Driving in North Wales

Driving in Wales is not for the faint of heart.  At every turn there were narrow, tight, winding roads with speed limits of 60mph but often impossible to drive anything over 30.  And I should mention the sheep – they crossed quite often so I hope you aren’t doing 60mph when they cross your path!  The driving felt similar to Ireland except more mountainous, especially as we entered Snowdonia.

The drive was breathtaking 95% of the time.  Only rarely did we come upon anything industrial.  Most of what we saw were quaint stone homes, fields and mountains of green, thousands upon thousands of sheep and the water – whether a river or the sea.

In a way, it felt like you were in a completely different world rather than in a part of the United Kingdom. Signs were posted in both English and Welsh.  And I cannot even begin to pronounce any of the Welsh words as most didn’t appear to even have any vowels!

Many of the shots that I took while driving were just that – driving shots – so they aren’t all 100% clear and I didn’t know what towns or villages we were driving through most of the time.  But the drive was half of the fun and the scenery along the way was breathtaking – both in views and fear of the curves and narrow roads!!!  So while this post isn’t big on text, you’ll find lots of beautiful shots that we took along the way during our time in North Wales!

Just getting started and we are already on narrow, windy roads

Just getting started and we are already on narrow, windy roads

And curves, let's not forget the 90 degree curves!

And curves, let’s not forget the 90 degree curves!

Yes, this is the bridge we saw on the Llangollen Steam train

Yes, this is the bridge we saw on the Llangollen Steam train

Cute town

Cute town

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Snowdonia National Park in the distance

Snowdonia National Park in the distance

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Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park

We drove this tiny narrow road for a long time!

We drove this tiny narrow road for a long time!

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Driving thru Snowdonia above the treeline

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Castle ahead!

Castle ahead!

Apparently North Wales is also known for it's slate and we saw a number of mountains where slate was being excavated.

Apparently North Wales is also known for it’s slate and we saw a number of mountains where slate was being excavated.

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Not what I expected to see on the backroads of Wales... In London, yes... here, no.

Not what I expected to see on the backroads of Wales… In London, yes… here, no.

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I thought at first this sheep was stuck under the bench but turns out he was just scratching himself...

I thought at first this sheep was stuck under the bench but turns out he was just scratching himself…

We were on top of the mountain and the sheep just cross whenever they feel like it.

We were on top of the mountain and the sheep just cross whenever they feel like it.

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More sheep crossing

More sheep crossing

Driving along the coast

Driving along the coast

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A little adventure to get to the castle - narrow, windy roads with very tall hedges.

A little adventure to get to Chirk castle – narrow, windy roads with very tall hedges.

I have to give a shout out to Josh who did a great job of not only navigating all the narrow, windy roads, but did so on the “wrong” side of the road.  And a bonus, no rearview mirrors were destroyed like in Ireland!

Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

North Wales: Llangollen

When we were looking for somewhere to stay in North Wales, we really weren’t sure where to start.  The guides that we read said to stay near Chester.  But when I started my search most places we wanted to visit took us closer to the coast or to Snowdonia.  We wanted to be able to visit castles near the border of England/Wales but to also head west towards Snowdonia and more north to the coast as well.  After some back and forth, we ended up in Llangollen. Continue reading

The Rules of the Road

While I’m sure there are plenty of worse things that can happen, for today, there was nothing worse than coming out of my parent/teacher conferences to find that my car was no longer where I parked it.  It actually took me a minute to even realize it wasn’t there.  I actually crossed the street over to another campus building, passing by the side of the street where my car was (no longer) parked and didn’t make the connection that there was Continue reading

Driving Legally… Finally!!

Finally, I’ve passed my driving test. While this process only really took 9 weeks, it felt like it was 9 months.  Between my 2 full weekends (40 hours) of driving school, two times to pass the written exam, 1 driving class, then a second class the day before my first exam that never happened because they had me registered wrong, then a failed exam and now, finally, finally, I’ve passed! Continue reading

Driving Exam 1.5

I can’t really call it driving exam 2.0 because the first time I just showed up and nothing happened.  But yet this was still my second attempt today.  The day started off great – picked up my turkeys for our belated Thanksgiving this coming Saturday and then picked up my CAR (yes, my CAR – felt I needed to say it twice).  So far so good. Continue reading

The Big Day – My Driving Test (insert laughter here)

Today was the day… my driving test.  And I was more nervous than I think I was when I was 16 taking it for the first time.  Why?  I have no idea.  The idea of failing something I’ve been doing for over 20 years would certainly be a kick in the pants to my ego, but seriously, would it be that big of a deal to fail it?  Probably not.  More of an inconvenience than anything.

Continue reading

Freedom!! My New Car (Still No License)!!

The last few weeks have been crazy between travel, work, kids and trying to buy our new car.  Last I updated, I had two options for my new car – a 2012 Golf and a 2013 Golf.  The 2013 was 10 euros more expensive per month and had less bells and whistles than the 2012.  I was waiting to hear back on if the car was still on hold or if I was going to have no choice but to go with the 2013. Continue reading

Almost There… License (and Car) Update

So on October 16, I took the theoretical exam again for my drivers license.  Seriously, I debated it.  If I hadn’t already forked over several hundred euros I was just going to call it a day.  My driving instructor had told me that you don’t need a Spanish license to drive or insure a car here, but if you get caught you could get in trouble.  I was thinking I was willing to take that chance rather than have to continue with this painful process.  But the goodie two-shoes in me decided that I have to do things the “right” way.  And so I took the exam again… and passed. Continue reading

Drivers License Update… Pass or Fail??

Ahhh Spain…. this whole drivers license thing is killing me, painfully and slowly killing me.  What made me decide that this was a good idea?  Why couldn’t I just go the route of most people and drive illegally?  Am I that much of a goody two shoes that I need to do this by the rules?  I’ve questioned this way too many times in the last few weeks. Continue reading