Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 8: Snowdonia

 Today has been full of surprises. After filling up on the usual breakfast and checking out of the Dorian House, we set on our journey up through Wales to Snowdonia. Snowdonia is a national park with the highest peak in all of England; a “whopping” 3,580 feet. Since Eric and I are both big fans of parks, we made sure to visit this part of the country. While searching online, Eric found this route through Wales that’s listed as one of the top 5 drives in all of England. You can read it here. We had about 5 hours of road to complete before reaching our next hotel, Bodelwydden Castle.

First, a note on petrol. Gas here is about £1.37 for regular and £1.40 for diesel. Those prices are per liter. There are 3.8 liters in a gallon. Our car only takes diesel fuel. So that translates to about £5.32 or about $8 per gallon! I think I’ll stop complaining about  gas prices in the US for a bit. So far we’ve only gone through 1 whole tank of gas. We’d like to use the car as little as possible. I’d bet the rest of Britain thinks the same way.
The drive was gorgeous. Filled with nothing but great views. We didn’t really stop except to get some chips, take a picture and yield to sheep. That was the best part about the ride for me; the sheep. They were everywhere and grazed right up to the road. Some would even take a nap right on the pavement. It’s hard to discern which towns were which so here are a bunch of pictures and video from the ride...



Just before 5 o’clock, we arrived at the castle where we were going to spend 2 nights. Right when we walked in to the reception area we realized something was off. The smell was a bit funky, everything was super accessible, the decor was quite dated and extremely plain, there wasn’t much hustle and bustle. Then it hit us. This castle hotel looked no different than a retirement home on the inside. Eric and I were the only two people, besides the staff, not senior citizens. We lost it and couldn’t really keep the laughter in for a good half hour. Everything started to make so much sense. All the planned activities, the inclusive breakfast and dinner, the bocce courts, no wireless internet in the rooms, the world’s tiniest t.v.’s, aqua aerobics, the course on “tennis tips”, 10am sudoku quiz, the anagram test at noon. Hilarious. We kind of felt like all the staff was laughing at us. But we figured we’d make the best of it and booked ourselves 80 minute massages for tomorrow.

We were hoping the food would at least be redeeming. Come to find out, it was! Dinner was delicious. The help is very friendly and they’re ready to go out of their way for you but they definitely take their time with everything. There tends to be a lot of long waiting about. Unusually long for a glass of water, a dinner roll, etc... But everything seems worth the wait so that’s good. Eric asked for a glass of Coke. They weren’t sure if they even had any! Seemed odd. A long while later, they arrived with a full glass of Coke for him. I’d bet they just got it from one of the vending machines or something. I guess fizzy drinks aren’t really this crowd’s cup of tea.

Eric was feeling under the weather so when we got back to the room, we made a super early night of it. Since the hotel was bit far from our expectations, we figured this was just the right spot in our trip to sleep in and catch up on some much needed rest. Plans for tomorrow were left up in the air.

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