DAY 11:  Northern Wales

We awoke this morning in the grand hotel.  It's funny to watch people walking around inside this hotel.  Most of us walk around with our heads pointed up, looking at all of the high ceilings, chandeliers, and marble walls.  We left the hotel after breakfast and began our day trip to Wales.

Our first stop of the day took us to Betws-y-Coed.  It's a small village which has essentially become a tourist stop.  There were a few nice sights there, but it was primarily a stop with shops and facilities for the tourist trade.  In talking to the locals, I found them to be friendly -- but not as friendly or open as we've found people elsewhere in the U.K. (especially Scotland!).

We continued on through the mountains of Wales.  It was a very foggy morning. The mist and clouds hung low over the mountains.  It gave many of the views that "classic" U.K. look.  We drove through an old slate mine while killing time for our next excursion, the Welsh Mountain Railroad.  The fog and mist that gave the morning drive such a great feeling worked to our disadvantage on the railroad.  The mountain views were severely hampered by the fog.

Our train took us to Porthmadog were we climbed aboard the bus and headed off for lunch just outside the Caernarforn Castle.  After lunch, we explored the castle.  This castle was built by Edward I (Longshanks).  It was originally part of an entire walled city.  The really neat thing about Caernarforn is that they allow the visitors to have practical free run.  We were able to explore and climb at our leisure.  There were lots of kids there too, all having a really good time.  It's great to be in a place like that where there aren't so many people saying "don't touch" and "don't go there".

Caernarform Castle

Our last stop of the day was at town with the longest name in the world.  Don't ask me to spell it or say it.  I'll bring pictures and video!

Afterwards, we made our way back towards Liverpool.  We arrived at the hotel at dinner time, so we joined the group for a terrific dinner in the Adelphi's restaurant.  What a place!  I've only seen such hotels in movies.  Now I can say I've stayed in one!

A sign of the town with the longest name, known also as "Lanfair PG".

After dinner, most of our tour group went on a tour of Liverpool.  Douglas and I have decided to "opt out" of the few remaining excursions on the trip and do our own thing.  I'm glad!  We grabbed a cab, and headed off to a store so I could buy another bag.  On the way back, we once again made friends with our cab driver!  We decided to have Owen take us on a tour of Liverpool.  It was so much fun!  Instead of a huge coach and a formal guide, we whizzed around the city and saw all the sights with Owen.  He got us down into places I'm sure we would never have seen in the formal tour.  His best line of the night was "This is my city mates, I was born here."  You can tell how proud he is of his home.  By the time it was done, we had a personal tour of the city for the same price as the formal tour.  (We did give Owen a good tip!).  Best of all, we have another friend here.

We're back at the hotel now.  I'm trying to get a bunch more postcards out.  Douglas is off to explore the hotel.  He's already stopped by once to tell me about some of the "nooks and crannies".

Tomorrow, we leave the Adelphi and head on to Llandrindod Wells.  The adventure continues!

One of the buildings in

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