Show Your World: Snowdonia

Fellow blogger Tiny Expat’s series Show Your World invites you to post about a place that you have visited, whether it be close to home or a distant destination. A few months from now I figure I’ll have plenty of “exotic” destinations to post about, whether it be South African safaris, Namibian deserts or Mozambique beaches. So I thought I would show off a place a little closer to home, but a place that’s just as worth visiting. It may not have the guaranteed sunshine or the wild animals but there’s still plenty to recommend about Snowdonia.

Best known as the home to Wales’ tallest mountain, Mount Snowdon, Snowdonia has become a magnet for adventure tourists wanting to climb the mountain, canoe, kayak, rockclimb or just walk in the surrounding area. We were actually there for my husband to zoom down the zipwire at Zipworld, apparently the longest zipwire in the country:

Can you see him?

Can you see him?

But while we were there we took the opportunity to soak up the gorgeous scenary

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Which included a walk up the Great Orme of Llandudno on a stunning blue day

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History seeps from the veins of Wales and round every corner we found a castle. Here is the castle at Conwy, a beautiful example of what so many of the now-ruined fortresses would once have looked like

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DSCF1421castle

Finally on the last day, we went deep into the forest for a tree-top adventure which, I think, was the highlight of the holiday for our two daughters:

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show your world

My Travel Monkey

Show Your World: Broadway Tower

One of our favourite places to visit within an easy drive of our home is Broadway in Worcestershire. Although it’s a little “chocolate boxy”, the pretty Cotswolds village has everything you need for a good day out: a fantastic playpark, lovely cafes and the view from Broadway Tower.

broadway tower

The tower is what is known in this country as a “folly” – in other words something that doesn’t appear to have any real use. It was built more than 200 years ago for Lady Coventry who apparently wanted to find out whether a beacon on top of the hill could be seen from her house in Worcester. She had the tower constructed and found out that indeed, it could. The tower has since been used for a number of things, including as a home for the great Victorian artist William Morris. Today, you can pay to climb the tower if you like – but we prefer to walk on the hill and then have coffee and cake afterwards in the superb nearby cafe.

As an aside, there is also a nuclear bunker constructed into the hill by the tower. We have never visited it – perhaps we’ll get round to it before we leave for South Africa. If not, it’ll still be there when we return – I am assuming, being a place of safety during armageddon, it’s pretty much indestructible.

This post is part of Tiny Expat’s Show Your World series.

show your world

Show Your World: The Sculpture Trail

This weekend, the first weekend of spring, we spent as much time outdoors as possible. It’s still chilly and the new buds are only just starting to push through the soil, but there is definitely a change in the air. The mornings are lighter, there’s a smell of new growth on the wind and the lambs are starting to appear alongside their mothers in the meadows.

We chose to try out a walk in the Forest of Dean, about a half an hour drive from our house. The Forest has an old world quality to it, parts of the wood feel like nothing has changed since Henry VIII’s time and you half expect to see a tudor hunting party rampage its way between the ancient trees. But in the end it was just us, a few other walkers and cyclists, and the peace of the English country side.

Ancient tree

We spent about two hours walking the trail, which incudes more than a dozen sculptures by artists interpreting the local countryside. It made for a more enjoyable walk, spotting each sculpture as we made our way along the muddy paths. But we also took the time to stop every so often and just listen. Once the sounds of the children laughing and whining (there was both!) died away, we realised there was a gentle cacophony of birdsong creating a layer of noise – a noise that would have been the constant backdrop of sound to the people of ancient tudor times.

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Further along the way we came into an area dominated by fir trees. Here, the sound changed again to one of the wind in the trees, sounding all the world like the rain on a roof or the sea crashing on a beach. It’s funny how nature can disguise itself if it wants to.

scary trees

Not fir trees – but I loved the shapes these branches made against the sky. The stuff of nightmares!

We took the short cut back to the start, where we sat down in the cafe for a welcome lunch, feeling we deserved it after our long walk. The sounds of the forest were once again drowned out by children’s voices and dogs barking.

This post was my contribution to Tiny Expat’s Show Your World weekly blog event.

show your world