We drove north of the middle of nowhere to park ourselves in Bala, a small (kind of middle of nowhere) town in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.
Accommodation here was an interesting little hostel where the matronly proprietor set out her expectations of us on arrival. (We were lucky to avoid the lessons on making your bed, which are apparently common.) The thing with these hostels is that they don’t actually save you much. This one was still £49 for a double room with shared bathroom. That’s not much of a saving on some of the excellent B&B’s which might be £60 or £70, but with a full breakfast and nicer rooms. The advantage of the hostel of course is that you can cook your own meals in the kitchen, so you do save there. Either way, Britain ain’t cheap.
We spent most of our time in Bala at the pub and lying by the lake not in the sun, while people pretended it was summer. It was actually quite entertaining watching the holiday makers trying to do all their summer activities (sailing, swimming, cricket on the lawn and ice cream) when it was clearly too cold for all of that.
Highlight of the pub was listening to an old Welshman speaking Welsh and dipping into English in the most heavy of accents. Born and bred in Bala.
On departing Bala the hostel boss suggested we stop in Chester on our drive north, so we did. The sun was shining in Chester and we really enjoyed our few hours there. Another walled city like Bath, the shopping seemed better (we were only looking) and it seemed a little less fancy and a little more friendly than Bath.
Next stop – the Lakes District.