“Go to Wales.” That’s what my Scottish bestie said when I told him I had a few days gap between Italy and Ireland to fill. He’d taken the train before to Holyhead and Ferry to Dublin and said the trip was really beautiful. He especially loved reading (or well, trying to read) the sign posts of the towns as you entered Wales.
What I knew about Wales? The people there like to sing (a lot) and entertainer Tom Jones (who my high school boyfriend’s mother went gaga for) was Welsh. I’ve seen a few TV shows and films (Hinterland, The Indian Doctor, The man who went up a hill and came down a mountain) filmed there, but other than that I hadn’t a clue what to expect in Wales, so YES, that would be a great place for me to go and have a solo adventure~
How I got there. Finding a reasonable flight from Naples to Wales wasn’t as easy as I expected, but with a little searching I found two really reasonable options. One was to fly to Nottingham and take the train to Holyhead or fly into Liverpool and take the train. Since I love music and the Beatles were a big influence and there was a Beatles themed hotel called
Hard Day’s Night was having a deal of 100 sterling per night, I opted for Liverpool. It was also really easy to walk to the train station from the hotel. I arrived mid evening, so before calling it a night, I took a walk around the neighborhood, walked to the station, bought my ticket and popped into a nightclub next door where a musician was playing Beatles tunes and everyone was buzzedly singing along.
Up early and off I went. I’ll admit the train station was a little confusing as far as which platform to be on and what part of the train to get on, but once I was settled in it was comfortable and I was eager to experience the “twee” journey.
Slowly, but surely the scenery changed and signage from the easily readable “Chester” to the virtually unrecognizable town name of “Llanfairpwllgwyngyll”…
From the station it was a small drag up the hill and around the bend, past the shops, the bank and the butcher to the home for the next couple night, The Stanley Arms. A pub with simple, but comfortable accommodations above it.
The next morning I rented a bike from CycleWales and headed out to see what I could find. I stopped for breakfast at a charming little B&B and tried a veggie sausage roll and ordered a sandwich for the road. I made it as far as the beautiful South Stack Lighthouse before running out of steam and turning back.
I was about to call it a day when I remembered the owner of the B&B telling me about the “Safe House.” A location not far from town where they filmed a television show by the name. I found out lated from the Inn keeper that it was also the filming location for a version of Wuthering Heights. I love film, I love riding a bike (especially and electric one), so off I sent. Later, over another great steak (that town has the best butcher shop~) I looked up the show. It wasn’t yet available to stream in the US, but I did notice Christopher Eccleston (Dr. Who) is in it. I love Dr. Who, ergo I’m sure I’ll at the very least, like Safe House. I looked it up again as I was writing this travel blogs months after (grasping to remember details) and voila…it’s now available via the STARZ added feature on Amazon Video.
It was such an easy journey to get to Holyhead and from there to Dublin that I thought, this should be an added stop whenever I made it to Ireland. It really is a beautiful area with a personality all its own.
Wales is wild and windswept and full of genuine, friendly people who are glad to meet you, as long as you don’t call ’em British 😉 .