Monday, August 18, 2008

Ferries, Coaches, and Very Long Names

After a delicious lunch of Cornish Pasty at Beaumaris, we piled back in the motor coach for a trip to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. This tiny Welsh village is famous for having the longest name in the UK, and one of the longest in the world, though the full name of Bangkok claims that particular record.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a total tourist trap. Coach-loads of vacationers disembark to buy souvenirs, stamp their passports, and have their photographs taken next to the railway sign. There are even workers who will come onto the coach dressed in traditional Welsh garb and pronounce the name for the admiring masses. Interestingly enough, the name itself is the result of a late 19th century publicity stunt! They wanted to have the longest named railway station in the UK, and so tacked on the extra words. The original name was merely Llanfair Pwllgwyngyl.

After a brief time to stretch and gawk, we boarded our English coach for one last time. Our destination was the port of Hollyhead. Taking the ferry from Hollyhead to Dublin was a pretty interesting experience all around. I've taken trains, planes, and more, but never a car ferry. The three hour journey across the Irish Sea went fairly quickly, especially because you could wander around at will, and scope out the observation deck.

The Port of Hollyhead

As we drew closer to Ireland, we had a few jet skis playing in the wake.

And then, our first glimpse of Ireland! Everybody in the group was pretty excited to see the Emerald Isle, and I was very excited to return to the site of my first ever trip overseas. I wouldn't be doing what I do today without that trip, and I was curious to see if after so many years of travel could quaint little Ireland still interest me.

I was to find that the answer was both yes and no...

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