So Thursday morning we left the boys in the capable hands of my mum and set off down on our journey. First stop along the way was to Mount Snowdon, where we paid the £25 each to take the train up to the top. We did debate walking but MP is an old man and he'd have needed a week to recover, and besides, if they'd meant you to walk up it why bother building a railway!!
So in just under an hour we were at the top and the view was .............. non existent!
MP at the peak
Train now leaving .........
After making the journey back down, we made our way towards Barmouth on the west coast where we were booked into the Morwendon Guest House for the night.
What a lovely place. Built in 1926, and still containing loads of original features, over looking Cardigan bay. The room was lovely and the couple who run the place very welcoming. I would heartily recommend this if you are thinking of staying in that area.
Morwendon Guest House
A run down to Barmouth was next in search of dinner but to no avail. The bistro that was recommended was closed and I didn't fancy the menu at the pub the owners recommended so a nice walk on the beach instead.
We ended up driving 5 minutes up the road towards Llanaber and having dinner at an Italian restaurant called Tony's. Tony was obviously no more Italian than I was and spent the evening 'entertaining' the captive audience with his terrible jokes but the pizza was lovely.
After a good nights sleep and a fantastic full Welsh breakfast we set off to our next stop of Portmeirion via Pwthelli. Pwthelli was a bit of an odd place, considering it was the nearest reasonable sized town it was a bit of a let down. Still not a total disaster and there was the most gorgeous clothes shop and MP bough me a beautiful cardigan as a treat.
Mid afternoon we arrived at Portmeirion where we had booked a nights stay in the village Hotel. Oh my God, love at first sight!
Now I'd been to Portmeirion years ago but I don't think I wandered down to the hotel, just around the village itself and then not for long as the people I was with weren't really interested in it. I can't believe I waited so long to go back. This has to be one of the most amazing places I have ever been, It's stunning. One mans incredible vision turned into reality. It's like stepping back in time to the 1920's and you can almost imagine the house parties and guests spilling out onto the lawn in their stunning evening dresses and black tie. I felt like I was in the middle of an Agatha Christie book or Noel Coward play.
This place, famous as the fictional town in the 1970's TV series The Prisoner also hosted George Harrison's 50th birthday party and has entertained royalty and celebrities over the years. So I of course, felt very much at home.
After checking into the hotel and our gorgeous Art Deco bedroom, we wandered around the village taking about 100 photos each. Every step is a photo opportunity and the light was just incredible.
Our room - what used to be the servants rooms
After undertaking the costal walk a quick siesta was called for and then off to dinner at the Castell Duedrath, a Victorian mock castle and their gastro pub. Dinner was fantastic. We had drinks in the lounge and a great table in an old conservatory. MP started with a potato rosti with a poached welsh hens egg and hollandaise sauce and I had a fresh local salmon and potato cake with salted cucumber and a sauce that escapes me. Main course, MP had belly pork with pak choi, shitake mushrooms and a light soy sauce and I had the most incredible calves liver on a bed of mashed root vegetables. To go with this we had some wilted spinach, glazed carrots and dauphinoise potatoes, accompanied by a nice bottle of Voignier.
We were so stuffed we didn't have room for one of the fantastic looking puds and retired to the lounge for coffee before heading back to the hotel in the minibus.
A good nights sleep, another lovely 'full Welsh" and yet more photos, well the morning light was stunning!
Flicking through the book on Portmeirion in the room I discovered to my amazement that my favourite play of all time - Blithe Spirit was written here during one of Noel Cowards many stays here, and it's no wonder in this inspiring place that it only took 5 days to write. Of course this meant I had to find the villa he stayed in where this masterpiece was created!
The Fountain - where Blithe Spirit was penned
Sadly it was then time to leave and make our way home and this wasn't without sadness and a little tear. What a wonderful place and I will definitely be returning as soon as possible.