Llanfair P. G.
A few weeks ago I attended a conference in Liverpool on algorithms. I had a paper in the “WAOA” workshop, on the problem of setting up a min-cost k-edge-connected graph (which means, even if k-1 of the network cables fail, the remaining graph should be connected). This was part of a conjoined set of conferences called ALGO, which takes place in Europe every year. It is the third consecutive ALGO that I have attended and it is nice to visit a familiar event, even though it is not in a familiar place.
This was my first time staying in the UK. The English beer that I got to try was great; there is lots of “cask-conditioned” ale there, which is a method whose tasty results I have only had in C’est What of Toronto and The Duke of Wellington of Waterloo. Despite the stereotypes, all the food I had in Liverpool was very tasty; it seems in fact Liverpool had a very conscious renovation in the last few years to be tourist-friendly. Performers play music of The Beatles everywhere. I also got to hear a spontaneous ukulele performance in a pub (thankfully, not a Beatles cover).
My dad’s side of my family is from Wales (Pritchard is a mutation of ap richard, meaning son of Richard in Welsh) and I spent the weekend after the conference in northern Wales. Fun fact: the conditional probability that your first name is David, given your last name is Pritchard, is quite high, since David is the patron saint of Wales. Thus there are lots of people with my name. If it seemed reasonable to have a publication by the age of 9, I would add their papers to my CV!
I drove to Anglesey specifically to check out a place which had always been a legend in my mind. My great aunt, who knows more about Wales than I do, always told me about the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the longest name of any populated place in the world. It mostly consists of a gift shop whose size matches that of the name. (The double-L is pronounced like a “ch” sound from the back of the throat.)
I stayed in Llanberis the first night before walking up Snowdon, and in Llandudno the second night. Llandudno had great fresh seafood to offer. I also briefly visited Betws-y-Coed to catch dinner: slow-braised lamb shank and a leek-potato mash, rich Bara Brith for dessert, with complementary Welsh mead and Welsh cakes. I spent the last day visiting the castle at Conwy.
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