Liverpool has been fantastic but we have already stayed one night more than planned and it is time to move on.  We have been following our friend, Anthony Howick’s itinerary but decided to deviate from it and take a drive through a bit of Wales.  This is the only UK country we have not been to.  Our destination is Portmeirion, but we made several stops in various towns based on another friends recommendations.

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Llandudno is a coastal town in North Wales known for its north shore beach and 19th century pier.

We stopped here ever so briefly then continued on to Beaumaris which is on the Isle of Anglesey where we stopped for lunch along the coast before taking a self guided tour of the ruins of Beaumaris Castle.

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We are on the Isle of Anglesey looking back at North Wales.
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Beaumaris.
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Beaumaris Castle.

This fortress of near perfect symmetry is an unfinished masterpiece and is called “The Greatest Castle that was never built”.  It was the last of the royal strongholds created by Edward I in Wales.  However because of lack of money and trouble brewing in Scotland he made the decision to stop building.  The distinctive squat shape of Beaumaris tells us of a dream that never quite came true.

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Downtown Beaumaris from the castle.
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Walking the castle wall.
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The surrounding countryside from the castle wall.

IMG_1397We continued our drive along very narrow and harrowing roads through Snowdonia National Park giving Sandy many moments of terror and profuse profanity.  She finally decided to keep her head down and played Scrabble with friends on her device.

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Snowdonia National Park.

After several hours of driving we reached Portmeirion which is a tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village.

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Hydrangea lined road approaching Portmeirion.

IMG_1465Portmeirion is a tourist village destination with an admission fee.  At the admission gate we asked about overnight accommodations and snagged the last available room which was a sweet little cottage called Anchorage I.  Being a hotel guest we did not have to pay admission and we were able to drive into this fairytale village.

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View of Afon Dwyryd.  We don’t know what that means either but it is obviously a tidal body of water.

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Welcoming sherry.
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Looking at the Portmeirion Hotel from our cottage.
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View from our room.
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Our entrance door.

IMG_1413After getting settled and having a glass of sherry we take a quick tour of this Disneyland for adults before dinner at the hotel.IMG_1414IMG_1416IMG_1419

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Juliet on the balcony again.

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Really?  Another balcony?

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Finally back to the hotel for dinner.

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Our cottage, top floor lights.

It is hard to describe how surreal this place is but we are happy to have strayed from our itinerary for a day and want to give a big shout out of appreciation to our dear friend Kathy Lloy Collins for recommending this bit of heaven on earth.  We decided that Wales will not get much better than this so tomorrow we will head back into the English countryside to resume our original itinerary.

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