On our stay in Wales, our train-loving host David wanted desperately to take us on a train ride up into the hills of Wales. He decided to take us to Betws- y -Coed and from there, by train up into the Snowdonia National Park to Blaenau Ffestiniog, which was a Welsh Slate Mining town during the slate boom.
Blaenau Ffestiniog a name you would only find in Wales
The girls were very excited about the train ride. I think at that time they thought it may have been a stream train that would pick us up but it was just like any other train we had been on. This didn’t dampen their spirits with them happily fighting over window seats the moment we got onto the train.
The train ride itself was fantastic. The scenery was beautiful to look at and it was all so green. We made two or three stops on the way up I think (At one point I was playing referee over a water bottle and missed some things that were going on)
The one thing that got me the most was just before we got to Blaenau Ffestiniog we went through a tunnel. We had just past a beautiful small stream with sheep grazing around it and a small quaint farmhouse nestled above it. On the other side of the tunnel, it was like we had entered a new strange world. It was grey, all of it, everything. Leftover slate cascaded down the sides of every mountain in sight. With the low cloud cover and the wind, it was like something out of a movie! The girls instantly loved it and their imaginations went wild!
As we pulled into the train station our host David decided it was the perfect time to tell us that we didn’t have long to look around. Actually, we had about 15 minutes while the train turned around for the journey back down, it was really all about the train ride! If we missed the train we would be staying in Blaenau Ffestiniog for about 5 hours till the next one came. The moment the train stopped our small party leapt off the train to take in as much as we could.
As pulled into the station you could see the perfect little houses that the town had, I loved the look of them on sight! They seemed to blend in with their surroundings but at the same time, they all had their own little way to be different. They all had the look that they would have so many tales to tell. We stood for a picture with the grey mountains in the background and made our way into the slate shops that lined the streets just outside of the train station. Right at this stage it decided to pour with rain…with a wind like I have never experienced! I spotted a beautiful piece of slate and bought it as a momento of our trip. By then the train whistle was going and the mad scramble to the train began.
I really wish we had much more time in Blaenau Ffestiniog . There is so much to see, do and take in. If you are heading there your can do a zip wire ride, learn about slate mining, hike and wander the streets. It would be a great place to stay if you enjoy the outdoors and there seems to be so many different activities that you could do. I really wish we had much, much more time to explore this lovely town but it was back on the train for us for the trip down and onto Swallow Falls. But that is another story!
Next up for us Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Iceland, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. November 2016 - January 2017
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