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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Another Week in Wales: Day Four

criccieth-castle, snowdonia, north-wales, travel

Day one: Aberystwyth

Day two: Barmouth

Day three: Porthmadog, via Portmeirion

Day four: Y Felinheli, via a whistle-stop tour of Snowdonia

We're midway through the trip! Have you been keeping up with all my adventures? Read everything that happened on day three here.

criccieth-castle, snowdonia, north-wales, travel

A warm, bright and sunny morning greeted us, shaking off the previous day's rain. We were up early and headed down to the restaurant for breakfast. The breakfast at Yr Hen Fecws was excellent, with a wide variety of food on offer including cereals, fruit, yoghurt, tea, coffee, fruit juice, and a variety of hot breakfast options. I started the day with a fruit salad followed by a warming bowl of porridge with blueberries - delicious!

As we were up and out so early, we headed down to Criccieth Castle, arriving just as it opened. The ruins of this historic castle sit imposingly on the clifftop, overlooking the town below on one side and the sea on the other. On a clear day, the views are fantastic - we could see for miles! We explored the castle and discovered more about its history before sitting for a while and enjoying the magnificent views out to sea.

As we headed back to the car, we decided we hadn't seen enough of Snowdonia yet, only skirting around the coast, so we decided to address the issue by going for a drive through Snowdonia. We took ourselves on a winding route through the mountains, not really going anywhere in particular but just taking in the outstanding scenery.

beddgelert, snowdonia, north-wales, travel

We stopped off in the town of Beddgelert - another place I wanted to share with my partner. We parked in the town and walked down to the river, popping into some of the arts and crafts shops we passed along the way. After persuading him that we really didn't need to buy a six-foot-tall, intricately-carved wooden dragon statue, we walked out of the town and towards Gelert's grave.

The legend of brave Gelert the dog is one that has become famous the world over, yet nowhere is it more poignant than when you visit the site of the grave itself. Humbly situated beneath a tree in the middle of a field, surrounded by mountains and nature, it's clear that this simple site is one that holds great meaning. The sad story only further adds to the air of melancholy that surrounds this place, yet it is well worth a visit and a pause to reflect.

As the day was beginning to grow shorter, we decided to spend our evening in Bangor - a city neither of us had visited before. After struggling to find somewhere to park and getting frustrated by a broken set of temporary traffic lights, we eventually parked up and went in search of food. Sadly, the whole city seemed to be dead - despite the fact we'd been told it was graduation week for students from Bangor University. In the end, we gave up and ordered a KFC which we then took down to eat while sitting on the harbour wall, trying to fend off scavenging seagulls.

beddgelert, snowdonia, travel

For the next two nights, we would be staying at Port Dinorwic Hotel and Apartments in Y Felinheli, a small place between Bangor and Caernarfon. Although it promised luxury and was the most expensive of all our accommodation choices, sadly, it wasn't able to live up to our expectations.

Our room was sparsely furnished and dated, with cheap-looking decor and a view consisting of the hedge outside the window. The bathroom was grimy and the floor appeared to be unfinished - definitely not what we had paid for.

We were offered breakfast at an additional (sky-high) price, which we declined, preferring to source our own breakfast. The Wi-Fi code didn't work on my phone - when we asked a member of staff, she didn't seem concerned, saying that they "were having trouble" with getting the Wi-Fi to work on Android phones. The leisure facilities turned out to be a small swimming pool (being used for children's swimming lessons when we visited) and the sauna was not in operation.

All in all, Port Dinorwic was by far the worst accommodation we have had on either of our Welsh holidays.

Have you ever been to Snowdonia? What's your favourite place to visit in the area? Let me know in the comments below!

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