From NSW to ONW (that's Old North Wales for those who haven't yet had coffee...)
As usual we were packed and ready to go long before our breakfast started at George and Dragon in Dent. It would be our only complaint about this otherwise great pub - as walkers we hate not starting by 8.30am and here breakfast is not served any earlier. The pub guys must be late risers...but we are, so we headed outside to wander this cute town of Dent before breakfast.
Out the front door...
Turn left to the post box - we had written a couple of post cards earlier which were ready to go. In these old towns the streets are so narrow that the post boxes are embedded into a cottage wall rather than free standing.
Back to the church yard which is peaceful, picturesque and the "dead centre of town".
There are several footpaths between some cottages to the church - no street - but we did not quite understand this entry gate and narrower entry step to the right. For children? Dogs? Penitents?
We managed to start breakfast at 8.20am (we just sat down and started with fruit and cereal) and were in the car and on the road just after 9am. Not a fascinating drive to Wales, and no photos, as most of the drive was just down the M6, which was busy with traffic and rainy every 10 minutes or so. English drivers seem to keep the same speed in the wet and can be quite aggressive. They stick close to you and are comfortable doing 10mph over the speed limit when you are already doing 70mph. It takes some nerves and concentration.
All safe, we arrived in Wales a few hours later, without much fanfare, just a sign at a junction saying Welcome to Wales. We needed a break so we stopped at the first easy place - Maccas - for a coffee each.
You quickly know you're in Wales, because all signs are in 2 languages and Welsh might as well be Finnish for its complexity of pronunciations. Even at Maccas. We had no idea how to pronounce "additional seating" - we will need a crash course in Welsh.
Our home for the next 4 nights in called Sunnydowns Hotel at a small seaside town called Rhos-on-Sea, about 4 miles from Lladudno (pronounced Cladidno). This place charmed us immediately. Early check in was no problem - we got a large front room, which can be seen to the left of the yellow sign, with very retro furniture everywhere, a faded glory feel and a chatty host, Mike.
Evidence of our retro furniture and decorations in the photo below.
Yep, twin beds...we are cheapskates and will take whichever room is offered cheapest for 2 people. For some reason a double bed room costs more about 50% of the time, never less, and twin bed rooms are usually bigger. Must be lots of people in UK who like twin beds...
More old fashioned stuff...not Hans of course. Di's elbow can be seen if you look closely, not that it's old fashioned either...
Having settled in we decided to make the most of the reasonable weather and explored our local town. We are about 3 blocks from the shops and 1 block from the Marine Promenade coast path. We walked around the corner and onto Marine Drive and then as follows:
Behind Di, looking west, is the larger town nearby called Lladudno, which we will explore another day.
Looking northwards the familiar sight of wind turbines. We could see them working well here, the seagulls in the photo were flying hard against the breeze to move forward.
Ok, how the hell do you pronounce "ysbwriel"?
We turned eastwards to promenade to Rhos-on-Sea and soon came to a small chapel called St Trillo on Sea. It suggests it is the smallest place of worship in Britain, and according to their timetable they regularly have prayer meetings and small services here. The next one is at 8.30am on Friday. We had to investigate.
6 chairs and an altar take all the available space.
St Trillo was a 6th Century Welsh Monk, now sainted, who had his monk cell here. The original building sat on top of a natural spring, said to have healing powers, and the well of the spring can still be seen under the altar. The building was destroyed a few times as it sits right on the sea edge, but rebuilt pretty much the same way each time. They have been worshipping here or 1500 years. Amazing. We liked it.
Clearly St Trillo has its local fans... this little poem was very sweet and we felt accurate.
Hans had some difficult getting inside...size? Or some other spirit keeping him out?
We "flaneured" further...the coast is very attractive here and fishing and sailing seem popular. We didn't see any swimmers, or baths, or netted areas...
Once we reached "downtown" we strolled the streets a bit, checking out grocery shopping (back to DIY breakfast), laundromat services, ATMs and dinner options. All looked good. Lots of cheap food choices.
After such a huge breakfast even at 2pm we did not feel much like lunch so we picked up a few items from a bakery and nibbled them by the shore, sipping from our thermos of tea, enjoying the sun from a nice sheltered spot on the promenade. The Welsh really understand the need for protection from the breeze as most strong winds in the UK come from the west/south west and hit Wales first.
This lovely little garden, the view from our lunch bench, was colourful and hardy and they had built a temporary reed sculpture called "catch of the day" which we thought was telling because of the hovering seagull included.
After our snack we strolled further eastwards. Rhos-on-Sea harbour can be seen behind Hans. It is not very big as there is no commercial fishing here as far as we can tell.
The promenade and town are well set up for summer tourists. This little store on the promenade sold hot drinks, food, lots of ice creams and beach toys and souvenirs. When Hans is by the seaside he often feels like fish and chips, for Di it is ice cream regardless of the temperature. She went to investigate the offering.
We skipped the ice cream here, but at the next place the ice creams were cheaper so we caved in and each got one. Of course then you we had to stroll on the actual beach. We headed down the stairs to the sand. We also wanted a bit closer view of the young kids that seemed to be going for their sailing lesson. You can't tell from this photo but it was a good stiff breeze so they had help from a jet ski to get started.
Check out Di's hair in this photo and you can see it became a "bit breezy" later in the afternoon. Nice view towards town.
On the way back to purchase groceries in town, we found a second hand bookshop and Di was lost for a short while. 3 books later, with some tugging from Hans we were back on our way. If it rains extensively, that store could get another visit...
The local Co-Op supermarket was well stocked and had a good selection of stuff for breakfast, snacks, and alcohol. Lots of good red wine...but we stuck to a cheapie. Nice beer and G&T were also purchased as our room has a bar fridge (a very rare feature in the UK). So that also meant milk for cereal, cheeses for our bread and other goodies and before we knew it we spent £40! Oh well, still cheaper than eating and drinking "out".
Back to Sunnydowns Hotel with our groceries and then a break for an hour or two before taking the car back to "downtown" for takeaway Chinese food. This place, Dragon City, seemed to have good karma given the business they did while we were there.
During our short time in Rhos-on-Sea, we have now seen 4 Chinese takeaway stores. Chinese food must be popular. We ordered Chicken with Cashew nuts and King Prawns with ginger and shallots, with boiled rice, for the total mighty sum of just over £10. Maybe the price is a factor in its popularity.
The streetscape outside Dragon City.
We brought our takeaway food back to Sunnydowns and had it in the bar area, which has table and chairs. Mike kindly offered plates for us which we thankfully accepted. The food was average,and being cheap meant lots of sauce and vegies, but we ate most of it. We will try other places the next few nights.
Inside to the left of the entrance door of our hotel, there was an old style one-armed bandit which just had to be tried. 20 pence to play so we "invested a coin". We won 4 coins with our first draw and then lost them all in rapid succession.
Now, whenever we are down at ground floor level, Mike seems to pop out and chat and as we loitered around checking out the place, he was there again. So more chat, chat, chat...
After a short while, we went back to our room and called it a day. Blogging and reading. Good night.