As I mentioned yesterday, we didn't have many plans for this trip but one thing we did want to do was visit Conwy. An Esperanto-speaking friend who lived near the town sadly passed away last year. He had a large collection of Esperanto books, some of which Tim was interested in acquiring, and we had arranged to visit his wife to pick those up and take the rest of the collection back to Esperanto House in Barlaston. Conwy is only about 45 minutes away from where we're staying in Ruthin, so it was an easy journey to make and save a lot of courier costs.
It was a bit damp and drizzly when we set off, so I decided not to put on any sun cream. That turned out to be an error of judgement; by the time we got to Conwy the sun was well and truly shining and as we were sitting outside in our friend's garden having coffee, I could feel myself starting to turn a bit pink. Oops!
Just down the road from where our friend lived we had the most amazing view of Conwy and its castle.
The castle is only open for pre-booked visits at the moment so we weren't able to go inside today, but we parked and had a stroll around the town anyway.
The castle walls are really impressive.
And the town itself is pretty too.
We walked through a gate...
...which took us on a path around the outside of part of the castle walls.
It reminded me a bit of walking around the castle walls in Carcassonne.
And actually today it was sunny enough in Conwy to rival Carcassonne
This was as close as we could get to the castle itself without a ticket to go in.
It looked really impressive with its Welsh flags flying.
We turned around and retraced our steps back towards the car park.
As we did so we passed through a small underpass, which had a painted display of the word "welcome" in different languages.
One part of the display caught Tim's attention.
We do have a bit of a history of stumbling across Esperanto-related monuments in Europe, but I think this is the first time we've found an unexpected bit of Esperanto in the UK
From Conwy it wasn't far to drive to Anglesey. Tim's dad's family are originally from here, so we visited the place where his grandad is buried, and then continued on towards Holyhead. We went on a camping trip to Wales in 2011, in preparation for which I think we bought a cheap guidebook to Wales from The Works. This book recommended a walk at Holyhead, which we definitely did part of back in 2011 and vaguely remembered as being nice, so we were planning to give it another go.
The guidebook is quite old now but the instructions for how to find the car park were luckily still valid and we followed road signs towards South Stack, where there is an RSPB nature reserve. The car park was no longer free, as the guidebook suggested it would be, but it had one of those car parking machines which only takes coins (which we didn't have) and didn't offer any other options for payment. We decided to park anyway and hope for the best!
We followed a gravel path from the car park, which led towards a tower that I think serves as the RSPB information centre. It seemed to be closed today anyway, so we figured we were probably okay with the parking.
From alongside the tower we had our first view of the cliffs.
While Holyhead is probably most famous for having a ferry port, the coastline here is really beautiful.
We soon had a view of the South Stack lighthouse, which was built here in 1809 to warn boats about the cliffs.
What you can't see in the photos is that the surrounding cliffs were absolutely covered in sea birds.
It was one of those times when you really wish you had binoculars with you! I tried to take a very zoomed in picture on my phone to give some idea of how many birds there were, but it doesn't really do it justice. An information board we saw suggested that they would either be puffins or guillemots. From what we could see, they were black with white chests but we couldn't see any colourful beaks, so we think guillemots.
After the cliffs the path continued, taking us up above the lighthouse.
We climbed up to a viewpoint...
...from where we could look right down on it.
The path then led around a corner, giving us a view of yet more cliffs.
Although it was no longer a very sunny day, it was still really bright which is why I am pulling a funny face trying to keep my eyes open for this photo
We walked towards the view for a bit longer...
...before turning around and retracing our steps back towards the car park.
Luckily, when we got back to the car we hadn't acquired any sort of fine for not being able to pay for the parking! We set off on the drive back towards Ruthin, where Tim couldn't resist taking a video of the beautiful street we're staying on