Holyhead – A Nano Excerpt


This is a short excerpt from some of my Nano writing these past two weeks. It describes after we docked, arriving in Wales, and drove off the ferry.

​From the moment we docked at Holyhead, a calm came over me. On the voyage east, I was a little queasy. I’m not sure if it was the motion of the water, the water itself, the nervousness or all of the above. The Irish Sea is known to be a little rough, and our ferry was one of the faster ones, taking half the time as others at two hour travel time, so it’s possible that was part of it. Part of me wanted to go out on the deck when my kids asked me to, but my stomach wouldn’t have it. To be honest, I didn’t want to go as much as I wanted to go because they wanted me to experience it with them.

As we pulled in, I could see the rocks on the edge of Angelsey and I knew I was home. My queasiness seemed to disappear. I was in open-mouthed wonder seeing new sights. I had never been to Holyhead before. Again, it was one of those places that hadn’t’t ever been on my radar other than as a footnote in the Harry Potter fandom for their champion Quidditch team.

After a few mistaken turns we were on our way. Once we got on the road from the docks, it was hard for me to pay attention to where we were going as I tried to absorb all of the Welshness on the island that I’d only heard of. In 2009, I was too anxious to drive over the bridge and visit the island, and now, having arrived by ferry I had no choice but to explore some of it on our way to the bridge.

The first sight to greet me was the The Celtic Gateway. The Gateway is a stainless steel pedestrian and bicycle, wheelchair accessible bridge that joins the ferry harbor and the train station with the town centre, cutting the travel time drastically. It was kind of an amazing sight, bright and shiny even on the grey, rainy afternoon. It was in striking contrast to all of the other many ancient and architecturally less modern places that I had seen here.

One of the things that I noticed about Wales (and Northern Ireland for that matter) is that there is a town or city, sometimes really large, sometimes small and then a long stretch of rural road and then the next town. I’m not sure if this was a planned thing or if it’s just that their suburbs haven’t grown to the extent as those in the US. There seemed to be a welcome to the town sign, with the admonishment to drive carefully and another at the end of town thanking you for visiting. It was helpful for those of us who had no idea where we were or where we were going. It gave us the opportunity to get our bearings.

We drove straight through Angelsey to cross the bridge into Bangor. Because of how late we’d be arriving at the hotel, and knowing that we were heading to a very small town, I didn’t want to arrive when it was too late to have dinner. I thought that we’d have a chance to explore [th] Angelsey on our way back to the ferry on Wednesday.

That ended up not happening despite having a very small list for sightseeing on the island. At least I know when I return that Angelsey will be a priority; maybe we’ll even plan an overnight stay.

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