08.07.2009 - 13.07.2009
We set off across the Severn Bridge [shocked at having to pay the expensive toll of £10] to Cardiff, where we had a camp-site in the centre of town next to the stadium where the Ashes cricket was being played. Of course the camp-site was full of rival Aussies and Brits, and we were lucky to even get a site. The walk into town was through a lovely garden alongside the river Taff.
We drove through the Brecon Beacons nature reserve, hoping to find a camp-site near Brecon, but they were all full. We then pushed on for a couple more hours to the coast, just north of Aberystwyth. The site was sloping so much we needed several wooden blocks to prop up the front wheels so that we didn't slide out of bed!
The campsite was called Ocean View, but we didn't think much of the view!
We explored the seafront promenade of Aberystwyth,
found a beautiful pub-front in town
and admired the war memorial with a lady arising from the ashes.
From there we visited Aberaeron, where the streets are lined with Georgian houses painted in pretty colours, which makes a pleasant change from all the grey and brown stone of so many British towns.
The goal was to sample the famous honey ice-cream on the quay, which was good!
We pushed north again, landing up in Porthmadog, and having to stay in a cheap, but crappy camp site, as the others were full. It was raining heavily by now and "cabin-fever" was starting to develop seriously. We couldn't wait to get to Scotland where a week in our friends' empty house with a clean, hot bath awaited us.
The next day found us in the walled town of Conwy on the north coast of Wales. After a rip-off pub lunch, we walked on the quayside in the sun and found the smallest house in Britain.
We didn't visit the castle, but were intrigued with this enormous crack in the town wall. Apparently when the Victorian engineers tunnelled under the wall to build the train line, it appeared, and in spite of the best engineering efforts has remained to this day!
We had a long, four hour drive to the Lake District, where we overnighted near Kendal. Here we decided to join the Camping and Caravan Club to save on site fees in future.
We headed for the nearby Windermere lake, stopping in Bowness-on-Windermere to look at the swans fighting each other off their cygnets.
Lots of holidaymakers about already and the English schools aren't even out yet! On the other side of the lake we visited Hilltop cottage, the home and garden of Beatrix Potter.
We almost caught a glimpse of Peter Rabbit under the flower pots!
Sandi took lots of photos of the flowers that Beatrix loved and grew in her garden.
We had to wait an hour for our timed-entry to the cottage, so what better way to kill time than to enjoy a pint of the local beer in the sun outside a cute pub, admiring the view?
We looked across the street to this house,
where we found "Mr Macgregor" basking in the sun.
The rain came down again, and we had another four hour drive to Livingston, where we had the luxury of Estralita and Bernie's house all to ourselves for the next week. How nice it is to have space, a clean bathroom and a modern kitchen in which to unwind. Even though the weather was unsettled for most of the time, it was wonderful to have the time to sort ourselves out, and catch up with the Travel blog; like a holiday within a holiday!