gave it a try! 

and I've got to say if you've got a spare 3 hours then by all means give it a try, jokes, the service was terrible and there was only one other table occupied! who knows what they do when they are busy!

but we sort of let them off because we were having so much fun chatting away, and because the pancakes were actually surprisingly tasty! We shared a savoury cheese and mushroom one...

and the coconut and pineapple one for dessert was pretty spectacular too! 

I'm a sucker for details so I loved these little clogs that they used to serve you the bill! 

As we drove back home along the scenic route, Nad wanted to stop for a shot with these sheep who were just roaming free...

she decided that as much as you hear people joke about it that there really are SOOO many sheep in Wales! the rumours are definitely true! 

and we ended the day with a jumping shot taken at Synchants Pass, and of course a big slice of cheesecake when we got home!!

Stay tuned for the next part of our adventures when I actually discover another tasty place to eat - 2 in a row! I know, I even surprised myself!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Some Welsh Wandering

It's time for a catch up on what's been happening around here! I've finally finished the taught part of my course so I have a bit more time on my hands (apart from when I'm meant to be writing my dissertation!)
Byron too has finished his first year of lectures and now just has 2 exams to go and then his first year of Uni will be over! I do feel like this year has gone pretty fast! 
A few weeks ago, we climbed the hill behind our house to seek out a rather nice sunset.

It was a bit of a scary climb on the way up, somehow we missed the usual path and ending up having to scramble up lots of rocks that were falling away beneath out feet! 

It was rather chilly when we made it to the top - next time we'll be better prepared and take blankets too! 

but it was worth it to be able to take in this view...

and here you can see the lights of Penmaenmawr below as the darkness was drawing in.

A few days later the sun was shining and so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to drive down to Betws-y-Coed.  We even had a go on the mini stream train for the first time.  

We may or may not have been the only adults on the train (who weren't there for the sake of their children).

We tried, and failed to get a picture of the both of us.  Apparently taking a self shot inside an already very tiny train carriage is trickier than we thought.

We headed back to Alpine Cafe after it impressed us so much the last time, and I was desperate to try some of their 'ice cream shakes'.  Unfortunately they were very disappointing...and I had to play hunt the ice cream.  

Yesterday, I handed in my final two essays and the sun was shining (and after a week of full on rain we couldn't just stay home) so we headed out to Aber Falls.  

This time we decided to take the forest route and I was so glad we did, despite my initial hesistations of wanting to take the easy route due to lack of sleep from the essay writing the previous night! because we wouldn't have seen views like this on the easy path.  I absolutely love Conifer trees...and to be more specific - Spruce trees (thanks By!).  

It was certainly handy having By as my hiking partner with his new found knowledge of so many trees! He even showed me a plant where when you rub it's flowers together it smells like coconut, I was pretty amazed at that! 

and he makes for a pretty great photographer too! 

As we rounded one corner we came face to face with these two lone sheep! It was pretty funny because we were really high up and hadn't seen any other people/animals for the past hour.  They seemed very obliging models and even did a great little pose for us behind all those Christmas trees! 

The sun came out more and more throughout our hike...

which pleased me greatly especially when we could take pictures like this one! 

I love how vivid the green moss was on these rocks! 

Finally, we emerged out of the forest to this lovely view and started the walk down towards the waterfall.

Since we were pretty hot after our forest trek, it was nice to stand near enough to the waterfall to cool off by the spray of the water.

I think you'll agree it's a lot more green since the last time we visited back in December! 

It was a lovely afternoon finished off by indulging in some twisters down on the beach.  Let's hope that Wales can produce some more sunny days like this one to help really give us some fond memories before we leave!