Carly Bond

Yorkshire Grand Depart – Tour de France

The Tour De France was coming to Yorkshire and as this is right on our doorstep we thought it would be rude not to go & join in the fun. My grandma lives in Pool-in-Wharfedale and has for most of her life so we decided to set up camp in her front room to make sure we could be ready for the race early doors.

Yellow bike. Pool-in-Wharfedale

Yorkshire Grand Depart – Tour de France. Pool-in-Wharfedale.

So myself, husband, little boy, mum, dad & grandma set off at 8.30am to support the local Methodist chapel, which my grandma still attends, by going for breakfast. Well, why cook a bacon sandwich for yourself, if someone else is willing to do it for you. However, they had sold out :o 100 bacon baps sold before 8.30, that’s good going. So we had sausage ones instead & even then we bought the last ones.

After wandering up & down the village, we staked our claim on a small area outside the chapel & waiting patiently for the publicity caravan which was travelling the route 1.5 hours before the riders themselves. We got my grandma a chair, so she could stand up & sit down whenever she felt like it, as at nearly 90, she gets a little tired now & again.

At approx 10.07am the caravan passed through, supposedly over 200 floats, however, they passed so quickly it didn’t seem like there was that many. But along with the number of police, gendarmerie, press cars, etc, it did take about 20 mins to pass through. The number of different sponsors threw freebies out to the crowds, things like wrist bands, Yorkshire Tea, t-shirts, etc. My favourite bit was getting high 5′s from the police on motorbikes as they drove past. :) I won, with a total of 3.

Tour de France - The Publicity Caravan 1

Yorkshire Grand Depart – Tour de France. Pool-in-Wharfedale. The Publicity Caravan

Tour de France - Publicity Caravan 2

Yorkshire Grand Depart – Tour de France. Pool-in-Wharfedale. The Publicity Caravan

We then had to wait just over an hour for the main event. Although over in about 3 minutes, there was nothing that could prepare me for the noise & the throng of the peloton. Firstly 3 racers, who had managed to pull clear of the pack, past about a minute & a half before the rest of the competitors. Then another 195 cyclists & their support cars passed through, amongst cheers, whoops & of course, cow bells (courtesy of my mum), it was a wonderful atmosphere.

Tour de France - Leaders

Yorkshire Grand Depart – Tour de France. Pool-in-Wharfedale. The leaders

Tour de France - Peloton

Yorkshire Grand Depart – Tour de France. Pool-in-Wharfedale. The Peloton

The amount of people who had turned out in Pool-in-Wharfedale was phenomenal. A carnival atmosphere was created, throughout the village, with all sorts of fun & games going on at the village hall/cricket club all day long. If it causes the same amazing throng in every village it touches over the next few days, then all I can say is, whatever you do, DON’T MISS IT!!

Having a Wales of a time – Day 7

The weather was due to be lovely today so we decided to out the bubba in his rucksack and take him on a little walk to Conwy Falls. We had to pay £1 to get thought a turnstile, but then once through we had a choice of 3 walks. The walk was lovely and relaxed and the falls were ok, if not a little disappointing.

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Once back to the car park, we had a picnic in a lovely designated area of benches made out of old trees. The bubba could cruise along the benches to his hearts content, he loves the outdoors.

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From there we went onto Betws Y Coed, which is a village much like one you’d find in the Lake District. Grey
Slate buildings, outdoor pursuits shops and a lovely river flowing through it.

They have created an ‘All abilities’ walkway down by the river which was great for us & the pram & just far enough. We watched the dippers & other small birds flying in & out of the flowing waterfalls.

Before we headed home, we drove up to the Swallow Falls, which are about 2 miles out of Betws Y Coed. This one was £1.50. These were a little better than Conwy Falls, however, the walk was a lot shorter.

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We’ve had a lovely time in North Wales, and I’m so sad it’s coming to an end. I can highly recommend this area to anyone, there is lots to do for any age.

Having a Wales of a time – Day 6

The boys were off to play golf today so the girls decided we’d take the boy to the beach & the paddling pool as the weather had said it was going to be sunny and warm!

So we went to Rhyl, opened the car doors and shut them again! Brrrrrr is was freezing & a change of plan was needed! So instead we walked around the shops a couple of times (and they aren’t that great), had a cup of coffee and decided, enough was enough so headed to Prestatyn.

We found a lovely beach…if only it was beach weather :( Then we found a really nice retail park with some better shops where we could have a wander.

By the time the boys had finished playing golf the sun had come out so we headed to the beach to let the little man burn off some energy. The beach was beautiful, if not a little windy, but at least it was warm unlike earlier.

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There is, however, a nice crazy golf on the front which we decided to play while the boy was having a little nap! We love crazy golf :)

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We finished the day off with a meal at ‘The Talardy Hotel‘ in St Asaph which was lovely and the hotel itself has been renovated beautifully.

Having a Wales of a time – Day 5

After the long day we had yesterday, today started off with a fried breakfast and a slow get ready. A lie in would have been nice, but the little man decided 6.15am was a much better idea.

Once we’d all woken up a bit, we decided to make our way to Conwy to visit the castle. On the way we spotted a nice coffee shop in a little place called Llanrwst. The tearooms are situated in a building that was built in 1480 which is now owned by The National Trust. It was called ‘Tu Hwnt I’r Bont‘ which means ‘Beyond the Bridge’ and I can highly recommend the cream teas :)

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We then moved on to Conwy, which is a lovely walled town. The castle itself sits on the estuary next to 3 bridges, one for road, one for pedestrians and one for rail. The castle was excellent with about 6 towers that you could walk up to get wonderful views of the town & coastline.

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Conwy also houses ‘The Smallest House in Great Britain‘, which you can go inside for just £1. A lady in traditional welsh dress stands outside most days for photo opportunities. It’s situated on the quay where there are good views of the castle and the ability to go crabbing if you so wish :)

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Having a Wales of a time – Day 4

We decided to go on the Welsh Highland Railway today, as my dad is a bit of a train spotter. Because of this I’ve always had a soft spot for anything related to steam, so was very excited to take my little man on his first steam trip.

We picked the train up from Caernarfon at 10am and they couldn’t have been more organised and helpful. Happy to accommodate us and our large pram, opening doors and helping us carry the pram onto the high carriage.

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The train goes to Porthmadog which is south of Caernarfon, passing through the Snowdonia National Park, with lovely views of Snowdon herself.

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The journey takes you through tunnels, woodlands, grasslands, moorlands and lots of tight cuttings and bends, which make for some stunning views.

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We sampled a variety of delights on the train including bacon butties, ice creams and even a bottle of wine! And on the way back we even had a seat reserved for us :)

To top it all off, we wandered along the harbours edge in Caernarfon, around the castle, and sat in the sunshine at a pub called ‘The Anglesy’, directly under one of the main turrets, in the sunshine. What more could you ask for.

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Having a Wales of a time – Day 3

Today’s day trip was to the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno, the weather was supposed to be a little dull & showery so we thought we could do a bit of shopping & visit a few indoor places. However, it turned out to be lovely, occasionally a few spots of rain but it was actually quite warm.

Llandudno was a surprise; a lovely big promenade, with some glamorous old Victorian hotels, a lovely old pier and a lovely main street with the original Victorian canopies.

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Nearby is the ‘Great Orme’, which is a limestone headland 679ft above sea level and from Llandudno you can take either a cable car, bus or tramway. We decided to take the cable car up & the tram down but after walking up the hill to the cable car, we found it was closed so we had to settle for the tram both ways, which was pretty annoying!

It was great fun, with the first leg of the tram passing through the streets of Llandudno & the second leg passing through grass & marsh land until you reach the summit. At the top was a few shops, viewing points & another crazy golf, which we unfortunately didn’t have time to play. Maybe on another day!

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After we’d been up the Great Orme, we walked through the town, looking at the shops before letting my little man have a play on the sand. He just loves eating it … that, shells, stones and, to be fair, anything.

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Then we had a little wander to the end of the pier before getting back in the car for the drive home :)

The funniest moment of the day was a lady having her fishcake stolen by a seagull! In broad daylight!! You better watch them seagulls if you go to Llandudno, they’re evil :D

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Yet another lovely day. We are currently waiting for our Sunday dinner to cook, feeling very tired after all the sea air :)

P.S. The ‘Yorkshires’ are rising! ????

Having a Wales of a time – Day 2

We woke up this morning & the sun was shining. What more do you want on your holidays, so to the seaside we went. My little man has only ever been on the beach once, and that was on a cold day in Holland so I was excited to give him a bucket & spade & let him have fun. All he did was eat the sand but it was an experience.

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We went to the nearby town of Rhyl. It is a typical British seaside town, a little run down with lots of amusements, fish & chips shops & ice cream parlours. There was, however, a lovely beach, a paddling pool, crazy golf, a big park and a nice long promenade.

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Unfortunately for me, I didn’t win the crazy golf but I was very close, came second by one point. Robbed I’d say :)

After a wander through the town, we drove to a place called Llyn Brenig, which is a reservoir which caters for fishing, cycling and walking. We hope to visit there later in the week to explore as it looks really nice.

Then it was back home to the mill for a sit in the garden in the sunshine followed by a BBQ :)

It was a ‘Rhyl’y good day :)

Having a Wales of a time – Day 1

So I’m back with the travel blog bug, this time we’re in North Wales, not that far from a town called Denbigh in a lovely renovated water mill.

We arrived with the sun beaming down on this lovely building which will be our home for a week.

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After a nosey around in the grounds which consists of old mill ponds & the river at the bottom of the garden, the boys went shopping while the girls looked after the little man. With a curry & a few glasses of wine, we were ready to hit the hay, ready for our first real day of the holiday, which may consist of a trip to the beach.

Dutch (Long) Dash – Day 9

Today is our last day at Center Parcs :( So this morning was mainly made up of packing & sorting out. We were able to use the facilities all day so once we were all packed up we decided to go go one final swim.

We left the bubba with a friend and went racing down the rapids and the slides which were awesome :) We stopped off at the Market Dome for a bite to eat before we went for an explore on the way back to the ferry for our trip home.

On the way back we visited a little town called Oudorrp, which was a very nice place, with a few shops and a windmill, well worth a visit.

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We also visited Brielle which was a much bigger town with a lot more shops and yet another windmill. We arrived about 5 minutes too late to go around it which was a shame. Then we made out way to the ferry for our journey back to England.

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Dutch (Long) Dash – Day 8

Today is a lazy ‘stay on site’ day, we chilled out in the morning with a nice long breakfast with plenty of tea, followed by a dip in the pool. We have been so lucky getting an apartment, literally, 2 minute walk from the Aquamundo!

This afternoon consisted of a DVD and a trip to the Adventure Factory to let the little one have a bounce on the bouncy castles. Orry and friends made an appearance for story time in Dutch too.

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On the evening we went to The Grill for tea which was lovely! I had chicken skewers which were delicious!! It sucks that we have to go home tomorrow.