Today being Sunday, we will avoid rail travel as there are bound to be works on the line. For breakfast, we found a pub called The Square Bottle, which is owned by Wetherspoons and therefore offers the same breakfast menu that we enjoyed in Swansea.
At this time in the morning, there are relatively few people about in Chester and it is a good moment to take a few photos without people getting in the way.
After breakfast, we took the bus to Wrexham. This town too is very quiet on a Sunday morning (until the church bells start banging and disturbing the peace, that is). Everything is closed. This is bad luck if you need the toilet as all public conveniences are locked up, including disabled toilets.
Fortunately, we found a Wetherspoons pub that was open. This one is in a magnificent old bank building, whose name it has kept: The North & South Wales Bank.
We had a look around a largely closed town, which does contain some interesting features and we should probably visit it on another occasion during the week.
Today, though, we decided we should take a bus to somewhere else.
We spent 20 minutes at the bus station where the toilets were locked up tight, including the disabled toilets (do you spot a pattern?), waiting for a bus to Mold or, in Welsh, Yr Wyrddgrug. Though apparently dissimilar, it is thought that both names refer to the motte of the old castle.
Mold was even quieter than Wrexham but is a pleasant enough small town, especially on a sunny day like today. It even has a work of art in the small bus station, “Machina” by Sebastien Boyesen. Not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, of course.
We looked for somewhere to have lunch. Choice was limited because every cafe and restaurant that we found was closed (no surprises there, then). The only exception we could find was the Golden Cape, a Wetherspoons pub. Inevitably, the pub was crowded but I eventually got served. We had a reasonable if not exciting lunch.
Mold has a few rather pretty buildings, such as the pocket-sized Flintshire County Hall (built around 1911) or that originally built for the Territorial Force Association. I don’t know the date of this one.
After lunch we worked our way back to the small bus station and investigated the availability of buses. We found that the timetable of nearly every bus route showed no service on Sunday. Everyone in Mold stays at home on Sunday, apparently, unless they go to Chester or destinations along that route.
According to the timetable, there was a bus to Chester in 35 minutes but then one turned up out of the blue. During the journey we both found ourselves falling asleep. Perhaps it was a combination of early rising, travelling around and the warm weather. When the bus dropped us off at Chester station, we could think of nothing better than to return to the hotel and take a long nap.
In the evening, refreshed, we set out again, walking along the canal towards the town centre. There are always things to see beside the water, whether birds and buildings, people and barges.
The town itself is always picturesque and the old buildings have been carefully maintained, restored or sometimes copied, faithfully in the original style. Everywhere you look in this town there are beautiful sights to be seen and as the sun moves across the sky, the changing light shows features in a different aspect or reveals details you have previously missed.
A city like Paris shows some sort of overall plan and a consistency of design whereas Chester is like a jewel box in which artifacts of different styles and inspiration are thrown together somehow creating harmony out of their disparity. Perhaps the unifying factor is quality.
After supper, we went for a further walk. Tigger’s inner pigeon was guiding us so that although we seemed to take turnings at random, according to whether the streets they revealed looked worth visiting, we nonetheless gradually approached the hotel, but by a circuitous route.
Sunday tends to be a low-key day on these trips because we avoid rail travel and are therefore faced with the often inadequate Sunday bus services. Today too, we took time out for a nap because we were both tired.
Even so, we took another look at Wrexham, made the acquaintance of Mold and saw some parts of Chester that were new to us so, all in all, we didn’t do too badly.