We finally made our escape!
After the fierce winds of Monday, when the tail end of the hurricane named Ophelia found its way across the Atlantic to the UK, Wednesday dawned bright and clear. Was that a hint of the rising sun peeping between the leaves of the trees?
With computer switched off and plans made, we headed down the A55 Expressway to Llandudno on the North Wales coast. It is some time since we have visited this timeless seaside town with its wide curved bay lined with Victorian/Edwardian hotels; the bay is backed by the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance. That great rock jutting out to sea called Great Orme was unchanged. The pier stretched far out to sea towards the distant windmill farm.
Our first stop, as we came out of the shopping mall under the car park, was a tea break in the upstairs cafe of the re-furbished Waterstones bookshop . I used to have book signings there in the early days before it all changed.
Strolling along the promenade, I stopped to take photos. While Allen concentrated on the map I focussed on the unbelievable fat seagull that calmly stood at the edge of the pavement. No doubt it was eyeing up unsuspecting tourists for its next 'sandwich snatch'. (This happened to us the last time we were there. I sat on a bench chatting to Allen, sandwich in one hand, when out of nowhere a seagull swooped down and snatched my sandwich out of my hand. All I felt was something bang against my head.)
We strolled along part of the pier. At least we found where the cable car station was and Allen had worked out from the map on the promenade how to get up to it in the car. Perhaps when in season? Leaning over the pier rail, I looked down at the sea crashing against the rocks and the huge wall of rock stretching away around a bend.
'Are we on the Balcon de Europa in Nerja?' I asked Allen. He laughed. The sea wasn't as calm, the sun not as strong.
Although the start of the pier was lively with the sound of music playing, further along it was all tranquillity. There are many seats along either side to rest and enjoy the gentle breeze and warm sunshine as you gaze across the vast sweep of the bay. Last time that we came, it was summer and a
perishing cold and windy day. That was the time that the seagull swooped down. We didn't walk to the far end of the pier. When you do it is as if you are far out to sea, the pier is so long.
Many of the hotels are privately owned; not all serve lunches. Having passed the famous St.George's Hotel many times we thought that this time we would see if they served a bar lunch. Perhaps in the conservatory that stretches along the front of the hotel? We were not disappointed and they even had the red carpet out for us. The sandwiches were delicious, the ambiance quiet and unhurried, the waiter service excellent. Altogether, a good choice.
As we normally decide to do, we took the scenic route back home, travelling down through the ancient and pretty town of Llanrwst that nestled in the mountains to Betws-y-Coed, the A5 old Holyhead - London route, and home.
The sea air and sunshine the best medicine of all.