Saturday 1 October 2011

A trip to Betws-y-coed

Imagine you are taking an overland trip through some of the most beautiful scenery you could ever see . . . and then suddenly, just when you think it can't get any better, you round the bend and there you are . . . in one of the most gorgeous Welsh Villages , nestled in a beautiful valley in Snowdonia National Park. Betwys-a-coed (and I'm not even going to try to pronounce that folks) is known to be, not only the Principle village of the park, but also the most picturesque and a popular destination for the outdoor enthusiast!

We've been enjoying a beautiful Indian Summer this past week . . . long overdue, especially after the summer that never was! On Thursday we took ourselves off to Betws-y-coed. I had long wanted to go there, having been charmed by the name, which in English apparently means "Little Chapel in the Wood."

We spent a full day there and I was charmed at every turn. This village is where the River Conwy meets its three tributaries flowing from the west, the Llugwy, the Lledr and the Machno. Stunning doesn't begin to describe the setting.

Much of the village was built during Victorian times . . . and it shows very well, with the buildings all being built of local blue stone, sandstone, and having slate rooves . . . all surrounded by dense woodlands and magnificent mountain scenes. The beauty of the area is enhanced by cascading waterfalls, hill-top lakes, river pools and ancient bridges. Ever since the Victorian artists flocked to the area and formed the first artist colony it has been a mecca for those that appreciate its unique natural beauty.

Here are some pictures of the water views I took on the day. Stunning doesn't even begin to describe what we saw. Of exceptional interest are the many bridges in the area. Pont-y-Pair (the bridge of the cauldron), built in 1468, is buffeted by foaming water after heavy rain. A number of sign-posted walks in the surrounding countryside start near this bridge. A mile or so away is the Miner's Bridge, on the road to Capel Curig, where the miners crossed the river on a steep ladder to their work.

Of course we had to visit the village's namesake . . . the beautiful St Michael's chapel, which is indeed in the middle of the woods!

Is it not beautifully picturesque? I thought it was. In fact next to the water views, it was my favourite place I saw that day . . .

It was quite obviously still in use to this day, having been built a very long time ago . . . surrounded by beautiful trees and many very old headstones, which I found quite fascinating . . . and beautiful too.

The old railway station stands out, having been turned into a beautiful selection of eateries, shops etc. We had lunch there and then realized we could have had our lunch in an actual converted rail car . . . an experience we will save now for another time.

We did treat ourselves to a visit through the Railway Museum, with it's extensive miniature railway displays, and also a shop that sold anything you could ever want to use in a miniature railway setting, etc. Todd was very fascinated with all of the railway memorabilia and I thought the small scenes were as fascinating to take in as would be a doll's house. The attention to detail was amazing . . . most scenes looked so very real to me. I really enjoyed it!

All in all we had a fabulous day there. There is so much to see in that area, we could not possibly do it in one day! We shall have to go back for more!

I shall leave you with a little video I took of the falls down by the Pont-y-Pair Bridge and the River Llugwy. This has now gone onto our list of places to take the Grandsons next summer. I just know they will enjoy a trip on the miniature railway through the woods!

Here's a tempting little treat you can make for yourself or a loved one for Saturday morning breakfast, always assuming you have Croissants in of course!!! This is truly indulgent! Have a wonderful Saturday everyone!

(This one has Ginger Conserve in it with the chocolate)

*Chocolate and Fruit Filled Croissants*
Serves 1
Printable Recipe

These are so easy to whip up you’ll be doing them all the time. You can multiply the amounts to make as many as you want. I hate to call it a recipe, because it is and it isn’t. What I can do though, is to tell you how scrumdiddlyumptious they are !!! I think the word is moreish!

1 fresh baked butter croissant (you can find these in any good in-store bakery or local Deli)
1 bar of good quality milk chocolate (I use Green and Black’s Organic)
2 TBS of good quality fruit preserves (the one above I used Ginger conserve because ginger goes so well with chocolate, and in the one below I used Black Cherry, because, well, as you know cherries go really well with chocolate too!)
Icing Sugar for dusting

(This one has black cherry conserve in it with the chocolate)

Pre-heat your oven to 200*C/400*F. Take your croissant and split it in half. Place it on an oven tray, opened out. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and scatter them over the open croissant. Place in the oven and heat until the croissant is nicely warmed and the chocolate is all gooey and melted in the centre.

In the meantime place your fruit preserves into a small microwave able dish and place it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to heat it up. Take it out and give it a stir.
Remove the warmed Croissant from the oven and place it on a plate. Spoon the warmed preserves over and close it all up. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

In The English Kitchen today, a delicious Gingered Raspberry & Pear Cobbler!

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