We woke up in Tremadog to a crisp, rainy morning. The air smelled a little like being by a boat dock, which was strange since we were nowhere close to anything like that. It had that strangely comforting salty, seaside freshness.
We hit the road again with a destination of Shrewsbury, just back over the “border” into England. We stopped for the morning in the little village of Portmeirion. The original plan was to go to Portmeirion for dinner the night before, but I got confused when I couldn’t find a single open place for food other than a booked-out hotel restaurant. After getting lost on country roads that seemed to be swallowed by the trees above them, we found a parking lot and wandered up to an “entrance” to the village complete with a ticket fee.
It soon became apparent that Portmeirion was not a typical town, but a historical attraction (one that closes at 5pm–hence, no dinner). It was built in the mid-1900’s by a Welsh architect to be a “perfect” self-contained village. Nobody lives there permanently–it’s operated as a hotel and series of cottages which are built into the cliffy grounds.
It was one of the most unique places I’d ever been to. The grounds were full of mint-colored buildings covered with intricate finishes and lined with cast-iron benches. The sky was rainy but the town was full of lush green trees and a fiercely aromatic floral scent. The adjoining beach was full of sand bars and sweeping, shallow water. It was almost entirely empty. The entire town looked like it was from the 90’s computer game “Myst”, lost somewhere deep in the forest.
We perused some gift and ceramics shops tucked into the artsy structures of Portmeirion and inhaled some “breakfast baps” (thick slabs of bacon on a roll) before hitting the road. We arrived in Shrewsbury to a flurry of pedestrians and congested city streets. It was a marked changed from the sleepy towns of our last few nights. Our hotel, the “Loopy Shrew” came complete with an espresso martini bar and live music by the front entrance. Can I live here?
After wandering through town and doing some entirely unnecessary souvenir (er, clothing) shopping, we spent the rest of the day and evening taste-testing our final pints of local beer, dancing to 90’s songs at Albert’s Shed, and stumbling to bed regretting that espresso martini nightcap (except not really).
The next day, it was time to go. Return our funky rental car and hop on one more airplane. We take for granted how quick and easy it is to move our bodies from one continent to another, over vast oceans that we barely notice over the din of in-flight movies. It’s easy to forget to appreciate that we’re standing on ground that’s halfway around the world. Traveling is about relishing in the fact that your body is physically far from everything you know. Comfort comes in that presence.
Comfort comes in even simple journeys, like lugging old suitcases across a foot bridge to a car park that’s way too far from our hotel. Appreciating the movement between places and that we’re still here, with our feet on this foreign ground, for a few more moments before another effortless pilgrimage across oceans.