This was the DAY 1 of the 3D2N Wales excursion on Friday, 19th December 2014. Alhamdulillah, the day was a bright and sunny day when we woke up. The first thing was to pick up the rental car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Coventry.
Initially, I did the car booking with full payment via the website about two weeks before the D-day. We did a comparison with a few other websites and found that Enterprise Rent-A-Car offered the cheapest rate. We thought so too at that moment.
However…I just did not know why..about a week before going, the rate went down close to 40%!! We were pretty baffled. Then what happened next was that we booked another car with the cheaper rate to save our budget, naturally.
Now, the rush to cancel ´that´ online booking started. Apparently, you can book the car and pay online but you CANNOT do the cancellation online. Alright…lovely.
We had to call about three times to the customer service. First, to report the cancellation. Second, to inform the local office about the cancellation and lastly, to rectify if the cancellation was done or not. Not effective service.
We did not get any cancellation report via email whatsoever and we demanded one just to be on the safe side. The ´Kiasu´ self inside me kicked in..hehe. Guess what, the refund would be completed within 5 business days.
All in all..a lovely officer handled our call with great patience which I should applaud her for. Thank you! Alhamdulillah.
We received a sky blue, brand new Renault Scenic with a built in really neat GPS which I forgot to snap a picture of. Totally fell in love with it! It reminded me of Perodua MyVi but more spacious and comfortable.
After picking up friends, we headed for the Chirk Castle. One of my aims of visiting Wales is to check out the castle. I haven´t been to any of the castles in the UK, not even the Buckingham Palace when the Queen was away for her holiday (Royal Day Out).
No particular reason. I stumbled upon an itinerary for Wales here while planning out for places to visit and just pick one castle on the way to Llangollen.
Since we would be going to visit Conwy Castle on the second day, we just had a preliminary view of Chirk Castle first.
On the exterior, much of the castles in Wales look pretty similar. Check out the castle lists here.
It was a pretty nice drive from Coventry to Chirk Castle because of the bright blue sky and we saw rainbow when we reached the castle!! We were exhilarated like kids. Hehehe..
After we parked the car, there was a slight drizzle but we still went out without an umbrella hoping that the rains wouldn´t get worse and indeed it wasn´t. Alhamdulillah.
We were dazzled so much by the nature´s beauty that we forgot to check out the ticket counter first before climbing up the hill. The information office is just right next to the parking lot and all four of us missed that building. Talk about clueless! Lol..
The next best thing was, we thought that the entrance of the castle was from the garden and again being dazzled by the tidiness of the garden, we snapped some pictures first.
Alright…next to the correct door!
Well…yet again, we were pretty close to the right one.
A man dressed up with fine ancient Welsh costume, perhaps during the castle´s era approached us and then we were caught of entering the castle without a ticket! Hahaha…he told us to get any one of us to go back down to the hill with the shuttle van just right outside of the castle´s door.
When I tried to snap a good picture of the castle, a van was sitting right in front of it and I grumbled, ¨Why this van is here? I hope it´s out of the way!¨ Well…my curiousity was answered a bit later. Hehehe..
The shutlle van was actually for picking up the tourists visiting the castle from the parking lot where the information center was. Hehehe.
We tried some of the warrior costumes without even paying the admission. I felt kinda sorry, really! But none of us was willing to go back down the hill after that hiking up the castle.
Snap, snap and snap some more pictures and listened to the guy explaining about the castle. We were reluctant to get inside the castle as some of us had already visited some castles in the UK and they said they were the same.
Being a good spirit, no time shall be wasted waiting. Yeahhh!!
We did not thoroughly research about what Llangollen has to offer or what not and we drove and drove according to the neat GPS for LLangollen.
What I really like about the UK is that you could key in the postcode to search for the location, for example for LLangollen is LL20 and the GPS or Google Map will show the result quite accurately.
Easy and systematic. No headache.
But..we are talking about Snowdonia here and we were surrounded by rolling hills and mountains!! Where were we heading??!! The rain was getting heavier and we lost our way even with the super neat GPS. Hehehe..
No sweat…we just..lalalala…enjoyed the scenery in the rain and disturbing the sheeps grazing the grass with the color coded fur for recognition, I guess..^^
And suddenly we passed by the Llangollen town after crossing an old bridge with a steady stream of river underneath it without we even noticing it. Hohoho..we laughed a lot in this trip. Alhamdulillah for the great time and travel partners.
Time was running out. We haven´t prayed Zohor and Asar yet so we had to rush to check in into Travelodge and did our ´wajib´ (compulsory) deeds. Alhamdulillah.
Travelodge is pretty cheap accommodation in the UK for budget traveller and if you are in a group of three or four, you can share the family room with an extra bed! You may need to pay extra for the WiFi though. All basic facilities are there. No kitchen though.
We booked a night stay each in two separate Travelodge.
One in Wrexham and another in Porthmadog for this 3D2N trip.
After praying, we refreshed ourselves and had some sandwiches which we packed from home. Travelling in winter means that the daylight is scarce. Hence by 4 p.m., it is already Maghrib and….the only activity that comes to our mind was shopping at Cheshire Oak Outlet. ^^
It was about thirty minutes drive from our Travelodge in Wrexham to Cheshire Oak Outlet.
I didn´t buy anything at Cheshire Oak Outlet except for Costa Coffee´s tumbler even after ´tawaf´this area for two times and close to three hours.
Cheshire Oak Outlet is quite a huge area, be ready to splurge! My friends told me that we would better come here during Boxing Day….which I would rather avoid because of the crowd. Heheh…
Make sure you check the opening times before you come from their website here. Most days they open until 8 pm but on weekends they close earlier.