06/30/13
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Spice Village

On June 30, 2013, Ivan and I had breakfast at 10 am at the B&B.  It was a lot of food – pancakes, boiled egg, cereal, orange juice and tea.

We packed everything up and left Abel’s House.  Ivan started driving out of Caernarfon towards Gwynedd.

It took us 30 minutes to reach Portmeirion Village.  It was £10 per person for the entrance fee.  Good thing, Lil Dave hid in my bag or we would have paid an extra £6 for the monkey entrance fee.

The village has colorful buildings. 

Portmeirion mermaid

The logo of the place is of a beautiful mermaid who I presume is Meirion.  It’s a terrific place. 

Portmeirion plaza

The designer Sir Clough Williams-Ellis wanted to pay tribute to the Mediterranean and created an Italian village. 

Ivan in the lighthouse

Ivan, Lil Dave and I took a walk down to the waterfront.  I thought the trees were wonderful.

Tree with a big muscle

I felt one with nature.  Ivan didn’t feel the same way though.  He did find it beautiful as well though.  But, he thought it was expensive to get in which I agreed. 

I saw lots of beautiful purple flowers.  I don’t know the name of the flower though.

Beautiful purple flowers

There was a sign saying that it’s dangerous because the tide is really fast.  We did see the tide come in very fast.

Lovely greenery in the distance

The mountains and greenery were lovely in the distance.

We walked back to the plaza and then went back to the car.

Driving with lovely scenery around us

Ivan started driving us even more towards the Wales-England border.  We stopped at a restaurant, but it only had Sunday roast for lunch. 

We stopped at Cwpan Pinc in Welshpool.  Ivan and I shared a Welsh rarebit and a jacket potato with tuna. 

Welsh rarebit

Both tasted good, but I really enjoyed the Welsh rarebit.

Ivan drove us more and we were in England.  We drove on and arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon at 6 pm.

We checked in to the Moss Cottage B&B.  The owner Bill is so very friendly and chatty.  He told us how to get around the town and different things to see in town.  We also talked about our trip. 

Ivan and I used the internet for awhile before heading out to get dinner.

Ivan and I walked to an Indian restaurant called Avon Spice.  We shared poppadums with chutneys.  Chicken tikka came out next.  Our main courses were chicken jalfrezi and chala masala with rice and a roti.

Chala masala and chicken jalfrezi

The chala masala was beautiful, but the chicken jalfrezi didn’t have much flavor.  It was a good meal.

06/29/13
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Small Castle Station

Ivan was up before me on June 29, 2013.  I woke up right before 10 am.  We had the free breakfast at Abel’s House in the basement.  It was lots of food: fried egg, vegetables, cereal, tea and strawberries.  I’m not really a breakfast person.  I don’t know how people eat so much food like a Full English Breakfast.  I think they eat a big breakfast, skip lunch and then have tea with scones & biscuits around 3 pm. 

We walked to Caernarfon Castle.  It was another overcast day.  This castle was spread out, but not that big.

Jen at Caernarfon Castle

I love exploring castles since you don’t know what you’ll find next. 

Entryway headed to...

I lost Ivan at one point, so I got explore on my own.. which allowed me to take lots of pictures. 

An alcove in the castle

Ivan checked out the museum while I was taking pictures. 

Stained glass in Caernarfon Castle

It’s cool to think that people actually lived here once.  What a great house to have. 

Caernarfon Castle

The investiture of The Prince of Wales, Princes Charles, took place at Caernarfon Castle on July 1, 1969. 

Ivan and I stopped by Palas for a strawberry & cream ice cream cone which was so lovely. 

A street in Caernarfon

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked to the car and Ivan drove us towards Conwy. 

Lil Dave went to go meet up with his hermit cousin Davoff in Conwy.  Davoff doesn’t really keep in touch with most of the monkey family since he likes to keep to himself.  Señor Dave managed to get a hold of him and let him know that Lil Dave would be in North Wales.  They were going to take a monkey tour and hang out in Caernarfon.

Ivan and I really wanted to try Welsh rarebit.  I thought it had meat in it, but it’s actually just cheese and toast and other ingredients. 

We found Pen-Y-Bryn Tea Rooms which served Welsh rarebit.  Ivan and I shared the Welsh rarebit and a  jacket potato with baked beans.  The Welsh rarebit was on brown bread.

Welsh rarebit

It was really quite tasty.  Ivan and I both don’t like yellow mustard.  But, Dijon mustard can be quite nice mixed with something good like cheese.  I was reading about Welsh rarebit and it seems dry mustard is used in most recipes.

We walked to the waterfront.  Aunt Carol told us about the smallest house in Britain and it was here. 

Ivan in front of The Smallest House in Great Britain

It was really tiny and consisted of two rooms with the bedroom being upstairs.

We walked to Conwy Castle which was a lot bigger than Caernarfon Castle. 

Ivan and the sitting man

It’s not as nice inside as I found the Caearnarfon Castle.  It’s still great to walk around though.

Jen at Conwy Castle

The King’s Room was really cool with a big wire King right above.

Wire King

It’s cool to go up to one of the towers and get a terrific view of Conwy. 

View from Conwy Castle

It was a shame about the gloomy weather.  We went up to the Chapel Tower and enjoyed the view of the castle and the town.

View of Conwy Castle from The Chapel Tower

Ivan and I hopped in the car headed to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.  I fell asleep while Ivan was driving. 

We arrived at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch train station which is the longest train station name in the world.  This sign shows how it’s pronounced. 

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch train station sign

I tried to say it, but I don’t’ think I did a very good job of it.  Go here, if you howant to hear how it’s pronounced.  I hope I never have to repeat it 5 times fast for a contest.

We stopped by the train station’s shop.  Ivan and I bought a bottle of mead.  We headed back to the car.  Took a swig of the mead which was sweet.  We thought it would taste better served cold.

Ivan drove us back to Caernarfon where we relaxed in the b&b.

Later that night, we headed out to find a restaurant for dinner.  We didn’t know that most of the restaurants close at 9 pm.  Ivan found a chippy (fish & chips shop) that makes the best fish and chips in Wales.  We walked there, but it didn’t look very exciting.

We stopped at Tafarn & Porthole Wetherspoon’s for dinner.  Ivan and I each got a superfood whole wheat pesto pasta with chicken.  The pasta was good and it went well with the Toffee Apple cider.

06/28/13
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Wales

I woke up at 11 am on Jun 28, 2013.  Ivan was already using the internet.  We packed everything up.  I brought the luggage down while Ivan went to grab lunch at Tesco Express.

We left the hotel and headed for the car park.  Ivan started driving us to Wales at 12:20 pm. 

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It was another overcast, gloomy day in Liverpool.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I ate our lunch in the car.

Lil Dave read his book Monkey Flies the World while I worked on the blog.

Our car went into a tunnel and we were underwater for a few minutes.  Very cool.  It started raining when we reached Wales. 

Ivan called his Uncle Alan to let him know that we were about 45 minutes away from his place.  He lives on a farm in Anglesey with his wife Carol. 

Ivan met Uncle Alan and we followed him to his house since it’s not listed on the GPS.

Alan came to our car to say hello.  Ivan’s highlight of visiting Uncle Alan & Aunt Carol’s farm was riding on the tractor.  He thought the field was huge as a kid, but now it seemed really small.  It was still a decent size, but as a kid things seem so much bigger than they actually are.. probably since we’re much smaller.

We went inside the house and sat in the living room with Uncle Alan and Aunt Carol.  Uncle Alan has a strong scouse (Liverpool) accent.  Aunt Carol has an accent, but not the same kind of Liverpool accent.  I do realize now that Ivan’s dad Ken does still have a bit of his Liverpool accent still.

Aunt Carol made us tea and brought out a plate of lemon cake and carrot cake.  The cakes tasted lovely with the tea.  We talked about Las Vegas, travelling and the farm. 

Uncle Alan and Aunt Carol have the two cutest white golden retrievers. 

Cute white Golden Retrievers

Ivan asked if we could play with them in the back garden.  Aunt Carol said it was fine, but they’ll jump on you.  That’s fine.  One of the dogs kept jumping on me.  I just made sure she didn’t knock me down.  The dogs looked similar except one had more golden hair and a kinder face.  The dogs went mental when we came to play with them.  But, their excitement died down quickly and then they were really calm and didn’t seem to want to play anymore.

Ivan playing with Elsa

Ivan kept throwing balls and toys at Elsa and she would grab it, but go inside with it.  Holly seemed hungry and didn’t want to play.  Both of the dogs are so very sweet and love being petted. 

Ivan and I went outside to check out the animals with Uncle Alan.  He showed us the chickens, ducks, cows, bulls, guinea fowls and two animals that looked like ostriches. 

Animals on the farm

We couldn’t see the pigs since it’s too muddy.  We even got a chance to see guinea fowl baby chicks.  So cute!

Guinea fowl baby chicks

Uncle Alan told us about Cemaes and Bull Bay.  Ivan’s Dad Ken said that his family would visit Bull Bay for their holiday.

Ivan told Uncle Alan and Aunt Carol that we would be back in an hour.  Ivan drove us to Cemaes and we walked around the sleepy little village which was really, really quiet. 

Me & Lil Dave at Cemaes Harbor

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked along Cemaes Harbor.

It was off to Bull Bay next.  Bull Bay was another cute little sleepy village.  Ivan and I needed the loo, but the public restroom was locked already. 

Ivan said we should go to the pub for a drink.  We went to the pub inside The Bull Bay Hotel.  We used the toilet and then we drank our whiskey. 

Ivan drove us back to Uncle Alan & Aunt Carol’s farm.  I changed my shirt since we were going to a nice restaurant soon.  It was the same restaurant that they took Ivan’s parents to when they visited last year. 

We followed Uncle Alan in our car to Tre-Ysgawen Hall Country House shortly before 7:30 pm.  Ivan thought about staying here, but it was expensive.  It’s a beautiful place,

Uncle Alan and Aunt Carol went inside Noelle’s Bar and we followed them.  It reminded me and Ivan of our friend Noelle in Las Vegas. 

One of the staff brought over drinks for Uncle Alan and Aunt Carol without them ordering since they’re regulars.  Ivan asked Aunt Carol what she got and she said a sherry.  Ivan ordered us two sherries.  The sherry was good, but probably not something I’d order often.

Aunt Carol told us that the hotel used to be run by a family.  It was taken over by a millionaire widow.  She bought it in memory of her late daughter who was named Noelle.  She says that the money raised from the hotel pays the staff and then the rest goes to charity.  Uncle Alan says she bought it just to have a place to stay.  It would be nice to be that rich. 

A waiter brought us menus.  It was a 5 course meal.  Uncle Alan said the portions weren’t that big.  For some reason, I knew we would probably be stuffed at the end of the meal.

A waitress let us know that our table was ready.  We went into Noelle’s Restaurant for dinner.

Noelle's Restaurant

Everybody got a green vegetable soup to start off with.  Next, Ivan and I shared a seared smoked salmon salad with asparagus and a poached egg and a fried mackerel fillet with a seared scallop.  Both appetizers were really tasty.

Our main courses came out next. 

Chicken on risotto

Ivan and I shared the spicy chicken with vegetable risotto and a pesto Panko crusted salmon.  Both dishes were good, but not amazing.

Our smiley waitress brought everybody a small shot glass filled with lovely strawberry sorbet. 

Dessert was up next.  Ivan and I got an almond panna cotta with chocolate ice cream and a lemon tart. 

Lemon tart for dessert

The lemon tart was delicious.  There was too much cream on top of the panna cotta, so it was pretty sweet.  I took out the cream and mixed the chocolate ice cream with the almond panna cotta and it tasted alright.

We went to The Library for tea and sweets. 

The Library

Ivan and I were so stuffed from dinner.  We still managed to have tea and share two macarons.  I don’t think I could ever say no to a macaron since they’re usually so yummy. 

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We chatted for awhile in the beautiful library. 

Everybody went outside.  Ivan and I thanked Uncle Alan and Aunt Carol for dinner and we also said good-bye.  They told us that we could always come stay with them in their caravan which actually has heating in it.  It was the big caravan that we saw earlier today on the farm.  It was a lovely spending time with them chatting and having a great meal together.  It’s always nice to meet more of Ivan’s family.

Ivan drove us to Caernarfon which was 25 minutes away.  We checked in to Abel’s House Bed & Breakfast.  Our room has nice country décor.  We all used the internet for awhile before it was time for bed.

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