Sunday, June 30, 2013

Harlech Castle

On Sunday we woke, packed out things, and drove through Snowdonia.  I can't remember seeing such forest before in Britain. Neither England nor Scotland seemed to have as many woodlands as Wales did.  We drove to meet my cousin Julie and her husband Hwyel in Harlech Castle. 
we drove through slate country.

Harlech is one of Edward III's castles

On top of the highest tower

my only photo of Hywel!

Hywel said, I've found Fran. Basking like a cat.

I love that it's in ruins. Much more fun to explore.

We could climb onto the walls.

On the walls there were birds.  Guess who was shat on?

what a view

Me and Julie

Here is where the moat used to be. A real moat!

Julie was so sweet. She chose Harlech because at one point in time she found a restaurant that had served her sweet tea there! Unfortunately the restaurant had now closed, but the possibility that sweet tea could exist in Great Britain was just lovely!

Harlech was a great castle. Castles in ruin are loads more fun than the ones people live in. You can play hide and seek, tour the tops of towers, sentry the walls, and feel the wind and the sun.  It felt more real somehow and more medieval.

We ate lunch at a great little diner (lamb burgers!) and said goodbye.  As they left, Julie and Hywel told me the lovely news that they were planning to come to my wedding.  I was so overcome that people should travel such a distance. I couldn't quite believe it.  We drove back to Durham, fixed a pasta bake, and watched Jurassic Park. What a great day.

Around Conwy

After lunch, Sanna and I wanted to wander about town and have a nosy in the shops.  Fran took off to the beaches and enjoyed the sun Fran style.  [I'll put SG on the photos Sanna took.]

the beach and sun

a right bumbler [sg]

part of the town wall [sg]

a lovely restaurant, the shakespeare, that we meant to come back to [sg]

Conwy Castle

to the harbor [sg]

we met fran, saw the smallest house, then walked back to our hostel

these amazing town walls [sg]

the town walls [sg]

view of ivy towers [sg]

sweet gate houses

I be tired. let's go home. [sg]

[In addition to that, here's a little video Sanna accidentally took. I know I'm scowling, but I just love it.]

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Conwy: the smallest house in Britain

After our wander around Conwy, we all met up at the smallest house in Great Britain. 


the downstairs

the upstairs

Fran upright in the wee house
Most of my pictures didn't exactly turn out as it was so dark inside.  But it had a cooking range inside the fire place, a small table, and then a ladder that led upstairs. Upstairs was slightly bigger with a bed and wash stand. It was very cute. I think I'm a fan of small houses.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Conwy: Anna's tea room

By the time we finished climbing the mountain, we were absolutely famished.  So we headed to the town centre and began the prowl for lunch.

Conwy town center

this is my prowling for lunch

we settled on Anna's and couldn't have chosen better if we tried!

It was set on the second floor of a camping shop

It was the sort of lovely place the sold its own jams and coffees

And of of course had its old-world elegance, complete with lace and doilies

striking a pose

the ever photo-genic Sanna

waiting for our food
The food was delicious.  They even had a whole selection of proper coffee and in my experience of tea rooms, that is a valuable find.  I didn't take pictures of the food, mostly because I detest pictures of food and besides, we were so hungry, it hadn't stayed on our plate half a minute before we hoovered it up.  But it was lovely, and if you go to Conwy, I recommend this one!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


For the past ten days, I've had the pleasure of Sanna's company.  We met in middle-school in Singapore and have faithfully corresponded across countries for over twelve years.  Over the years we have been together in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, America, Sweden, Scotland, England, and Wales.  Within minutes of seeing each other we were tossing clothes back and forth ('Here try this on', 'Oh, I brought this for you, it doesn't fit me anymore'), tossing around story ideas, and planning our escapades of what to do while she was here.  At times I get caught in these silly mental ruts, like, being afraid of being excited about getting engaged because it might offend my single friends. Sanna pulls me out of them with her usual wit: Nat, you're being stupid. I have been having a hard time with Indy and Felix (they basically hate me) and she coaxed and cooed them until they were eating out of her hand.  Literally. She infuses me with confidence to be the person I want to be. During the week I was with her, I was more creative and explored my own bit of earth more than I had in the past eight months.  I even had better posture.  She's a Mary Poppins type figure. I can't wait to see her in January for my wedding, and I'm dead excited about the prospect of going to see her in Sweden next summer.

Sanna, thanks so much for coming to visit me! I love you. And you forgot your Bible in my living room. Send me an address and I'll send it to you. xo

This morning my adviser cancelled an appointment so I've finally had a chance to catch up on the blog! This coming weekend I'm off to Northern Ireland to visit Louise McConnell Foster in the celebration of her wedding.  I've also known Louise since middle school and will look forward to their celebrations in a castle!

Conwy Mountain

Doing a little catch-up on our weekend in Bangor.  After the conference, we headed to Conwy and stayed there for two nights. The first morning we climbed Conwy Mountain.

a path to a castle

the beach

a little LOTR

I'll help you. Right off a cliff.

my old friend

We climbed a tree!

climbing trees in scarier than I remember

North by NorthWest, anyone?

We clomb the mountain, which was a bit like Arthur's Seat. It had magnificent views of Snowdonia mountain range, a beach, and a castle. We could even see off-shore wind-farms.  Very beautiful weather. We made our way into the city center of Conwy some well-earned lunch!