Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Farewell to Llandudno

Llandudno is full of amusements, like a pier with an arcade where you can throw away all your money. The first night we saw a truck arrive with a little teacup ride on the back, in preparation for the arrival of all the Easter tourists. There are shops selling rock (which is in fact candy) and naughty postcards and scarves with Welsh dragons on. We went back the next night and put some 2p pieces in this machine, occasionally getting the piles to fall over the edge. "Jackpot," we cry, collecting 40p after putting in a pound or so! We did manage to leave with "winnings" in the kids' pockets, and a good time was had by all.

The next day, which must be day 3, we went up the Orme, a big lump of limestone at the end of town. It's quite a hike, but you can take a tram up the steep hill. We saw the famous goats from down below, but didn't run into any up top.

Before setting off, we got ourselves a new kite, since when you are on top of a lump of limestone, you must have a kite. This kite was a batwing, made of plastic, and cost even less than the ill-fated Thomas kite. Lucky, coz it didn't last a second! The string was attached, the kite was poised to go, the wind came and ripped the keel right off that darn kite. We managed to catch all the pieces and the kite will reappear later in our story.

After looking around at the top, we headed for the Bronze Age copper mine. Elaine was very brave and trekked through the teeny little underground tunnels, even though it was pretty scary. Lucky we had hard hats, since we adults each bonked our heads more than once. The story of this mine is quite cool. Tons (literally) of Victorian tailings were removed with large diggers when someone thought they would beautify the area, and the miles of ancient tunnels and shafts were found. They had thought the old workings were Roman, but had to rethink when they found tools made of antlers and stone in the mines. My kids like to recall the sign that said that lots of the tunnels were worked by 5- and 6-year-olds. Pretty keen-oh. We had a cuppa tea and bought some pretty rocks in the gift shop.

Back down at sea level, we discovered the other beach! Llandudno is on a little isthmus, with the posher beach on one side and the rocky beach on the other. Over the years, people have piled up the white rocks (bits of the Great Orme, one imagines) into circular fort-like things. Arthur loves a fort, and found wood to make a seat, piled up more rocks to keep the wind out and generally enjoyed the engineering and lugging of heavy objects.

Finally we said farewell to Llandudno and headed off to Harlech on the west coast. Since tomorrow the kids are in school and I won't have to fight with them for computer time, I'll finish my story then! I shall leave you now with another Llandudno pillar box, this time a Victorian number with complementary red Mini.

PS. Results of the spiky-thing contest to be announced shortly!