North Wales / Ffestiniog Railway & Beddgelert

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

On our second day of our trip up to North Wales, Justin and I spent the morning on the Ffestiniog Railway. My father has always been involved with this narrow gauge railway (he did some volunteering on it back in the day, and has life membership) so I've done several trips on it in the past. Justin had never travelled by steam train before (shocking if you ask me, but maybe that's because I've grown up in a household where steam train trips were par for the course), so this was a brand new adventure for him.

North Wales / Portmeirion

Saturday, 16 July 2016

At the beginning of July, I left my old job and gave myself two weeks before starting my new one. In the first week, Justin and I took a trip up to North Wales (in the second week we went to Disneyland Paris - but that's for another day!). My parents and I visited North Wales a lot when I was younger, so I was excited to spend a couple of days up there with J, and hoped it would be as beautiful as I remembered. It did not disappoint. The scenery is absolutely stunning. We drove through the centre of Wales and most of our conversations revolved around how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful country.

We stayed in Porthmadog, which is just on the outskirts of Snowdonia National Park. It's a lovely little town, with two major attractions in or very close by - Portmeirion and the Ffestioniog and Welsh Highland Railways. Just before arriving in Porthmadog, we detoured via Portmeirion.

Ibiza / Spain

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

After last year's successful holiday to Greece with my girl friends, this year we decided to go to Ibiza. Georgia's friend Amy came with us too, which added an extra fun dynamic to the group. Although we loved Parga, it only had restaurants and bars. We wanted to go somewhere with some clubs as well, and Ibiza is very much a 'bucket list' place, so we took our opportunity.

Texas / Galveston [Part 6]

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

At last we're coming to the end of our epic Texas road trip! This is the sixth and final installment in the series - Galveston.

Of all of the places we visited, Galveston was probably my favourite. It had a relaxed beach vibe, mingled with touristy goodness (I'm a tourist and I'm not ashamed to admit that!) and felt a lot safer than many of the other places we'd visited. A lot of this probably has to do with the amount of cruises that come and go from the port, which was really interesting. My mother managed to get us a hotel that had a view of the cruise terminals, so when we opened the curtains both mornings we were there, there was a cruise ship right outside!

St David's

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

To celebrate 6 months of being together, Justin and I went on a 2 night trip down to West Wales in May. We stayed in Pembroke Dock, and visited St David's, which is Britain's smallest city. The cathedral is the resting place of St David, the patron saint of Wales, and proved an excellent shelter from the rain that was off and on throughout the day!

Texas / Houston [Part 5]

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Our fourth and final big Texas city of our road trip was Houston. We stayed on the outskirts of the city, in more of a business area, so were only in the main centre for one day. Although I enjoyed Houston more than Dallas, there were still parts that gave me a distinctly uncomfortable feeling.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

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My boyfriend Justin and I work in the same place doing the same job, so it's unusual for us to get a day off together. When we do have a day off together we often end up having an errands day, but we try and fit in fun days out too. We went down to Ogmore-By-Sea recently. It was an overcast day, but luckily it didn't rain so we were able to frolic freely.

Texas / San Antonio [Part 4]

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Until we visited San Antonio, I had absolutely no idea that it is the second largest city in Texas (it's bigger than both Dallas and Austin), and is the seventh largest city in the United States. All I'd heard of San Antonio was the Alamo and the Riverwalk, neither of which were anything like I expected them to be.

Texas / LBJ National Historical Park / Gruene [Part 3]

Thursday, 26 May 2016

As I've previously mentioned, I'm a bit of an American history nerd. So visiting presidential homes is up there on Emma's List of Favourite Places to Visit on an American Road Trip (I have never made this list; it's hypothetical purely for the sake of emphasising a fact). We've done Andrew Jackson's Hermitage, George Washington's Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

This time we skipped forward over a century to visit the home of Lyndon B. Johnson while we were in his homestate. It was a National Park, too, and those are also on Emma's List of Favourite Places to Visit on an American Road Trip, so this was like a double whammy of American history goodness.

(as you can probably tell from these pictures, we like to take pictures with signs that tell us where we are. Good bookends, you know?)

Texas / Fort Worth / Austin [Part 2]

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Continuing my tale of my roadtrip around Texas with my parents, after we left Dallas we went onto Fort Worth. On our way there we visited Southfork Ranch, which was the exterior filming location for the 1970s/80s TV show Dallas. I've never actually seen the show - I only really know its place in pop culture because of the whole 'who shot JR' storyline. My parents, it seems, watched it religiously so they were very excited - it was one of the definite Must Dos on our planning list. There was a lot of reminiscing about forgotten storylines and characters during the visit!

Despite my not fully 'getting' it, it was fun to get to visit an actual Texas ranch, and the lady who ran our tour was very informative and enthusiastic, so that definitely helped.

Texas / Dallas [Part 1]

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Since 2004, my parents and I have been going on road trips around the United States. Back in 2004 we started with a tour of the Deep South, and since then we've done a whole host of areas of America.

Last September/October it was the turn of Texas. We'd all wanted to do Texas for a long time, so we were excited to finally get around to doing it. We went to so many places that I'm not even going to attempt to fit the whole trip into one post, so I'm going to do a series of Texas posts.

Today we'll start at the beginning with Dallas, which was our first point on the trip.

Chatsworth House

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

As I mentioned in this post, my university friends and I are all spread across the country so we don't get to see each other on too regular a basis. Luckily, the wonders of WhatsApp means we can all talk and arrange meet ups, which are notoriously difficult to sort out because everyone leads such busy lives (the joys of adulthood!). But when we do manage to arrange something, it's so much fun. Most recently, we met up (sadly minus two of the group) in Derby and stayed with Kate.

Pontneddfechan Waterfalls

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

This is one of my favourite days out I've ever done. Definitely Top 10 (please don't ask me to actually make the list. It's more of a hypothetical list than a real thing). It was one of those days where the weather is perfect for what you're doing, and what you're doing would be pretty great even done in the rain (well ...).

After our successful trip to Rhosilli Bay, Chris and I decided to continue exploring what South Wales has to offer. He'd heard about a waterfall trail in the Brecon Beacons and I loved the idea, so on a gloriously warm sunny day (this was summer last year, I should add!) we set off in search of a watery adventure.

We managed to find the car park with a visitors centre more easily than anticipated, which is always a good start. Although it was hot, I put on my wellies because I try to take any excuse to wear them that I can. It turned out to be an excellent idea. Chris only had trainers on and they were very very wet by the end of our expedition!

Before we even came to any waterfalls we found an area of river with water low enough to just wade through, and climb over rocks. We spent a while there walking along taking photos before we realised we should probably find a waterfall!

The first waterfall that we came across was a fantastic tall thin one that cascaded from a rock above, which we later went onto. This waterfall had a path that ran behind it so of course we had to go along the path and get soaked. The water was so cold that it was literally breath-taking! It was such an exhilarating and fun experience. You always see pictures of people going through waterfalls in exotic locations, but that we could do it here in South Wales somehow added an extra thrill and pleasure to the experience.

Chris decided to swim from the waterfall back to the path, but I stuck to dry(ish) land!

We passed several more waterfalls along the trail - some of them large and plummeting down below us, while others came from above and crashed down onto the river that we were walking alongside. It hadn't rained for quite a while so we were able to walk along the river in several places.

At one point Chris decided to push me, just lightly, but I slipped and ended up far deeper in the water. The rocks beneath were slippery so I flailed about for what felt like ages while I shouted at Chris to pull my bag out of the water so that my phone didn't get damaged! Eventually I managed to regain my balance and pull myself up and out of the water - with a bleeding knee and wellies filled with water. Once I'd ascertained that my phone was fine I was able to laugh about the situation - but only once I'd seen that my phone was alive! I actually still have the scar on my knee as a memento of the day. Thanks Chris.

Interested in visiting Pontneddfechan and doing the waterfalls trail? The best place to start is the Brecon Beacons Waterfalls Centre - the car park for the centre doubles as the one for the trail, and the centre provides some information about how waterfalls form, as well as maps of the area. And of course, there's the all important toilets just across the road as well!

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