We woke ourselves up early to catch breakfast. The owner, Emyr, was up and waiting for us downstairs. He was a pleasant, older fellow, and love to chat and tell us virtually anything about Wales that we might be curious about. And several things we weren’t curious about. Emyr put some Welsh male choir music for us for breakfast. It was – different.
Breakfast was a full Welsh Breakfast. This included two eggs, two sausages, two cuts of back bacon, a slice of fried toast, and one potato cake. Plus cereal, yogurt, juice and tea or coffee. Yulia and Sasha couldn’t eat so much, so I had to finish theirs as well. It was good to have something the size of my normal breakfast.
Once we ate and cleaned up, we headed out for Portmerion.
Portmerion is a resort on the Welsh coast near Penrhyndeudraeth that was used in the late 60’s for the TV show “The Prisoner”. There are many, many things that I am a complete and total geek about. Watching The Prisoner on Channel 9 after Ivar Haglund asked for more British TV (accompanied by several large donations) back in the 70’s, is one of my earliest nerd memories. The show would loop over and over and I watched the whole series many times. Visiting the Village has been something I have wanted since I was 10 years old.
It was a short drive to Portmerion from our town, a few minutes at most. As we drove into the drive up to the resort’s car park we passed the castle that was used as the “hospital” in the series. We parked, and waked up to the gate. the ticket to tour the ground was inexpensive. We paid and were welcomed into the Village.
Yulia and Sasha were both a bit hesitant at first. They figured that this would be another of my quick visits to some nerd location and we would be off. Their disposition changed as soon as we approached the first archway. One of the things to understand about Portmerion is that it isn’t just an old movie set. It was built in it’s own right as an architectural work of passion by it’s original owner, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. He spent his life collecting and saving architectural bits and incorporating them into the resort, and merging the architecture with the natural surroundings. Most likely it influenced my own love of architecture.
As we walked up to the archway to enter the village, I felt comfortable. There was some assembly of bits in my head as I didn’t have the spatial locations of all these amazing buildings in my head, but I knew them all. Yulia and Sasha didn’t know any of these things. They didn’t know what to expect, and they were amazed.
The first location I went to was #6’s house, now The Prisoner Shop in the village. The door used in the show isn’t used now. I found it around the back side. I stared at it a bit and Yulia got a picture of me standing there. I tried to quit being such a geek and we walked down through the village to the beach. Yulia was impressed with the place and couldn’t stop commenting on how amazing it was.
We made our way down and went out onto the estuary. the tides go out so far in the area that the entire bay is left dry. they actually print a warning time on your ticket to get off the beach at a certain time because when it came in you could get trapped out on the sands.
We eventually made our way back to the shore and started back up into the village. We climbed up a set of stairs that I recognized as my earliest recognition of the show. I can still visualize it in Black and White from our old TV. It hadn’t changed.
We worked our way back and had some expresso and snacks in one of the cafes by the piazza.
Looking across the amazing architecture, personal history, and geek mecca, I wan’t sure what to do. By myself, I could simply geek out, stay here all day, and just run about this place that I have toured a million times in my mind. But that wasn’t going to fly. So I listened into one of the guided tours, then headed back up with Yulia and Sasha to Battery Square, the plaza where Number 6’s house is. Yulia and Sasha wanted to take another walk on the beach, which gave me time to write.
I took up a table in the shop across from the original jacket from the series, and wrote.
I got to write for about an hour across from Six’s while Yulia and Sasha had a great walk in the heat on the beach. That would do. That would do nicely.
I really didn’t need a t-shirt souvenir, or something like that. This was much better.
We headed back to the B&B, and Sasha watched the original Prisoner while Yulia and I cleaned up. We rested a bit and were going to head back into Penrhyndeudraeth to find some dinner. When we told Emyr we were headed to Penrhyndeudraeth he highly recommended we head to Criccieth instead. He told us of the castle there, the history, and driving directions several times. So naturally, we went to Penrhyndeudraeth.
As we found out, there wasn’t more than a Pub and a road crossing in Penrhyndeudraeth. I guess Emyr, who had lived his entire life here, was right. Hmmm. We drove out to Criccieth and found an amazing seaside village. Complete with Castle, seashore, everything. it was beautiful. We ended up eating a dinner in a small local tea shop. I mean small as in I had to crouch down the whole time not to hit my head on the hanging teapots on the ceiling. We had some very excellent sandwiches, soup and quiche along with a very traditional tea to end a very excellent day.
Be seeing you…