Sometimes the best most random conversations happen in pubs.
Our Canal boat experience ended yesterday as we returned the Golden Meadow back to Anglo Welsh in Trevor. The last few days of the trip were primarily spent touring around the tourist town of Llangollen. It is very nice little town that reminds me very much of places within the Muskokas of Ontario. It is a town that leads to outdoor adventure. The last piece of civilization before going camping or the first as you come out of the bush. The place when you have been away from most creature comforts that you come to in order to get an ice cream and just enjoy the day. The other beauty about Llangollen is that it was open when we got there so we got to see it in all of its glory.
The canal starts at this point and water is fed into the canal from a source just about a mile west of the town from the River Dee. From the town to the source no canal boats are allowed and the only thing that travels along the water are kayakers and one horse drawn tourist boat. It is a throw back to the original boats for which the canals were built but unfortunately looks like a poor substitute for getting on a real boat I am afraid.
For our last night on the boat we headed back toward the town of Trevor. The distance really isn’t that long but there are some very thin parts of the canal that require one way traffic. Unfortunately there is no signal system at all on the canal so what is required is for someone on the boat to get out and walk ahead to see if the way is clear and to act as a stop if anyone comes up while you are coming through. It is fine if the thin areas are short but these were quite long and required fairly long walks by Sarah and Mom. It also means that the trip slows down as you wait for the go ahead signal to come back down the path.
Our final night was spent outside of the Sun Trevor pub. Mostly picked as a way of getting something to eat that would allow us to have an empty kitchen with nothing to clean as well as be close to Trevor to be able to deliver the boat by the 9 am drop off time the next morning. As it was such a short trip to the overnight stop we got there by 3 in the afternoon and as Sarah and mom read and showered Dad and I went up to the pub to make reservations for the evenings meal. Pubs in the U.K. are amazing places where a truly social atmosphere exists. Within seconds of our arrival at the bar we were entrenched in conversation with the local crowd and discussion quickly evolved into a wide variety of travel related stories. Everyone around started to jump in essentially centering around everyones love of New Zealand. As it seams I was the only one who either had not been there or did not have a ticket to go this year. People faded in and out of the conversation over the next 2 hours as it evolved from topic to topic very much as if we had all been friends for years. In the end as people had finished their meals or drinks we all said our good byes and headed our separate ways.
Pub lifestyle in the U.K. really does have the bar scene in North America beat in many ways. At home people tend to stick to themselves a lot more while here pubs really are the social hub of places and tend to be very vibrant places. Sooner or later North America will catch on… I have faith.