Mouthfuls and endless sands

It’s not often that a place name is in itself a tourist attraction, but this one is an exception to the rule!

The tongue twisting town of Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch is a regular photo stop for people in Anglesey!

The long form of the name, with 58 characters split into 18 syllables, is the longest place name in Europe and the second longest one-word place name in the world. (according to Wikipedia!)

The improbably long name translates as – The church of St. Mary Llanfair of the pool of the white hazels near the fierce whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio of the red cave. . . phew!

From a mouthful of letters to a endless stretch of golden sands – we might not be on foreign shores, but we’re certainly getting some beach action!

Newborough Warren is one of the largest dune systems in Britain.

The dunes, coastal marshes, sandy and rocky shores have been whipped into shape over thousands of years by the wind and sea.

The beautiful sandy nature reserve is crisscrossed with walkways, paths and places to explore.

As well as stunning views there are lots of fuzzy critters to spot including red squirrels and furry husbands in their natural environment.

I’m husband stalking . . . . . through the dunes and towards the glorious blue seas.

We have time to explore over to the small tidal island of Ynys Llanddwyn that is accessible when the tide goes out.

Llanddwyn Island is also known as ‘Lover’s Island’ and is named for St. Dwynwen.

Dwynwen lived during the 5th century AD and was one of 24 daughters of St. Brychan, a Welsh prince of Brecon.

She fell in love with a young man named Maelon, but rejected his advances. She prayed to be released from the unhappy love and dreamed that she was given a potion to do this.

She then retreated to Llanddwyn Island to follow the life of a hermit. Dwynwen became known as the patron saint of lovers and pilgrimages were made to her holy well on the island.

The island is near the southern entrance to the Menai Strait and was important as shipping of slate from the ports of Bangor, Caernarfon and Felinhelli increased.

A beacon – Tŵr Bach – was built at the tip of the island to provide guidance to ships heading for the Strait.

There are four adjoining small cottages on Llanddwyn Island that were built around 1900 for the pilots who were employed to assist boats navigate into the ports along the Menai Strait.

These feel like some of the most isolated dwellings I have ever seen!

About to zip

We’ve reached the top of the mountain and we’re waiting to be hoisted up and then kicked out!

It’s all getting a little bit real now . . . but too late to back out!

I am next in line! And it looks REALLY high up from here!

AND HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

We did it! Utterly awesome – just no where near long enough!

Heading for the big one!

We’ve done the little one – now we’re heading up the mountain towards the big one!

It’s a very bumpy ride up to the mountain summit in the rather uncomfortable buggies . . .

Then we get our first glimpse of the actual launch pad! GULP!!

That rather ungainly appendage on my head is for the camera to capture my every reaction!!! . . . and here it is – the launch hut!!

Flying high

The older I get the more I realise I might be a little bit of an adrenalin junkie! Whether it’s zipping up the river Kwai on a James Bond style boat to riding the waves in a rickety speedboat in Phuket.

So it’s with a great deal of excitement that we approach our next pulse racing adventure – ziplining!!

We’re about to experience the fastest zip line in the world!

Located in Penrhyn Quarry we’ll be travelling at speeds of up to 100 mph with stunning views of Snowdonia.

There’s several experiences to try out but the hubby has plumped for Velocity 2 – a 1.5 kilometre zip line.

You start off on a smaller ‘test’ line to get your zip legs as it were. Here’s some hardy souls trying it out!

Here’s the hubby heading up towards the little trial zip! We’re trussed up like turkeys – I imagined us soaring like eagles but I am feeling a little more like a stuffed chicken!

And here we can see first hand how you get hoisted into place before plunging into the abyss!!

Castles and colours

Caernarfon is a royal town and port in Gwynedd, Wales on the eastern shore of the Menai Strait, opposite the Isle of Anglesey.

There’s a stately castle that sits above the town which was constructed between 1283 and 1330 by King Edward I.

The Edwardian town and castle was the administrative centre of north Wales, and as a result the castle defences were built on a grand scale.

It’s a nice little town to explore for a few hours, or as a base to explore the local area.

The Travelodge is ideally located near the water edge.

Last look

Brace yourself for the last photo dump of the magical Portmeirion! A riot of colour and architectural whimsy.

This magical little place is well worth spending a few hours in. In fact you can easily while away a whole day if you try hard enough!

As well as the village itself there are extensive gardens and woodlands to lose yourself in – a welcome shady escape from the scorching August heat!

Beach life

Still here in Portmeirion – so many things to take a gazillion photos of. So enjoy this photo dump!

But Portmeirion is not just a rainbow clustered heap of architectural joy – oh no! It also boasts a rather impressive beach too!

Just look at that view! (and i am not talking about that hunk of man meat either)

You’d be hard pressed not to think that this beach is on some sunny foreign shore, but nope. it is still Wales!

This is the sandy beach of the Dwyryd Estuary estuary at Portmeirion and it stretches as far as the eye can see when the water recedes.

Colour continues

Yeap, this is indeed the third post about Portmeirion! I’m afraid if whimsical, colourful architecture offends you then look away now!

Like a little hobbit town, or child’s plaything, this compact little village sprawls across several levels, never quite displaying all its wares at once.

You have to climb stairs, peer around corners, crane your heads upwards and explore every little nook and cranny!

You can stay in these sumptuously sorbet coloured houses! In fact if you look closely at the one on the far left you can spot two lucky people enjoying a panoramic view from their private balcony.

There’s 32 apartments in the actual village itself and you can find out more on line here.

Portmeirion Village provided the backdrop for the 1960’s cult classic series, The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan.

Its candy coloured backdrop provided a perfect contrast to the rather sombre themes of the programme in which an unnamed British spy is abducted and imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village, where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job

But as open air prisons go, this one is really rather pretty so we’d be quite happy to be held captive for a few days at least!

Plus there is quite delicious sustenance on offer too! I think i might be able to squeeze out one more post about this place before calling it quits!

Rainbow bright

We’re still in Portmeirion for this post and the next . . and probably the next too as it is just a magical little place.

The weather is out of this world – roasting hot and scorching sun. Wales is not really sure what is happening!

Using an eco-friendly approach Clough William-Ellis designed his architectural vision around a Mediterranean piazza.

Endangered buildings and unwanted artefacts from all over the world were rebuilt on site to create a hybrid mishmash of architectural styles including loggias, grand porticoes and tiny rainbow bright houses.

The village was a labour of love and was built over two phases. Between 1926 – 1939 and 1954 – 1976. By this time the dedicated architect was well into his 90s!

While the village itself is actually quite compact, the use of slopes, archways and varied windows and colours make it seem far larger.

You can climb up into the woodlands around the village in order to get some truly stunning panoramic views – you can hardly believe that this is in Wales!

I think I’m going to have to do at least one more post on this! Sorry / not sorry . . .

Perfect Portmeirion

I’ve been keen to head back to our next colourful port of call for years after visiting as a school girl years ago.

We’re visiting the whimsical village of Portmeirion which is crammed full of random architecture collected from across Europe.

Portmeirion was created by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1976. His aim was to show how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it.

Portmeirion village is well known as the location for the 1960s cult TV series The Prisoner.

It is an eye popping cluster of rainbow washed buildings around a central piazza, scenic surroundings and extensive woodlands.

The idea of creating a tightly knit, attractive coastal village had been dreamt of by Clough Williams-Ellis long before he found the site.

I am in seventh heaven so there will be at least one more colour packed post about this quirky little village!