Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 8 – Holyhead & Conwy Castle: Exciting to See!

            Lin and I woke up on July 28, 2019 to a rainy day of drizzle and clouds. It wasn’t that bad but set the atmosphere for the day. This was our only port in Wales, and we were headed to Conwy Castle!

            I loved the drive through the countryside and the small towns, and again we had a fantastic tour guide, Sara. The roof lines in the cities fascinated me with chimneys and angles, and then what did I see—a McDonald’s sign! Again, sheep grazed lazily in luscious verdant pastures in the countryside.

A unique sight on the drive along the coast caught my attention, a beautiful cottage on an island,

“Ynys Gorad Goch, Private Island Coastal Cottage, Menai Straits, Anglesey.


            Back at home, Lin and I had researched, and Conwy Castle was our first choice for this port, but when we booked our excursions, it was sold out because of its popularity, so we went ahead and booked a tour to Penrhyn Castle & Gardens. Our Norwegian cruise line agent told us to go to the Excursion desk as soon as we got onboard to see if we could change tours. To our amazement, they created another tour to Conwy Castle, and we made it easily!

As we came into Conwy, the street views captivated me—so I took several photos. Sailboats drifted lazily in the bay along the road.

First View of Conwy Castle

As I first saw Conwy Castle, it didn’t look the same as the pictures on the Norwegian excursion website, but quickly I saw the beautiful setting. The touring of Conwy castle was awesome. When I wended my way up one of the towers, the small steps and dark staircase concerned me about possibly falling. A wonderful young man from Florida helped me by using the flashlight on his iPhone. I never thought of using mine because I had trouble accessing it on my iPhone 7. With his help, I didn’t fall.

We went through the many parts of the castle: West Barbican, the Northwest Tower, Great Hall, Prison Tower, and Inner Drawbridge. We saw a well 91 feet deep that still has water in it.

A seagull with an attitude

On top of the towers, we had breath-taking vistas of the castle, the city and the bay. Three bridges connect Conwy Castle to the city: a highway, a walking bridge and a suspension bridge. The seagulls entertained us on one tower with their insistent nature.

When we finished the castle tour, we enjoyed part of a walking tour Conwy with Sara. We stopped at St. Mary’s & All Saints church and saw an unusual grave sign, “We are seven” which referenced a Wordsworth poem:

At one point on the tour, Lin and I quit to stop at an ice cream shop, the Parisella Ice Cream Parlor. Lin loves his ice cream and had to sample Welsh ice cream. I had Welsh Honey and Honeycomb ice cream that was beyond delicious. We had a delightful break visiting with a multi-generational family from Florida and enjoying our treat.

Street view of Conwy

Conwy’s streets fascinated me!

After the ice cream parlor, we stopped at a souvenir shop, Conwy Gift Shop. Our time was running out. Lin still had part of his double or triple scoop of ice cream, so he couldn’t go inside, so I went into the shop and scouted out possible souvenirs. I ended up buying bright red polo shirts with the colorful Wales’ flag on it for both of us.

Leaving Conwy, I took this picture of the Llewellyn the Great statute:

“This is a statue of Llewellyn the Great, grandfather of Prince Llewellyn, the last native Prince of Wales, who led the people of the mountains of Snowdon against Edward the 1st of England and swept the English from Wales in 1256. This statue stands in the town square of Conwy, North Wales.”

On the trip back to the ship, we went through the city with the longest name, the tour guide said, Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch

 After researching it, I found:

“The long form of the name, with 58 characters split into 19 syllables, is the longest place name in Europe and the second longest official one-word place name in the world.”

            Here’s the translation of the name:

When we got back to the Holyhead pier, we looked for shops to continue our souvenir shopping but didn’t find much. Boarding the ship was quite a trick: the tide was way down, so we had to crawl onboard! Being short, it wasn’t that difficult for me, but the taller people had quite a time!

Then we had fun taking promotional photos for our 2020 New Mexico Square and Round Dace Association festival. First, we tried to take one from our cabin through the window, but it didn’t work, so I went out to the pier and took one.

When we got back on board, we ate a light lunch, took a nap, woke at 5:00 pm, dressed up for once and ate dinner at Windows, one of the nicer restaurants. After dinner, we went to the Excursion desk to talk about our next port—Dublin. Also, I bought two deposits for future cruised and saved $250 off of my onboard bill.

We had some time before the 9:00 pm show, so we gambled in the casino and had a fun time—not winning millions but I stayed ahead. The evening show was the “Beatles Invasion” and it was great!

Our next port excited both of us—Dublin which is our favorite city! Lin and I had spent several days there two years ago and were looking forward to our two day return on this trip! So, next week it’s Dublin!

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