Here we are again. We liked Wales, and the cottage, so much last time that we came back again, this time with Colin, Irene and Sam. It was further into the summer this time, at the start of June, and we got an amazing week of sunshine for our holiday.
The cottage was as good as we remembered from last year, and easily big enough for the six of us, without us bumping into each other all the time. The flowers were out in full bloom, and the bees buzzing around. The pool got a good deal of use, mainly for cooling down after a hot day enjoying the countryside and beaches. We managed to do slightly more exploring around Nantmor this time: up to the village, and down to the river; and even managed at last to visit the fudge shop in Beddgelert.
We went to Portmeirion last time, but liked it there, so went again this time. The village is fun to walk around, and the woodland walks and the beach below mean there's plenty to do. It was hard getting Cate away from the fountain pool in the centre of the village, but we eventually managed, and spent a pretty good day here. The beach is a bit hard to get to without walking through a band of yucky sand, and you have to know when the tide comes in if you walk out onto it.
Llanberis is a little town at the foot of Snowdon. There's a railway that goes up Snowdon from here, but we didn't try that this time. Instead we went for the Lake Railway, a shorter, flatter but still picturesque ride along the lakeside, starting and finishing at the Slate museum. We had a pleasant journey, finished off with lunch in the railway cafe, where I tried a Welsh lamb oggie.
Colin and I thought the slate museum looked interesting, but we were outvoted by the ladies on this, and the electric mountain as well. Oh well, maybe some day.
The car park near the cottage leads to a number of walks around the area. I took the chance one day to follow the path down to the Afon (river) Glaslyn, and along it for a few hundred yards. We also walked up under the old railway bridge and along the stream a bit, stopping to listen to a cuckoo for a while.
Pwllheli is on the south coast of the Lleyn peninsula. We went to the south beach, which is long and attractive, with plenty of parking and some shops nearby. The beach is pebbly near the sea and sandy further up, so going in for a paddle necessitated the use of flip flops. We had a good couple of hours there before we decided any more time would result in sunburn and went for lunch before returning back to base. I was amazed at the number of jellyfish in the water. Perhaps there are always loads there, or maybe it's just the time of year, but there were plenty of them.
We went to the Sea Zoo on Anglesey again, since Cate was a bit older this year to appreciate the fish. They have a few good features, especially the big concave tank of fish you can sit in front of, and feel they're all around you. The cafe at the Sea Zoo does a very good lunch, and they've a play park and crazy golf area outside as well.
After the Sea Zoo we went along the road for about half a mile to find the Faol Farm Park. Here we got to see the animals being fed, had a ride on a tractor trailer, played in the sand, and Cate got to chase the ducks, shouting 'Quack quack'
Back at the cottage the warm days and cool(ish) nights filled the valley with mist, which was very quickly burned off in the morning.
Our final beach day was a bit further along the peninsula from Pwllheli, at a little town called Abersoch. The beach here was stunning and, like Pwllheli, practically empty at this time of year. We had a great time building castles, paddling in the sea (no stones on this beach), kicking the ball about and generally enjoying the sunshine.
Again, there were loads of jellyfish in the sea, though they seemed to be harmless and I brushed against a few when I went for a swim. There were also thousands of wee fish near the shore, which darted out of the way if you went near.
We had lunch at the cafe, and then left the beach. It was getting too hot after mid-day. But I'd recommend Abersoch if you're looking for a day at the beach.
On our last day we decided to go and see Greenwood Forest Park. It took us an age to find it due to my bad sense of direction, but we got there eventually, and there was quite a lot to do. They have a big slide, a roller coaster, a toddlers area, a jungle boat ride, an adventure playground, an open-air theatre and a cafe. We spent a pleasant few hours here before heading back for a last dip in the pool and to get packed for going home tomorrow.
Well, it was a scorching week, which made our holiday all the better. Next year's our 10th anniversary, so we'll maybe try something a bit different. Perhaps we'll take Cate on a plane somewhere: that'll be an experience!
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