Bodnant and Betws, stars and coasters

I feel the need to record the last couple of days for posterity because I’ve enjoyed them so much. Since Thursday lunchtime, we’ve visited Bodnant gardens, had dinner in Betws y Coed, slept under the stars in Bertie BoxLife, ridden on the Zip World Coaster, and had a BBQ to catch up with our next door neighbours. However, we’re coming to the end of my first 6-week summer break since I was about 12 and started working in my school holidays. I’m sad the summer is ending but it’s been great, and it’s lovely reading my blogs and seeing how much we’ve done.

I joined the National Trust when I visited Bodnant Garden to see the laburnum arch in May, but Thursday was the first time I’ve been back. The gardens were beautiful. Being school holidays and a fairly bright day, they were quite busy, but we walked to the far end of the extensive grounds where it was much quieter. I think it also helped that we were there towards the end of the day and a lot of people were leaving.

We enjoyed walking around and standing watching the wildlife, particularly a young heron fishing in the river. I didn’t manage to photograph any dragonflies… they just wouldn’t sit still… but I did manage to capture a butterfly and some bees. I’m quite pleased with some of my pictures of the gardens too.

After tea and cake in the cafe, we treated ourselves to a rug for Bertie BoxLife. I’d seen it in the Bodnant craft shop before we picked him up but wasn’t sure it’d be the right size. We measured up and it fits perfectly and looks lovely! We then drove down the Conwy Valley to Zip World where we were spending the night in the car park before having a go on the Zip World Coaster on Friday. Our friends Rob and Ben bought vouchers for John’s 50th birthday and we were looking forward to using them, although I was a little scared!

After relaxing for a bit, we walked into Betws y Coed over the old chain bridge and through the station. We’d booked to eat in Olif, which has had good reviews. The food was delicious and we weren’t disappointed. Afterwards, we walked back in the dark… it’s funny how the way back always seems shorter after a bottle of wine… then, as the stars were shining brightly, I took some more photos, while John stayed warm and snug inside.

On Friday morning, John complained he’d been cold in the night. We weren’t on electric hook-up so we weren’t sure about using the heating overnight in case we ran out of gas. However, he could have got the thicker duvet down from the storage space above the cab! I warmed some croissants for breakfast in our new RidgeMonkey pan, then we set off to reception to book in for our coaster rides. The Zip World website said we’d have 3 rides, each lasting about 6 minutes, flying 365 metres through the trees at up to 25 miles per hour. I was very apprehensive and decided to make John go first so I could find out what it was like, and also so I could take some photos of him.

John finished with a grin on his face, but disappointed that he couldn’t go as fast as he’d have liked because the person in front was too slow. On my first go, I was that slow person, holding others up! In spite of my lack of speed, I still got off with jelly legs! John got faster and faster on his next 2 runs, not using the brakes at all on his third run! Note that the coasters do have an automatic braking system, which ensures they’re safe. I managed to convince myself that they must be safe because 9 year olds are allowed on wearing only a seatbelt and no helmet, and there don’t seem to have been any casualties yet. My next 2 runs were much smoother and I was braver, flying around the corners and not holding anyone up too much. It was great fun and rather exhilarating!

img_0379Then it was time to go home. We needed to clean the Airbnb because our next guests were arriving at 3 o’clock, and we haven’t seen our friends from next door for a while so we’d invited them round for a BBQ. It was a lovely sunny day and we had drinks in the garden, chatting while John cooked the meat. A perfect end to a perfect couple of days.


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