We had another week in North Cymru as a result of a combo of a few days leave, two days off in lieu of a worked weekend, Cathy's birthday, the opportunity to go to a football match in Caernarfon, and the holiday flat we stayed in back in the summer being available (and very reasonable). Unlike my rather frenetic week off in October when we went to DisneyLand Paris which I followed up with an epic quest to Hartlepool, this was a proper relaxing, low voltage week away.
The weather was mixed but pretty good overall. We had a superb, crisp winter sunny day on Anglesey, when we got to visit one of our favourite beaches, Traeth Llanddwyn near Newborough.
We also got ice cream and sorbet from Red Boat in Beaumaris. I had bara brith ice cream for the first time. It was delicious.
We had a day in Porthmadog, where I got to unexpectedly see a steam train in action. The railway has virtually closed down for the winter, but they had fired up the Double Fairlie to film an advert promoting Wales as a tourist destination.
I saw Barry Town win with a late goal screamer at Caernarfon Town - and made my debut as a radio commentator for Bro Radio.
We had two trips to the cinema - one to see The Nightmare Before Christmas on its 30th anniversary re-release into cinemas. Cathy and I went to watch it together 28 years ago when it was on it's first UK release (18 months after it hit the screens in America). We also went to see The Marvels at the Galeri Arts Centre in Caernarfon - where the film started at the time advertised without having to sit through the gaudy tedium of multiple adverts. If I get a chance I will blog some thoughts about The Marvels, but to summarise, I'd suggest not bothering unless you have a good grasp of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although if you like cats you might find it very amusing in its own right.
We didn't visit any castles this time, although we drove under the watchful gaze of the battlements in both Caernarfon and Conwy. We did find time for a museum though - the Storiel in Bangor. It had several small, contained permanent exhibits and an interesting small temporary exhibition of sleep through the ages. I liked the local angle, including Bangor City FC memorabilia and the chair that Thomas Telford used to sit in when he stayed in a local hotel overseeing construction of the Menai Bridge.
We even got to drive home via Shrewsbury to see the folks, and chose to drive over the Llanberis Pass. As we topped the pass near the youth hostel, we drove into sunlight. The mountain sides fell away, with the steep valley snaking away to Beddgelert enlivened by sunlight and for a moment it made me catch my breath at how beautiful it looked. It was an emotionally uplifting way to end a lovely week.