Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Wale of a Time

Groupon is all about deals. From teeth whitening to laser hair removal to exotic getaways, you name it, they do it! Snowdonia happened to us when Brussels didn't. There was this delectable offer of £79 for two to Ambassador Hotel in Snowdonia. Too good to miss, we thought. Two nights stay, breakfast included, a tea thrown in. The Great Orme view room with provisions for tea/coffee cookies provided. What more can one ask for! 

The train from London Euston takes you to Warrington from where one changes to reach Llandudno(Klan-did-no). . Llandudno, "Queen of the Welsh Resorts", is the largest seaside resort in Snowdonia,Wales, and lies on a flat land between the Welsh mainland and the Great Orme peninsula.                                                            

The journey by rail gets you into a relaxed trance that air travel doesn't quite. The landscape is scenic, the weather pleasant & as the train chugs forward you can either doze or breathe in the beauty outside the glass window. There are interesting sights & unique features on the way. Don't miss them by sleeping during the journey! 

                                                                          In four hours, we are at our destination. The old-world charm of Llandudno welcomes us. Our hotel is barely 10 minutes from the station, we walk it down. The shop names make us smile. What strikes us is the presence of colour, after the staid black & brown of London.

The Ambassodor Hotel is in the corner of the road, just across the sea. The locale takes our breathe away. The staff is courteous, the room cosy & you have half the day to go to the Pier & walk around in  the market place.

The Pier boasts a variety of stalls, some games & others artifacts & food. The choice is vast, you either stand at the end of the pier, stare at the sea & wonder at Nature's immensity or get into the game stalls & try to win prizes. Of course, with time on your side, you could do both!
There are rowers who wave out to you as you look down the pier. The easy, laid-back life is like a whiff of fresh air.  The gaming  room, apart from making you rich or poor, can give you a sketch for life. It has a Van Gogh's workroom!  What better memorabilia do we want to take back! Keep around two hours for this site if you are a Nature lover. In front is the green sea, look sideways and one sees the colourful houses against the Great Orme. This time of the year, you need enough warm to guard against the cold. Go prepared. 

Adventure lovers can enjoy Llandudno any time of the year. If you'd rather travel in trams & cable cars, visit between April- October. As backpacking travellers, the next day we followed the cable car route & hiked up to the Great Orme. If you are able-bodied & willing, go hiking. Nothing to beat the climb & the great sense of achievement that comes with it.

Admire the daffodils on the way, look back every five minutes & gasp at the beauty that surrounds you. What are those twisted horn animals, are those sheep dotting the hill in the distance, what species of bird are these. So many questions, such curiosity!

The Great Orme historical trail, from Happy Valley to the Orme summit, takes half a day if you are hiking. Enroute you stop to see the Copper Mines & read the signages that tell you the story. 

The six miles walk gives you panoramic views of the estuary, the pier, the cliff & all the flora & fauna that you crave for in your routine city life. The wind vanes in the distance dutifully go about their business, the cemetery houses the departed close to the sea. Life comes a full circle.  
The food options in this little Welsh town are plenty. In the Palladium, we were welcomed with a loud cheering on our first evening. Blushingly, we entered to realize there was a England vs Wales rugby match in progress! The interior was more an arena than a restaurant; there were huge screens all over the circular hall & the weekend joviality was infectious. The 'fiery dragon' chicken dish that you have for dinner will show its potency only the next morning. Beware! 

Evenings are good for a walk along the Marine Drive & some window shopping. Most shops close by 6pm on weekends.

We kept the next morning for the spiritual trail. Llandudno has a number of Churches and chapels that are major tourist attractions. The Holy Trinity Church(below),The Methodist Church(below right), The Emmanuel Church (below The Trinity), to name a few. 
The bowing to The Almighty done, walking along the water & picking unusual stones was the next best thing. As was taking in the colourful houses with their signature touch.
Two nights is ideal for an idyllic break to Llandudno, Snowdonia. Thank you, Groupon. Please gift us our next getaway :) 


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