Day 7 (Aberystwyth, Wales to Keswick, England)
We enjoyed one final breakfast at Bodalwyn, and had a wonderful chat with a couple from England who have been visting Bodalwyn for years. We told them we were planning to drive along and stop at castles along the north of Wales. They said, if we had only time to go in one castle, we should make it Caernarfon, as it is where they do the investiture of the Prince of Wales.
After saying our good-byes, we headed north from Aberystwyth. At first we traveled some of the same roads as we had the day before, on the way to Harlech Castle. We first stopped to take a photo of a magnificent view across the valley, just west of Aberystwyth. Crossing the mountains was beautiful, again, though not as snowy. We stopped again to take pictures of an old, narrow-gauge, steam train, taking passengers across northern Wales, and some more newborn lambs with their mothers.
We thought perhaps our faithful GPS had let us down for the first time. She had us get off the main road and take a single lane road up over a mountain - the views were great, and we saw some long-haired Highland cattle, but we couldn't believe this was the "fastest route". Well, we were worried for naught, as we came back out on a town road, heading for Caernarfon.
We turned a corner and there was the castle. The construction began in 1286 by Edward I. It was to be the best of his several Welsh castles. The castle was never fully completed, but much is finished and remains intact. The highest point is the "Eagle Tower" - a large tower, with three smaller towers atop it, and the top was adorned with statues of eagles. We were able to climb to the top of one of the three top towers. What a view!
After Caernarfon, the GPS guided us north and east along the coast, where we found Conwy castle, another Edwardian castle of the same era. Time didn't permit us to go inside, but we were able to get several nice photos from outside the castle.
From Conwy the GPS took us off the road, down some dicey back roads to -- an ice cream "farm" - a farm that makes (and sells) ice cream! We were happy to give it a try, and got a cone each. We thoroughly enjoyed the ice cream, but agreed that the ice cream at home is more flavorful. Next we went be the real reason for the detour, Beeston castle. This is an old castle, built right into the rock, high above the landscape below. Nearby, within an arrow's flight, was Peckforton Castle, which is much newer.
After the castles we got on the motorway (like a freeway in America), and headed north to the Lake District. As we approached, there were snow-capped peaks all around us. We were not able to pull off to take pictures, so Ruth shot some through the windscreen while we drove. After descending into the valley, we turned off the motorway for Keswick, and the GPS guided us right to the door of Dunsford Bed & Breakfast, where Linda and Richard greeted us warmly. They showed us to our room, chatted a bit about B&B ownership, and recommended a pub for our supper.
We walked into the quaint little town and it was immediately clear that several days would be required here. Unfortunately, doing that would mean cutting something else, so we agreed that we'll have to come back to Keswick, one day.
On our return, Linda made us a pot of decaf coffee, and we settled in for the night.