Writing a travel blog and sharing my adventures with all of you here has been a whole lot of fun. I can’t believe, however, that I have come to the end of my stories and pictures. And I’m sorry to tell you but this post will be the last one that I write. I will still be travelling, but will no longer be blogging about it. It’s been fun, I’ve learned a lot, made a lot of friends, and it’s been an adventure in itself.
My granddaughter, Nichole, was right when she suggested I give it a try about 2 1/2 years ago. She encouraged me to share my interesting stories on a blog explaining to me that there would be a whole bunch of people “out there” that would love to hear the stories and read my blog if I took the time to write it.
There certainly have been a lot of people “out there” who are interested and who seem to be quite entertained; she was right. I have gathered dedicated “followers”; some that I know and others who are total strangers from scattered corners of the planet. So interesting. I really appreciate their support and encouragement.
Since returning home from the trip I’ve been earnestly trying to get the last of the adventures blogged in chronological order. That’s a lot of places! I’m getting tired. You must be too! Although it’s been worth it, writing a blog requires an inordinate amount of work, dedication, disciplined daily effort, stamina, ideas and time!
I have enjoyed sharing my adventures with you and have posted a whole bunch of photos, told a few stories and shared a lot of information I’ve gathered along the way. Hopefully, it has served to not only entertain you; but also inspired you to venture out and do a little travelling yourself. Maybe you are unable to travel and like to travel along vicariously; that’s wonderful too! Maybe I’ve given someone the courage to venture out on their own, travelling solo, as I often do.
There is so much to see and do in this wonderful world. Go live it and experience it your way, in whatever fashion you desire. If I had to wait until someone else had the time, the money and the desire to go with me, I probably wouldn’t have seen a fraction of what I’ve experienced and seen so far; I’d still be waiting. Life is too short for that. Go find it, even if it means going by yourself – you’ll soon be making friends along the way!
I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming along for the ride on this blog with me and reading it.
What follows is the last story about the final days of my 4 1/2 month travels in Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales 2017:
One More Little Taste of Each ~ Wales, Ireland & Scotland ~ Before I Head Home
It was September 8th, my last day in Wales. I started the day early at about 9 o’clock because I had a reservation on a train to take me to the top of Snowdon Mountain.
I arrived at the Snowdon Mountain Railway station and was soon ushered aboard a railcar pushed by a diesel locomotive named George. Soon we began our hour-long ascent to the summit!
From the moment we left the station the train began the journey upwards into the clouds. According to their website:
“This is a fabulous land of faeries and giants and kings. For centuries Welsh princes held council here. It is a land rich in alpine flowers and rare ferns left behind the retreating ice age and it is dotted with ruins that chronicle the history of long lost communities. These ancient mountains thrust upwards by volcanic forces 450 million years ago, once towered 10,000 metres. Over eons, the wind and rain and successive ice ages have sculpted them to their current form.”
Soon after the train left Llanberis station the track crossed the first of two viaducts across the Afon Hwch river and offered a wonderful view of the waterfall plunging into the gorge below.
As we emerged into open ground, I would have had a first glimpse of the peak of Snowdon, but its peak was shrouded in clouds! The train soon passed Car Esgob, Bishops Field and the ruined Hebron Chapel before starting its final summit ascent in earnest amongst spectacular countryside.
A lot of people hike up to the summit on Snowdon. I admire their abilities and stamina and am extremely grateful that I can ride a train, otherwise, I would not be able to see the summit.
Including stops at the passing loops, the train takes an hour to climb to the summit and an hour to descend again, at an average speed of around 5 mph. It is is a narrow gauge rack and pinion mountain railway and steadily, but slowly, moves along for 4.7 miles offering up beautiful scenic vistas to enjoy all the while.
We arrived at the summit station, disembarked, walked through the Visitor Centre to the outside and then followed the rock stairs up to the brass marker.
Since we were shrouded in clouds, our vistas were limited and could barely see down to the train tracks, let alone the lakes and landscapes way below. I have pulled a picture off of the trains’ website and posted below so at least we can see what it would have looked like if it had been clear. Quite a view I must say! Will have to go back and try another time.
We started back down the mountain clearing the clouds about halfway down and the vistas opened up once again. Behind us Snowdon is still quite dark and ominous looking.
On the way down we passed another steam train headed up the mountain. Before long we were pulling into the station and the ride was over. Sure was a fun one!
The sun was shining brightly in Llanberis at noon. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the hostel doing domestic chores like laundry and sorting out my luggage. The following morning I would be taking the ferry across the Irish Sea to Dublin. I also had to clean out the rental car I’d been using since June and after driving it for over 6,200 miles. (That’s a lot of miles; I’ve loved every one of them!) I finished off the day with good traditional local fare for my supper and enjoyed a beautiful rainbow while doing so. It was a perfect day!
I had a few more days left in September on my itinerary. I wanted to use them wisely, so I returned to a couple of my favourite haunts to see some of my favourite people one more time before I headed back home to America.
After an uneventful ferry ride back to Ireland, I rented another car and made a beeline to Northern Ireland to see my good Frew friends for a few days…Deirdre, Heather – the whole Frew girl lot! I had some additional special personal time together with both Deirdre and Heather, exploring a few new sights. Deirdre, and her wonderful little great-granddaughter, Lilly, took me to the waterfalls at Glenariff and then we drove along the northern coastline near Carnlough and Glenarm. Beautiful!
Heather treated me to a visit to her sister’s fabulous tea room near Armagh.
All the “Frew girls” near Ballymena are always a delight to see. It’s a real hoot to get together and spend time with each other (usually laughing our heads off!)
After spending a week or so in Ireland, I spontaneously decided at the last minute to change my plans. My sister, Sue, and her husband, George, had arrived in London a few weeks earlier and had been travelling north to Scotland while I was exploring Wales. We didn’t think we would see each other while we were both in the UK at the same time. That was until I decided to surprise them!
After conspiring with my cousin Lindsay in Aberdeen, I drove back to Dublin, returned the rental car, took the ferry back to Holyhead, rented another car and then proceeded to drive all the way to Aberdeen to his house arriving the same day that my Sue and George did.
That was a long drive, let me tell you! I didn’t arrive in Aberdeen until the well after midnight. While I was driving they arrived in Aberdeen, had dinner with our cousin Lindsay and made plans for the following day to go visit a castle or two. When they arrived at Lindsay’s front door in the morning, I went out the back door and circled round to the front, and then waited for a couple of minutes for them to get a bit settled, then I rang the doorbell.
Lindsay commented to Sue & George, “Oh, I hope you don’t mind; a neighbour lady friend of mine heard we were going to visit a castle and wondered if she could come along. Do you mind if she joins us?”
“Sure, the more – the merrier!” my sister replied. He opened the door and invited me in, pretending to introduce his “neighbour friend” and boy you should have seen the look of surprise and delight when they realized it was me. They couldn’t believe it and were quite surprised! We all had such a great time together; a special “family heritage, ancestry” time exploring castles we have ancestral ties to with each other for a couple of days.
First, we visited Fraser Castle, the Clan that our Frew ancestors are associated with. We visited another castle at Braemar that Sue and I share ancestral connections to and we also toured Craigievar Castle just because it’s one of my favourites and also because I was sure they would absolutely love it.
Spending a little extra special time with each of my favourite people at the end of a very special trip was the perfect way to end it.
Well, like they say, all good things shall come to an end…
I have had a fun time sharing my travel adventures here on this blog. Thanks for reading it, sharing it with friends and family and coming to read the posts on my blog. Happy Trails! ~ Claudia