A Travellerspoint blog

July 2011

A Lost Day in Wales . . .

. . . Things begin to run together -- or I've had one too many ales!


First, the ale thing. I alway surprise myself when traveling because I drink beer. At home, unless I am with buddies chatting, I rarely drink beer -- so I pint is quite a lot of beer for me in one sitting. Before you think "me thinks she doth protest too much," I'll move on.

I was looking at my photos an know that I forgot to mention a couple of places. On my trip around the Llyn peninsula, I saw a sigh for a place called Hell Mouth, and ever interested in things related to hell, I took the turn. It was a beautiful and wild semi-circular beach.The wind was stiff and the surf was high. People were out on surf boards in their wet suits. It was awesome. There was even a tea vendor at the parking lot.

One thing that I found different from the US is that all roads have frequent parking areas, and many of the parking areas have lunch wagons that seem to do a brisk business with locals and drivers.

I moved my headquarters in Wales from Caernarfon to a hotel about 15 miles inland from Aberystwyth on the Cardigan Bay. One day I headed toward the south coast town of Tenby. There were a few places that looked interesting to see, and all of the photos I saw made the town look charming. I cut across country climbing up and sailing down mountains and hills patch worked in greens and speckled with sheep. As I passed through coastal villages, the stone gave way to stucco and the row houses were each painted a different pastel color: peach, beige, celery, sky blue, pink, and yellow. Very cute. Tenby is a charming little town with cute shops, a host of eateries, and several places to visit. I wanted to visit a National Trust property, a Medieval merchant's house. It was positively opulent compared to the farm house I saw earlier. The ceilings were high
And the windows were glazed. All of the rooms had fireplaces - the builder was apparently wealthy. Off the shore of Tenby is a monastic island, and I was tempted, but my tendency toward seasickness and schedule did not permit.

From there I went into Pembroke to see the castle, but it was closed for the first time in memory for a shooting of a BBC version of Richard III - " A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" Drat! I stopped at Manorbriar Castle, owned and occupied by an individual. The inner Bailey had been transformed into a garden which was very lovely with the ruins and all. Gerard of Wales, a 13th century church man who was a contemporary of Becket, was born here. A favorite. Seeing this castle made me want to read one of my old favorite romance novels Roselynde by Roberta Gellis. I drove from there out to Saint Davids, a very picturesque and historical town.

As I was driving, I saw a sign for a tomb, so I turned off and followed roads which narrowed down to sing track - a frequent occurrence in Wales. I arrived at a dolmen on the top of a hill. It was called Pentre Ifan. A dolmen is a collection of upright stones with a large cap stone. The were burial chambers once covered with earth, but now with only the stones remaining. Pentre If an dated back to 3000 BC. It's weird; these move me more than the pyramids. Last stop for the day was a recreated Iron Age Village near Cardigan. It was very interesting.

Great day!

Posted by bczlapinski 10:51 Archived in Wales Tagged dolmen tenby Comments (0)

Too much to see, no time to blog

Back to Snowdonia and beyond

It was a drizzly day, and I headed out for Snowdonia National Park. On way I stooped at a place called Ugly House which I thought was rather rustic and cute. I went to Betws-y-Coed which means a chapel in the woods. It is a cute but very touristy little village complete with huge bus loads of tourist. I walked around a bit, but soon headed out to see a Welsh farmhouse way out in the country on an old drover's road. A Bishop William Morgan lived here while he translated the Bible into Welsh. The house was very small and underscored the simple yet busy lives people must have lived. There was no glass in the windows, just shutters . . . Brrrrrr. The setting was beautiful - I wondered it they drove cattle or sheep along the drover's road. my last adventure that day was to find a set of standing stones, but I would have had to go onto private property -- pretty common around here -- but I was uncomfortable and it was very remote.

The next day, sunny and bright, I headed out to the Llyn Penninsula to the south of Caernarfon. I spent most of the day driving around. the views were spectacular. I wanted to visit a National Trust property called Plas yn Rhiw- a restored cottage, but I was too early. I then went into the seaside town of Cricceith to see the castle. This castle is vastly ruined by quite picturesque just the same. Back toward Caernarfon, I stopped at a place called Glyniffon Manor. It sounds an awful lot like Glenowen to my untrained ear, so I was hoping to find the place that inspired Eleanor Sleath to write her novella Glenowen. The house there was too late for Sleath to have seen it, it is a Georgian estate with columns and statues flanking the front. The house that was there in 1810 - 1815 was brick. The grounds had an arboretum, grottoes, and damp cavelike ferneries. I do so wish it was the inspiration.

I checked out of the Black Boy Inn on the 30th and headed up the coast taking the long was to Aberystwyth. My first stop was Rhuddlan Castle where I was alone. I was able to say, not shout, for Ryan: "I fart in your general direction!" This castle was less ruined than Cricceith, and was interesting to see. Next was Valle Crucis Abbey which was a spectacular set of ruins, very picturesque as long as you disregard the caravan park next door - within a stone's through, actually.

My next stop was Powis Castle -- more of a Tudor fortified palace - with terraced garden. After all of the gray-toned buildings in Wales, the terra-cotta color of Powis Catle was nice. The gardens were lush with fragrant plants -- many I had never seen before. I had a snack in the little cafeteria and then went into them palace. There was only one room restored to the original Tudor style with most of the house stuffed Victorian style. there were magnificent paintings and decorations.

I arrived at my new hotel The George Borrow Hotel tired, but was greeted warmly.

Posted by bczlapinski 11:19 Archived in Wales Tagged castle abbey valle powis rhuddlan crucis Comments (1)

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