UK Road Trip day 3: Snowdonia

Stock Photograph: Snowdonia Panorama
Stock Photograph: Snowdonia Panorama

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Long day today, lots of ups and downs, and not just from visiting the surprisingly mountainous area of North West Wales called Snowdonia. What wonderfully beautifully verdant or mountains those are! Brilliant landscapes. I wonder if it’s a taste of what we’ll get in Scotland, but these were amazing sights. So much so that we stopped to walk and take pictures every 5 minutes and ended up doing half of what we had planned today. We weren’t too lucky with the weather.. lots of photoshop ahead when I come back to attempt to emote the magnificence of the landscape, but this was just breathtaking and I don’t think I’ll succeed. One thing I’ve learned from looking at my shots today: I should try multiple rows panoramic shots. I’ll start tomorrow.

I don’t have the map with me (I’m in the hotel’s lobby – the only place where the internet will work – thanks to heavy stone walls) and I won’t attempt to write the names of the places we visited, but we started off with a nice Castle atop a picturesque valley, then moved on the the mountains, then down to a quaint village where I had my first Welsh tea, and then down to a horrendous and garish tourist trap of a place called Portmeirion (throw your Michelin guides out of your car’s window: this place is not worth 3 stars – not even one!) and then down to our current pitstop near Harlech.

We hiked up a steep path to the castle (go Benoit!), I approached sheep with finesse (and with great care in my dung avoidance) to try and get a great shot of this area’s favorite cattle, did surprising contortions to get just the right angle of that beautiful old bridge, felt really good about everything, but then I just had to swear like a sailor when I saw the mess of a place I mentioned above and was rewarded by stepping in quicksand when I hit the beach right in front of the luxury hotel in that awful 3 stars exercise in bad taste. I lifted up my foot quickly when I felt it sinking, but my left running shoe didn’t follow and I had to think fast and dig it up before it disappeared. As a result, my left shoe, foot, knee and hand were covered in an stinky black mess of unknown origin and I cursed some more walking up to the parking under the amused glances of the many tourists who finally saw something of interest.

We drove with the windows open, got lost in small winding roads and finally reached port in a beautiful rustic hotel up the hill just North of Harlech. The restaurant there is an award-winning table and we had our second great meal of the trip, which ended the day on a great note.

My running shoes are on the windowsill. They’re clean now but I wonder if they’ll be dry by tomorrow…

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