Welsh Diaries Day 1 – Starting our next Adventure

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Sorry about my recent radio silence guys! My schedule this month has been crazy and coupled with being really ill last week it has taken me a lot longer than expected to get the post ready for your enjoyment. But worry not I am feeling much better and ready to share our recent Welsh adventure with you all. Enjoy!

When it comes to the fiancèe’s birthday, I always like to plan something a little special. Whether it is a surprise trip to Rome, watching Cirque du Soleil in London or a comedy gig and gourmet meal in Liverpool, I always find something different for us to do together. Everyday life is always really busy so it is important to take some time away and spend some quality time together. And this year was no exception.

With the wedding swiftly approaching, a big holiday this year wasn’t really going to be on the cards. So I had to find somewhere a little closer to home. If you have seen my travel posts about Germany or Iceland, you will know we love the outdoors; taking in the fresh air and walking around the countryside while eating some good food along the way. That is why I chose Wales as the new pin in our adventure map. Mountains, fresh air and lots of sheep; it was like being in Iceland but only 2 hours from home.

The day before we left I decided to spill the beans and tell the boss where she would be enjoying her next birthday. It had been a really tough week and so I wanted her to have something nice to look forward to. I was also really nervous about whether it would be the right plan because earlier that week she jokingly said “I hope we aren’t doing something crazy like climbing Snowdon”… almost like she is a psychic sometimes. Luckily she was thrilled with the idea and immediately started to look at places to go and making a list of things she needed to pack. For her, part of the excitement for these kinds of trips is organising clothes, packing the bags and checking everything in the house is sorted. I can’t say I completely understand but as long as she is happy that is what’s important right? Happy wife, happy life after all!

Waking on the morning on the first day, we were both ready to hit the road and find some new Welsh wonders. Bags packed, gopro charged and car full to the brim; nothing left to do except getting started. The weather had been really bad the few weeks before so I had my fingers and toes crossed for something a little clearer for this trip. I don’t mind a bit of drizzle, because in England there is no way to avoid it, but it isn’t ideal to get drenched in downpours or trapped behind a wall of snow. We actually joked on the drive over that we would see the welcome sign for Wales and drive through a wall of rain. Luckily that didn’t happen… well not exactly. It took an extra 30 minutes from the border until we got caught in the recent storm. Typical!

Ty Gwyn Hotel - Exterior

After navigating the tsunami (maybe a slight exaggeration), we finally found the little B&B that would become basecamp for the next two nights; Ty Gwyn Hotel. I knew we were a little early for check in but I was still surprised to find no one inside at all. We had to call through to the kitchen for a couple of minutes before anyone came out, but the young lad we did find was good enough to take us to our room. I think it was the first time he had checked in a guest as he didn’t really understand their guestbook or even know where our room was, but after a few minutes of running around upstairs he directed us to the right plan.

The hotel itself was only small but it had a really nice comfy feel. The room was a good size and had a really nice modern bathroom. I always love to inspect the bathroom in the rooms we stay. A good shower is always an early sign of a good holiday and this time we had struck gold. Waterfall shower head anyone?!

I may not be the best timekeeper in the world but my biological clock is pretty accurate when it comes to meal times, and my stomach was clearly telling me it was time to find some grub. It was still raining pretty heavily so we walked the short stretch into the village and found a nice little bar to take shelter in; Y Stablau (Stables Bar). It is a small bar connected to the Royal Oak Hotel that serves food and drink all day. Outside the main building there was a cool little log cabin with a log fire which was very appealing in the cold, blustering weather outside. Unfortunately, the seats by the fire were in high demand so had already been snapped up by the time we arrived, so we opted for a nice bench away from the door and took a look at the menu.

Y Sablau Cabin

As our first meal in Wales it was a very simple choice for me; Welsh rarebit. What else would I have chosen in Wales? The fiancèe then chose a ham, cheese and pickle sandwich along with the bowl of chips and onion rings I ordered for the table. We always split the main meals so we can try all the different food, and to stop be stealing the food off her plate. Everything we had was delicious! The strong mustard flavour combined with the leeks in the Welsh rarebit was a particular highlight.

Welsh Rarebit

Although we wanted to get out and adventure, now we had refueled and rested from the drive, we had got so wet on the walk over we decided it best to head back to the room, warm up and get some dry clothes on before heading out again. Luckily this meant I got to test out the fancy new shower I had seen earlier. It worked an absolute treat!

Swallow Falls Entrance

The first destination on our little exertion was Swallow Falls, just to the north of the village. It was really easy to find, as there was only one road heading in that direction, and there was a little parking spot just outside that was very handy. Unfortunately the one thing we didn’t take into account was the turnstile that required payment from us to entry the platform around the waterfall. I think that all our waterfall hunting in Iceland had left us a little spoilt and we expect to be able to simply get out the care and enjoy the spectacle, but that isn’t always the case.. Clearly! This meant a swift U turn back to Betws y coed to get some change from the shop that the turnstile would accept. Although it took a lot of effort to finally get in, it was worth it as we walked down to the viewing platforms at the bottom on the falls.

The sound of crashing waves and white horses on the surface surrounded us. It wasn’t the largest waterfall we had ever seen, that right is still reserved for Seljalandsfoss, but the ferocity and sheer force being exerted around us was well up there on the leaderboard. As we stood admiring the view we noticed some colour specs on the hill opposite and realised there was a higher alternative path on the opposite side of the river. I would have loved to go over there for a different perspective but with daylight hours being limited we decided to forgo the additional excursion and aim for some other locations I had scouted earlier in the hotel room.

Posing at Swallow Falls

And that is just half of our first day of exploration and there is lots more to share with you. Stay tuned for the next post to find out what else we discovered around Betws y coed.

Ciao for now!

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