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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Cymru is not for sale [20050718|07:58]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Last week, svanzoest and jade_van_zoest came to stay with us. We rented a car and, after initial confusion involving gearshifts located on the left and not being able to get the car into reverse, we were off to Eryri in Cymru (Snowdonia, the Place of the Eagles, in Wales). Like northwest Ireland, northwest Wales remains the stronghold for both the written and spoken forms of the Welsh language. Also like northwest Ireland, it is not very accessible via train or other forms of public transport, so making a quick one or two-day visit necessitates driving.

Snowdonia National Park covers 838 square miles. Unlike the national parks in the States, humans inhabit and farm the area. The bulk of it is privately owned. It covers several mountain ranges, including the highest peak in England and Wales, Yr Wyddfa (Uhr Wuth-vah), "The Tomb", and Cadair Idris, "The Seat of Arthur." Just outside the park to the west in a small inlet of the larger Tremadog Bay, lies a strange little town known as Portmeirion. Fans of the British TV series "The Prisoner" will instantly recognize it as the site of the architect's folly known as The Village. That was our destination.

Portmeirion, however, contains much more than the strange hodge-podge of Mediterranean-influenced architecture and Victorian-era sculpture, much of which was also swiped from other cultures and adapted to the English aesthetic. Sheltered from the sea by an intricate series of coves and by the great western sweep of the Llyn Peninsula, its climate is surprisingly mild. This permitted the eccentric designer, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, to devote large areas of his property to botanical conservation. The gardens of non-native plants and trees blend together seamlessly, with occasional structures like the red Chinese bridge paying tribute to the great variety in their origins.

We arrived in the early evening and stayed in one of the cottages away from the main hotel, which gave us the opportunity to explore Portmeirion during the long twilight after it closed to visitors, in the dark, and in the early morning before it re-opened. The overnight stay and the gorgeous weather let us observe and appreciate the place in a way that the day visitor can't, I think.

Click the ship to view the gallery.

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-18 11:09 (UTC)
Heh. I have another shot of two people tromping along the sands in the middle of the bay with their two dogs frolicking around them. Unfortuantely, it is over-exposed so I didn't include it.
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From: bondage_and_tea
2005-07-18 07:17 (UTC)
Have you been to Donegal then? Beautiful part of Ireland, but I'm told now filled with rich folks' second homes.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-18 11:03 (UTC)
No, not yet. I'm going with a friend (becala) for ten days at the end of August. It doesn't surprise me too much that it's probably populated by a large number of wealthy English people as well as native Irish people. It was kind of the same in Portmeirion. Most of the hotel denizens were elderly English people on holiday, while the gardeners, painters, and restaurant servers were either Welsh or Eastern European. :-/
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From: capitalflash
2005-07-18 10:51 (UTC)
i think it really makes a difference to stay there at night. i'm glad you went :)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-18 11:05 (UTC)
Me too. It was wonderful and I desperately want to go back and bring Marco. I was thinking it would be great to get a few people together and go with the self-catering cottage option, rent a car and fill the boot with supplies, to keep the cost down...
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[User Picture]From: culturedgoat
2005-07-18 11:28 (UTC)
Hellz yeah - I'd be back to the 'Merion like a shot. I went for a day last summer, but it wasn't enough to explore all the nature walks and some of the more remote parts of it.

"I am not a number, I'm a free man!"

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-18 12:52 (UTC)
Excellent. A Mary-Ellen, a Joanna and a Tim sounds like fantastic company.

I loved that little alcove, even got a decent shot of it but not with a stylish goat in it, of course.
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From: capitalflash
2005-07-18 11:43 (UTC)
that sounds gorgeous! what an ace plan. *must get job*
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-18 12:49 (UTC)
*must get job*

Me too. Better get back to working on that while I have two minutes to myself. Feh. :-P
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From: svanzoest
2005-07-18 14:57 (UTC)

Portmeirion Soap bars

Hi Leah,

In case you are in the market for a refill for your Portmeirion Lavender and Tea Tree soap bar, it is manufactured by Arran Aromatics of Scotland. According to their website, there are several shops in London who sell their merchandise.


-- Sander
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-18 20:33 (UTC)
Thank you! I doubt I'd buy another soap bar, but the bath stuff sure is nice. I hope Jade is enjoying hers.

P.S. I'm drinking dunkel weissbier from Munich. Mmm. Come on over and have a half-liter.
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[User Picture]From: sekl
2005-07-18 16:58 (UTC)
Beautiful. And not a weather balloon in sight. Very nice.

Have you ever considered selling some of your shots as postcards?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-18 20:39 (UTC)
Yeah, but I did sorta neglect to mention the pair of fighter jets that came screaming past on maneuvers several times and nearly made me spill my tea. :-/

I hadn't thought of that, but it is a nifty idea. I'll have to look into printing costs.
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[User Picture]From: victorine
2005-07-25 00:50 (UTC)
Some of these look like concept shots for an adventure game. Particularly the ship sculpture. Someone make an adventure game set in Wales!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-07-27 07:42 (UTC)
Methinks the adventure game should also involve pirate hobbits. Oh yes.
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