I came close to expletives until Beddgelert emerged!

No photoshopping this one

Okay, we came across some wild landscape of hills dotted with more sheep than Wales has people. This is likely an understatement.

Then I got lost. I came off of the main, well-marked road on to a country road that took me through one small hamlet after another, most of which were not on the map. I suppose I could have turned around but going one direction would be as purposeless as going the other, so I just kept moving forward into the dusk hoping to wind up in a town of some consequence. I knew the name of most towns I would not be able to pronounce. Finally, we popped out of the mountains, cliffs, and hedge rows at a “T” with an arrow pointing toward Beddgelert. I should have known, Beddgelert is not far from other memorable places like Rhyd Ddu, Plas Gywnant and not far from the ever popular, Penrhydeudraeth and the town we were shopping for in the first place, Portmeirion where there was purported to be a good place to eat (what else) according to our guide book.

Thinking it couldn’t be far and besides a rather scenic drive, I betrayed my good sense and went toward Beddgelert. Once I crossed over the bridge, I’m glad I did. There were a number of good places to stay and I was attracted to The Royal Goat (who wouldn’t be?) but they were full. So we booked into the Saracens Head Hotel, something more like a youth hostel than a hotel. It catered to hikers, who look for an inexpensive place to sleep, but we were off season and so the accommodation was sparsely inhabited and quiet. Nevertheless, I can assure the reader that there was nothing glamorous about it.

Castell Deudraeth

We settled and then drove to Portmeirion for supper at the Castell Deudraeth, notable for a rather “know-how” chef. This being said and while the interior of the restaurant was first class, five star dining, the food wasn’t spectacular and we were disappointed at the price. For us, the only “spiff” we look forward to in our travels is jointly discovering memorable cuisine. This was not one of those occasions.

We were scheduled  to arrive in Colwyn Bay at our friends the Usserys’ place at four on the next day and with a good deal of driving ahead of us, I jumped to my feet early and ran out with my camera before the sun had pulled itself over the hills to the east. I waited for an hour with camera in hand but in so doing captured some beautiful shots of the town where some of the movie, “Inn of the Sixth Happiness” (the story of missionary to China, Gladys Aylward) had been filmed, starring Ingrid Bergman.

Off we went through more of Snowdonia in North Wales. Having a little time before going to the Ussery’s we went over the bridge to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch… located on the isle called Anglesey, where Prince William and Kate live. Yes, that’s right, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, otherwise known as, “Saint Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near to the Rapid Whirlpool of  Llantysilio of the Red Cave.” Lovely. It would be hard to miss, wouldn’t it? Since time was short, we headed on down the road towards Nate and Ali’s and didn’t get to explore the rest of the island.

From Plymouth to Marazion and Mousehole

Since they had other visitors, it would be several days before we could visit with Bethany Fellowship missionaries Nate and Ali, who live at Rhos on Sea, Colwyn Bay, Wales.

So we took a couple of days to explore the southwestern tip of England. We had been told by Jeanne’s brother, should we ever get the chance we should pop into the small port of Mousehole (from what I could tell pronounced Muss Hul), we should check it out. And we did.

On the way, we attempted to get closer to the coast and made the delightful mistake of driving through Seaton. This might work well if one is a Morris Minor but it took everything I had to wrench the VW van through the one ways, around the tight corners and overhangs. I figured, “If buses can do it, I ought to be able to.” In retrospect, it was worth the squeeze as we saw a beautiful seaside village that is in many ways (except for the traffic) just as it once was. The downside turned out to be that it was the last weekend of the seaside holidaying season, so it wound up being a real challenge to negotiate the crowds and cars. We got through it all with a huge sigh of relief.

We had booked a hotel at Marazion, which is a short distance from Mousehole and just aross the bay from Saint Michael’s Mount, a Benedictine monastery that dates from the mid 1200’s.  I was excited about this, not only from the historical point of view but also because I had seen a large number of amazing watercolors of this location and now I could see it for myself! I later learned that there are two of them (almost identical). The other St. Michael’s is in (Normandy) France and perhaps the one with the greatest notoriety.

We booked a nice room overlooking the street. Though chilly, I deaked out for a few photographs in the evening light. In so doing, I saw the evidence of a strong Wesleyan presence in the area with a Wesleyan Church and a Methodist Church on the main thoroughfare.

I rose early in the morning to catch the light for more photographs. I returned within the hour and treated Jeanne to her second “full English breakfast.” All of this food seemed really great…  so far.

In spite of the cold we made our way in the boat taxi across the bay to St. Michael’s and once there, huddled together on a bench in the sunlight out of the way of the brisk wind. Deciding it was too chilly to wait for the monastery to open, we rushed back across on the next boat, checked out of our hotel, and drove on to see the charming village of Mousehole.

We took the advice of the big “P” and parked the van on the edge of town, then walked in the additional twelve hundred meters into the harbor area. I began snapping every image that I thought might be paintable. The scenes were just as great as Jeanne’s brother had promised. Jeanne found a gift for Clara our granddaughter in one of the shops. We ended our time there in a cute little tea shop, where we enjoyed tea, scones, and clotted cream, and then drove on toward Bristol and finally Raglan, Wales.

Brother Jack

Here’s a fresh pastel pencil portrait of a friend, Jack Vandermark. It is rare that I do a drawing that I feel completely good about. There is always something that I wish I would have done… OR NOT but this one I feel pretty good about. I seemed to catch not only his likeness but also his personality. Hope you like it and you can see more at www.tonyhedrickart. Let me know what you think.

Buying my artwork keeps me traveling and preaching the Gospel.