Sunday, June 25, 2017

Biking in Snowdonia - Sunday

We had had rather a late night, so we slept in until quite late and only just make it down for breakfast in time - then, stuffed with hash browns and poached eggs, we took ourselves out for a morning stroll to gauge the air and the weather for the day: heading through the walled town and over the Pont-y-Aber swing bridge and out along the foreshore Road, before curiously following a buzzing camera drone back along to the Marina, there to find a horde of bare-chested, wet-suited guys being briefed for their day of ThunderCat racing. Oh my!

Our Hotel had a lovely pool, so Sir suggested we slip into our budgie-smugglers and head for a swim. I'm told that I learnt to swim way back as a wee-child at primary school, but I'm really not very confident, and rarely go near a pool unless I'm dragged there - but Sir coaxed me into the water and then turned into the best swimming coach I could ever have hoped for! He soon had me doggy-paddling, then practicing my kicks with a float - and before I knew it I was even managing a length on my back! Exhilarated but exhausted, it was then a long soak in the whirlpool and a slow cook in the sauna (forgetting that my nice padlocked metal dog-collar would get rather hot in the process...!). Feeling rejuvenated, we then pulled on our leathers and headed out for a day of touring.

Sir decided to head north along the Menai Strait, so we made a quick stop to fill up, then headed on to Bangor, and a gentle stroll along the lovely Bangor pier in the perfect sunshine. Sir brought His spy-glass, so we had fun gazing across the straits at the beautiful houses on Anglesey - picking the ones that we would have, were we rich enough. We also spotted a few jelly-fish drifting in the tide below the pier - and were lightly teased by both an old lady out 'people-watching' with her knitting and an ice-cream seller for being somewhat 'overdressed' for the sun in our full leathers... I would happily have taken the chance to cool down with a stop at one of the many tea-rooms we passed, but Sir seemed rather reticent - unknown to me, He already had a plan....

Hopping back onto the bike Sir took us through Bangor and over the beautiful Menai Suspension Bridge (with the pup making appropriate 'OOOh!' noises for Sir), then we doubled back to follow the Beach Road underneath the bridge and past all the picnickers - then made our way along through the cool tree-tunnelled Beaumaris Road, trying to find the same lovely houses and hotels that we'd spotted from the pier.

We trundled through Beaumaris itself - avoiding the tourist coaches around the castle - ostensibly looking for somewhere to stop for tea, but Sir said He hadn't really seen anywhere 'nice' so we headed on further - until He 'unexpectedly' spotted a roadside sign and turned off down a bumpy old road, past some of the most amazing beaches with views across the strait to the mountains beyond, and finally pulled up by a ruined Priory and a strange little man taking tolls; the road only got worse - with the pup whimpering, as he knows how his Man normally hates to ride on gravel - only for the track to open out at Penmon Point with a lovely view of the Menai lighthouse and Puffin Island. It was only then that Sir 'confessed' to having planned to stop here all along - and treated His pup to a huge and very satisfying cream tea at the Pilot House Cafe, with the sun glittering on the sea whilst the Lighthouse bell tolled every few minutes - and an overly friendly pigeon tried to land on one of the other diner's hat!

Sated and cooled, we headed back through Beaumaris to make a short stop to marvel at the gothic majesty of Chateau Rhianfa - then we headed back over the Bridge and onto the A55 coast road (snaking through tunnels like the best Amalfi coast roads) to Conwy and the Victorian splendor of Llandudno.

We pootled around through the town, admiring the Victorian iron work, then climbed the hill towards the Great Orme. We had half hoped to be able to catch one of the trams but we got there just too late to make the last one - so Sir dropped into 2nd gear and we headed on up on our own - passing both the last tram and several cable-cars on our way. The view from the top was spectacular: west to Anglesey and east to Liverpool and the Formby coast (I swear I could almost see my parent's house!), so we stopped for a long cool pint of lemon-and-lime to take in the view.

We fancied taking the scenic route back, so decided to take the hairpin horror of St. Tudno's Road past the old church - finally joining with Marine Drive to take a lazy ride around the whole Orme - and spotting both the amazing Lighthouse B&B, and a stunning towered house for sale (sadly, both beyond our price range I think...). Back in the town it was one last bumble to look at hotels (and a narrowly missed collision with a land-train) before finally making our way back home to Caernafon.

We stripped and changed, then headed into town to look for a bite to eat - which proved rather difficult as everywhere seemed to close on Sundays and Mondays; lucky that we weren't actually too hungry! We finally wandered into Copa as they were closing their restaurant, were a very nice barman persuaded his cook to rustle us up a nice 4 cheese pizza and some ginger beer before the ovens cooled down too far - which we took over to the Castle walls, so we could sup and eat and watch the most perfect of sunsets over the straits.

Sir had an unexpected surprise when we had finished - and was hailed by an ex-NHSDirect colleague, who recognised His voice as we were tidying away our rubbish and called us over to chat; her husband was an ex-police biker too, so we had quite a good chat about the pleasures of riding a Honda Pan European...

We ended the day by wandering over to the Victoria Dock, and one last gaze at the sunset over the flats.

Such a perfect day!

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