|St. George's Hotel, Llandudno|
"I am highly skilled at stumbling around and gawking," I replied, "and at my age, acting stunned isn't much of a stretch."
"It's odd that you should use the word 'stretch', Watson," Holmes continued. "I was about to ask whether you'd mind stretching our little sightseeing holiday into an overnight affair."
"Not at all, if you think it wise," I answered, "especially if there's a chance of a good meal somewhere along the way." I was suffering fleeting visions of camping overnight in the woods behind the castle, and hoping very much that Holmes wasn't inclined in that direction.
"Don't worry, old friend," he said. "We are very close to Llandudno, 'The Queen Of The Welsh Resorts', where -- not to be overly presumptuous -- I have already booked us rooms for the night."
"You know me too well," I admitted, and he went off to call a cab.
After a short and very pleasant ride, we found ourselves at the base of an imposing rock formation -- limestone, from the look of it -- and Holmes spoke for the first time in some minutes. "We'll walk from here, driver, though we'll pay your regular fare to the hotel," he said. And soon we were walking along a gradually ascending road.
|The Little Orme|
"Just a bit of a hike," Holmes replied.
"Would you not rather ride?" I inquired.
"I think you'll enjoy the view from the top," he responded.
"This is a big rock!" I said, and Holmes grinned.
"Its mate is even bigger, if not more rugged," he said.
"Do we actually have to climb two of these, Holmes?" I asked, beginning to struggle for breath.
"One climb will be sufficient, from the look of you," he replied. "If you can make it," he added.
"I'll be all right," I said, stalling for a moment, and we resumed.
|Llandudno as seen from the Little Orme|
with the Great Orme in the background
"You're standing on what they call the Little Orme, Watson," said Holmes. "There's the Great Orme in the distance. And near the far end of that lovely curved beach is our destination -- St. George's Hotel!"
We walked down the far side of the Little Orme and proceeded along the beach, a narrow strip of perfectly maintained sand separating the Irish Sea from an array of hotels, restaurants, and boutiques.
"Let's check in, sample the local cuisine, and do some more bumbling and gawking, Watson," Holmes suggested.
At that point, any suggestion including a hot meal would have been welcome. But I shouldn't have worried.
|Llandudno as seen from the Great Orme|
with the Little Orme in the background
The scenery was wonderful, and we were back in our rooms again before sundown.
"Tomorrow we'll catch the morning train for Holyhead, Watson," said Holmes as we prepared to retire. "There will be more beautiful sights along the way, which will serve as meagre compensation, to be sure. The heart of our mission is so dark!"
Once again I found myself unable to argue with my astute companion.
"Don't forget to pick up more postcards," said he.
"Thanks for the reminder," said I.