b's conference was located in bangor, a small, hilly city on the sea. it was ideally located for a day of driving through snowdonia, the most beautiful countryside i've ever seen.
yes, it was overcast, and that's normal for this part of the country. the near-constant drizzle creates a landscape so green and lush, it's just astounding. and perfect for grazing sheep!
sheep were grazing the countryside everywhere - in the fields, up the mountain slopes - everywhere. bliss!
sheep = woolly fiber goodness, of course. i wound my way through the mountains via back country lanes and found myself at the trefriw woolen mills.
unfortunately, the working mills and museum were closed but i did pick up some lovely grey-green aran tweed - enough for a sweater. then it was off to ar-y-gweill in llanrwst (don't you just love these names? don't ask me to pronounce them.)
have you ever seen a 400g ball of wool before?! me neither. apparently they're quite common in this neck of the woods but wow - HUGE! my purchases here include a sweater's worth of dk weight wool/alpaca/silk (deep brown) from sirdar, which i rarely see in the states. i wanted to only buy yarn i can't easily find at home and the lovely shop owner was gracious enough to 1) help me, and 2) allow me to photograph her store. (thank you to the menai knitting group on ravelry for the recommendations!)
besides sheep, the other wonder wales has to offer is a proliferation of ancient, mossy castles. of course i couldn't turn down the opportunity to run around castles so i set off to explore a couple nearby. first up was beaumaris, and you're going to have to excuse me here because i just couldn't possibly choose between my favorite photos. beaumaris, on the isle of anglesey, was built by edward i - as many of the welsh castles were, in order to "stamp his authority on the welsh". this one was was never actually finished but boy is she gorgeous:
*sigh* too beautiful. i was in heaven.
i found myself with a little more time on my hands so i decided to go and explore caernarfon - headquarters of the prince of wales! this castle was definitely a little less rustic - and a little more touristy - but was very cool nonetheless. they let you climb all of the turrets!
and then my camera battery started dying, and we drove back to london and came home. good-bye, europe! i'll see you next year!