After having brilliantly warm sunshine and blue skies for almost two weeks - both on Anglesey and at home - I woke that morning to a very dull grey day. As it hadn't improved by lunch time I decided to go to Pili Palas, one of the very few places on the island which I'd never visited before and where it didn't really matter if it wasn't sunny. Unfortunately, as with many attractions, dogs weren't allowed in but I found a nice shady area in the car park and with no sun around I knew they would be okay in the van while I was away.
Now never having been to this place before I didn't really know what it was like, but the leaflet I'd picked up from the camp site reception promised 'lush vegetation, waterfalls, and butterflies flying all around you' so I rather expected to see quite a large indoor area with dozens of brightly coloured butterflies flitting here and there. However, what I thought I would see and what I actually saw were two quite different things.
The butterfly house was much smaller than I imagined and rather cramped, with a narrow path all the way round and an artificial stream running through the centre, crossed by a couple of wooden bridges. I could hear running water but couldn't really see any waterfalls as there was so much vegetation around the stream, and the only butterflies I saw 'flying all around me' were three electric blue ones which never stayed still long enough for me to take a photo.
Now I don't know if it may be too early in the season or if many butterflies were hiding in the vegetation but I only saw two other different kinds and most of those seemed to be permanently feeding on bowls of fruit, though they were so still they looked like they'd died in an upright position. There were a few cute little birds flying about though - I've been reliably informed since I got home that these were Java Sparrows - and I managed to get some shots of those.
It didn't take long to walk round the butterfly house - one circuit and I'd seen everything, though I went round twice in case I'd missed something - then from there I went into the bird house. With just four large birds, including a sulphur-crested cockatoo and a brightly-coloured parrot - and for some strange reason three of the four were all called Charlie - it was nothing to write home about and I was in and out in just a couple of minutes. Next came the 'bug zone', 'lizard land' and the snake house, where most of the residents seemed to be either asleep or in hiding, then it was on to the meerkats. There were only three - John, Paul and George - though when I asked a young assistant if there was, or had been, a Ringo I just got a blank look and an indifferent shoulder shrug. Finally a walk round the outdoor pets corner and farm yard showed me the usual rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, pigs and donkeys then I retired to the on-site cafe for a much-needed coffee, which was surprisingly very good.
On my way out I had a look round the gift shop then back at the van I released the dogs and took them for a walk round the perimeter of the car park, then drove down into Menai Bridge town for a quick look round the shops, which took me all of about ten minutes. It was still a very cloudy and grey afternoon and with no point going on to anywhere else I just drove back to the camp site and spent the rest of the day reading and watching a bit of tv.
Thinking back over my visit to Pili Palas I had to admit feeling more than a little disappointed with the place. It certainly didn't live up to my expectations, though with an adventure playground and indoor play zone it's probably more suited to kids under the age of ten. The leaflet says it's listed as one of the ten top attractions in North Wales but to be honest I've been to far better places, and at an adult price of £7.95 I thought it rather expensive for what was there. However, I've been, I've seen it, I can cross it off my list of places to visit, and next time it's a dull day I'll try to find somewhere better.
- Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it