The weather is improving and we plan to explore afield today. After our usual breakfast of scrambled eggs, Danish and juice sometime after 9AM, we load the car with a light lunch and head out the A5 toward Anglesey and Beaumaris Castle, the last one built by Edward I and one never finished due to the demands of rebellion in Scotland.
While following the A5 is fairly straight forward, even if it can be a narrow two-lane track with heavy traffic, the interchanges and round-abouts could be daunting if one did not know which exit to take in advance. The GPS generally solves those problems. It is only about 40 miles to Beaumaris but it takes us an hour to get there. Traffic does not move swiftly in this part of the world what with the one lane closures controlled by signal lights and on-street parking that takes up all, or at least half, of one lane of a two lane road! The parking problem in general and the street parking in particular are insane.
Once on Anglesey, Dick spots an HSBC bank ATM and pulls into a lucky parking spot a half block away. He tries to get £200 (we need at least £250 to pay our current and next lodging in cash) but it will only give him £100. We will try some other machine later.
We pay £1 to park in the local library parking lot next to Beaumaris Castle and buy our senior citizen tickets for £7.90. We spend about an hour looking at the castle’s remains and reading the plaques within that explain what we are seeing and what there is to seek in our explorations. With the castle on the coast, there was (is) a small harbour next to the fort and you can see where ships up to 40 tons could tie up and unload directly into the castle while being covered from the walls. The rings are still in the walls where they tied off.
The castle was not finished and has a rather squat appearance and would have really been something if completed to the known plans. If you want to and your knees will allow it, you can climb up and walk on top of some the walls and climb up into the towers but we pass and look from ground level. Returning to the car, we spot the old city water pumps and a young artist capturing a view of the castle. We then head back out the same route and try the same ATM again with no luck. This may be a problem!
On to Conwy, home of another one of Edward I series of castles, by way of the A55. Conwy is really neat because its city walls are intact and one can walk around the city on the walls. We drive though the city gate on the west side and out through the wall (the gate was removed to allow for two way traffic at some point) onto the bridge and first look for an ATM, but have no luck getting money from two different ones. We were here in 1985 and sort of remember it but neither of us has any desire to traipse through another castle today. We do find one of the six parking spaces on the bridge in front of the castle empty, so we park there and eat our picnic. These spaces serve the entrance to the 1800's suspension bridge which is now a pedestrian bridge. Then we walk across the suspension bridge and around the castle looking for a pin for our little friend. They didn’t have any pins at Beaumaris. This search, the setting, the harbor with its small boats, the castle walls and 19th Century bridge are enough for us. Back to the car and drive out through the northeast city gate.
We now head back toward our cottage and enjoy the drive. We are loving our access to a very nice patio that overlooks a valley and the Snowdonia National Park to the West. The view and the gardens are to die for beautiful!!! Cheese and crackers together with some peanuts and a liquid of our choice passes another hour. During this time, Dick calls Wells Fargo’s international number and talks to them about our ATM problems. He had called earlier and thought the problem was solved but to no avail. This time he is told the first person failed to remove a fraud hold, despite knowing of the problem and the fact that Dick had notified them of our travel plans back in January. This person says it is removed and it will work when Dick gives it another try tomorrow.