Welcome to our Sunday Spotlight feature in which one of our favorite travel bloggers shares five photos from one of their favorite travel destination. If you want to participate in a future Sunday Spotlight, please contact us.
Author Bio: Ways of Wanderers is about slowly discovering the world as a budget traveler and expat. My boyfriend, Brent, and I seek out work and volunteer opportunities wherever we go, typically staying in each country we visit for a few months at a time. My goal with Ways of Wanderers is to provide the inspiration and advice to help anyone who has ever wanted to see the world, actually go and do it.
North Wales was never a region I dreamed about visiting, but somehow I ended up there. Brent and I had been traveling through Europe for 3 months and, as Canadians, we then needed to spend 3 months outside the EU before we could re-enter.
As we were planning an itinerary that would take us out of the EU, we came across a work exchange opportunity at a B&B in Capel Curig, North Wales. The timing was perfect, so we decided to go for it even though we barely knew anything about the area.
It turned out to be a wise decision, because it wasn’t long before I was falling in love with days spent hiking up mountains and exploring crumbling castles, and nights spent gathering around the fireplace at a local pub.
Most people thought we were just a little bit insane for deciding to spend our winter in an area known for being cold and rainy. It’s true that the weather was grey for most of our trip, but it actually hi-lighted the landscape’s moody colour palate of steely blues, mossy greens and deep greys.
There was an ever-present mist in the air, and the occasional flickers of sunlight cast mysterious shadows over the hills and valleys.
If North Wales is known for anything, it’s hiking. I’m sure it would take years to explore the maze of trails that snake through all the mountains and forests.
The sheep were one consistency of the landscape, always watching us quietly no matter where we walked.
There are more sheep in North Wales than there are people, and they are free to roam the countryside, with most spray-painted to identify their owners.
One of my favourite hikes was to the top of Mount Tryfan, which is among the most famous peaks in Britain. At the top, there is a pair of monoliths nicknamed Adam and Eve.
The standing dare is for those climbing Mount Tryfan to jump the 4ft between the two rocks in order to gain the “freedom of Tryfan”. The jump itself is small, but the consequences of a misstep, in the form a sharp drop down, are big.
Wales is sometimes called the “castle capital of the world”, and we had the chance to explore several of North Wales’ medieval castles. I loved looking at the way the moss grew through the cracks in the stone towers, and walking along the old walls that surround towns like Conwy. There’s just something so magical about castles.
Llandudno, a classic seaside town, was another one of my favourite places in North Wales. In the summer, the pier buzzes with beach-goers, souvenir booths and fish and chip stands. In the winter, however, Llandudno took on the same brooding prettiness as the countryside.
It was so peaceful walking along the beach, listening to the waves wash-up on the cold sand, and the occasional piercing seagull cry.