We took it slow the morning of day five. Had a leisurely breakfast, then went to the train station. We would be heading to Conwy that day. About a month ago I’d bought our tickets (to save money). But I had gotten them to Llandudno, not Conwy. Later I would remember I did this because trains to Conwy were infrequent and tricky. But I’d forgotten about that, so when we got to the train station we went ahead and grabbed cheap tickets from Llandudno to Conwy.
We hung out in a Burger King, then headed to our platform. The train to Llandudno took us through Manchester, where we had to change. It was funny hearing the very distinct accents. The guy I ordered lunch from offered me three paninis for my camera. I politely declined. We chatted a bit about cameras while he made my sandwich. He thought I was Canadian.
Then we were on the next train (a Welsh train) and on our way again. We got some nice seats with a table this time, so we could spread out and such. Mary Cate wrote in her journal, and I managed to do a little creative writing (I know, your applause is heartening, thank you, please calm your enthusiasm, it’s embarrassing, really).
We disembarked at Llandudno. I checked the train schedule and realized we actually needed to go to Llandudno Junction (the stop before this one) in order to get to Conwy. So it was back on the same train and back one stop down. A little old Welsh lady was talking to the snack cart lady about her love affairs as a young woman, which was really hilarious and adorable.
At Llandudno Junction, we got off and asked one of the staff about the train to Conwy. We thought he said, “16:40 is the next train.” So we had a seat and waited about an hour for the 16:40 train. I assumed what he meant was the 16:46 train toward Birmingham, which was a mistake on my part. However, we amused ourselves tolerably well, making corny literature jokes and snapping pictures.
Well, at about 16:20 the guy walks by and frowns at us. “That last train was the one to Conwy,” he says. Apparently he said 14, not 40. He tells us we’ll just have to walk (about twenty minutes). I had no idea it was that close, and wished he’d told us that before we waited an hour. But even though it was close, it was looking like rain and we didn’t really want to drag our suitcases into unknown territory, potentially risking getting lost.
Once we walked out of the station, we saw a bus stop. There was a bus to Conwy set to come about twenty minutes later. So we decided to do that. We wait, and wait, and wait. About forty minutes pass. We’re now well past the time I told the B&B to expect our arrival, and both quite tired. We’ve also missed anything we could have done that had opening hours in Conwy. So we decide to go check and see how much a taxi would cost. As soon as we get to the taxi stop, we look back and, behold, the bus is at the stop—too far for us to get back to in time. We watch it go again, feeling the Curse of Transportation Woes heavily upon our shoulders.
I check with the taxi company, and find out it’s only £3 to go to Conwy. Well, that knowledge could have saved us almost two hours of time at this train station, but oh well. We have to wait a little bit for the taxi, but he arrives and we load up. He’s very friendly and humors our story of woe. Then he shows us the best view in northern Wales (according to him—but it doesn’t disappoint): Conwy Castle in the valley by the port town, with its medieval walls in the distance and the mountains on behind. The cabby chats with us about Orlando (which he visited once) and his dream of taking a few months off work to drive Route 66. He gets us to the B&B at long last, and for this we will always treasure his memory.
We were staying at Gwynfryn Bed & Breakfast, which was recommended by Rick Steve and has fantastic overall ratings and awards. A nice fellow opened the door from us, swept our luggage from our hands and walked us up to our clean, sunny, beautiful room. It was so nice to sit in the chairs, admiring the view of the castle in the distance (flying the Welsh flag proudly—no sign of the Union Jack anywhere). We rested for about an hour and a half, revealing in wireless internet and all the joys it contains.
At about six, we went in search of food. We did a brief tour of the town itself as we hunted. But we ended up in a nice Italian place that was almost next door. It was yummy.
Then we went to try to walk the wall. It took us a while to find a way up—during which we got to see the castle up close and walked a bit near the quay. At last we found a way that wasn’t blocked off. It was absolutely lovely, really high, and a bit dangerous. Mary Cate prevented me from climbing on some of the less secure towers. Alas.
Ended the evening with tea, Korra and the finale of Once Upon a Time.