28 Sep 2012

I didn't see Alice

We had a wonderful view of Llandudno's North Bay from our hotel bedroom window.

On the promenade is The Mad Hatter with the dormouse;  one of the Alice in Wonderland statues that can be seen in the town.  
Llandudno has a link with the author, Lewis Carroll, because the real Alice who inspired the Wonderland tales, Alice Liddell, spent vacations with her family at their holiday home, Penmorfa, on the West Shore. 

Not far away is the White Rabbit

There's a statue of Alice in Wonderland outside the train station and the Cheshire Cat is in an area of landscaped gardens with an open air theatre in the Happy Valley on the Great Orme.  A visitor can reach the summit of this headland on foot, tramway or cable car and perhaps we will return some day and explore this popular area of the town?

In the meantime, anyone for tea and a biscuit?   And since I didn't see Alice I bought a souvenir of lovely Llandudno from the Wonderland collection with a retail outlet at the information centre - a teabag or tea spoon rest to remind me of a happy time there.

We were blessed with good weather that week, but the storms have returned to parts of Britain, including Wales, and many areas have been hit with flooding once more.  People have been evacuated from homes and businesses so those of us who live on higher and drier ground remember them and hope that their situation will improve and there will be a respite in the bad weather and that the waters will subside.

Wherever you are I hope that you have a peaceful weekend.

27 Sep 2012

Where's Alice?

This is a view from the window of our hotel where we stayed in Llandudno, North Wales...

and this one was taken during one of my walks around this seaside resort looking at the old buildings and structures. This structure looks like a bandstand.  In fact, it's a public convenience which is accessed down some steps. It seems to be in use although I didn't explore further!
The carved wooden statues are part of a literary trail.  I'm sure you can guess which book.
I only managed to visit the areas in the town near our hotel and take photos of some of the statues and sadly, not the main character, but the Victorian and Edwardian architecture is also interesting. 

The shopping areas with ironwork arcades is an aspect of the town I remember from when I was a child.  My aunt and uncle used to bring me here when I spent the Summer holidays with them when they lived in the county of Cheshire just across the Welsh border.  They retired to a village near Llandudno and last week my husband and I went to visit them on our free day travelling there by local bus.  Now in their 90s we haven't seen them for many years.  Another aunt lives next door to them.  She and her husband also retired to North Wales from the South of England.  Now widowed and also in her 90s, she went through a major operation last year and is now recovering well.  
As you can imagine, the visit to see my mother's sisters was a special one and an opportunity not to be missed. 

Have you guessed the book that has inspired the literary trail?  The author has a connection with Llandudno.  More about that next time - with some photos, of course! 

25 Sep 2012

Caernarvon: a walk by the castle

After spending some time inside the castle walls we walked down to the marina at  the harbour which was also where our coach was parked.  

The castle is situated by the mouth of the river and we watched the swing bridge open for boats to come into port from the Menai Strait. 

Just as I was taking a photo of the bridge from a different angle a seagull zoomed passed my face and got caught on camera before landing on the wall.

Just opposite the bridge is the mighty Eagle Tower which once had stone eagle sculptures on the battlements.

Walking through an entrance in the walled fortifications we were able to stroll around the old town.

This is the street which could be seen from the ramparts of the castle and the photo was taken from the main entrance bridge.

This is the oldest public house in the town where we stopped to have some refreshments before  boarding our coach.

I spotted these two swans as we left our town coach park and quickly took this photo through the window.
I love swans and was surprised to see them there as I'm not sure whether the water is fresh or salt at this point at the mouth of the river.

23 Sep 2012

Exploring Caernarvon Castle

Further along the north coast of Wales and to the west is the county of Gwynned.  Here stands the impressive castle of Caernarvon/Caernarfon at the western end of the walled town overlooking the Menai Strait and the Isle of Anglesey.  This great fortress begun in 1283 to confirm Edward I's conquest of this area of Wales after his victory over Llywelyn, the last of the native Welsh princes, continues to draw visitors and was one of the venues we were taken to during our week's holiday.

Legend says it was here that Edward I showed his baby son to the Welsh as 'the native-born prince who could speak no English'. In modern times it was the scene for the investiture as Prince of Wales of Prince Charles in 1969.

Once inside the castle grounds one can stroll around the lawns or explore the magnificent stone structure at higher levels as there are walkways within the thick walls.

There are views of the mouth of the River Seiont and the modern-day marina which was once a port transporting slates from the local quarries and receiving agricultural produce from Anglesey.  The foothills of the Snowdonian mountain range can be seen.

From the wall-walkway linking Black Tower and Queen's Tower there are views of the Menai Strait and Anglesey.  Queen's Tower houses the museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

There were narrow, winding steps to ascend and descend and I followed 'the leader' and concentrated on where I was walking!  Resting for a moment, I did look up and spotted what looked like the worn and weathered heraldic symbol of the Prince of Wales Feathers carved in stone above an archway.

This is Queen's Tower from ground level where there was still much to explore.  However, our time was limited and we decided to move on and take a walk around the surrounding streets and along by the marina - more about that next time.

22 Sep 2012

A week in North Wales, UK

We've just returned from a week's holiday in North Wales based in the largest coastal resort of Llandudno.  Our hotel was situated on the North Shore seafront overlooking the bay with views of the headlands to left and right known as The Great Orme and the Little Orme.

Llandudno's north bay curves around in a  wide sweep of sand, shingle and rock with a promenade that stretches along most of its length. Walking along the shore was an enjoyable experience especially as the weather was good and mostly dry.
Our holiday included coach trips to places of interest in North Wales, including the Snowdonia National Park so more about Llandudno and the rest of our time away next week.

14 Sep 2012

Supporting local produce.

This weekend the annual city food festival will be featuring everything that's best in the food industry in our county and the adjoining counties.  I enjoyed last year's event which supports local small businesses and look forward to this year's programme.

After my walk on Saturday I rounded off the morning by visiting a family-owned dairy farm.  As well as producing milk, the owners have diversified into ice cream production. It's a popular place as there's a shop with a parlour selling ice cream and other locally-made produce, a garden where children can play safely and a viewing barn where the calves are reared.

                                                        'Orla' born in August

                                Delicious!  I wonder which one you would choose?


12 Sep 2012

Heritage Open Days Weekend Walk

Last weekend was the annual Heritage Open Days event which celebrates England's heritage and culture by offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or charge for admission.
I joined a group walk in one of our local dales to visit old farmhouses,  some of which are still working farms, led by an historian who has written about the area.
The meeting point was at a distinctive landmark monument, which, in fact, is a water tank for a farm. (The farmhouse is in the wooded area). It was then embellished by one owner to include a roof and obelisk.  Made of local stone, the structure doesn't look out of place in the rural landscape. The date carved on it is AD 1856.

It was a lovely day for a walk.  As usual I'm bringing up the rear with one or two others who were taking photographs.
This is one of the farms we visited with solid stone walls and interesting doors, windows and ventilation openings in the barns and outhouses.

                                                                       The farmyard

                                         The farmhouse with a date plaque for 1697

We appreciated the fact that the owners enabled us to visit farms that are not usually open to the general public who walk in this beautiful area.