Our next stop after London was Conwy, Wales. I think we were a little surprised by just how much we loved this point in our trip.
Where we stayed: Byrn Guest House
Why we wanted to come: A curiosity to see what Wales was like and Rick Steves' recommendation (we relied quite a bit on Rick Steves...)
Major sights: Conwy Castle and town walls, Plas Mawr, nearby hiking trails and wild ponies!
First off, Bryn was adorable. The owners were fantastic and they run a great little B&B. Bryn is just outside the town walls and this picture is actually looking down from the wall.
That's Bryn on the left, the cute little garden and the piece of the town wall that comes up to the back yard.
I mentioned town walls...Conwy is still surrounded by an original medieval wall that protected the town from the Welsh back when it was an English colonial town. The best part is that you can still walk along the top of most of this wall!
Looking out into the hills from the wall.
Christina liked the window seats.
In this picture you can see Conwy Castle in the back center. The wall leads down to it.
It's a good thing the old gates are wide enough for a car!
Eye-level chimneys in the town as we walked along the wall.
This gate is right next to Bryn, our B&B.
We only had one full day at Conwy, but we were really happy with everything we were able to pack in!
Our first outing was a hike around the hills outside of Conwy.
I loved the contrast between the wild hills and the green pastures and houses in the valleys.
I also loved the stone fences!
And, there were wild ponies! I was so excited. Our little trail took us right past them.
"Why hello there!"
Aren't their shaggy manes cute?
About the time we saw the ponies, we also met some nice older Welsh men who encouraged us to head over to the next hill and look at the Stone Age fort that was there. So we did. We were glad to find a sign with a diagram of the fort, because we weren't entirely sure whether what we were looking at was the fort. You can see it in this picture--it's the long line of stones.
Looking down at Conwy. You can just see the castle in the center there.
We also had fun watching a sheepdog herd a flock of sheep from our bird's-eye view up on top of the hill. It was funny watching all the little white dots in the field scurry around!
Amber uses the stile at the end of the trail.
Next we checked out Conwy Castle. While I guess it's technically a ruin, it's a really well preserved castle--you can even climb up most of the towers!
Looking down from one of the towers (Amber decided that we should climb every tower that was open to be climbed).
The town had a protected waterfront with walls that went down to the shore.
A typically understated sign that I take to mean, "Use common sense--old castles can be dangerous!" We like the fact that in the UK and Ireland there seems to be less concern about liability; therefore, you can go into areas that Americans would probably have roped off.
We also went to Plas Mawr--an extremely well-preserved 16th century house.
Yet another opportunity for an audio guide tour!
Steep stairs to the tower at the top of the house.
Plas Mawr isn't the only famous house in Conwy. It also has the "smallest house in Great Britain." People can pay to go inside--we didn't, but it was fun to see!
So there's Conwy. You can probably tell how much I like it from the number pictures I took. Thanks for your patience with all of them!