Travelogue: A Rainy Day in Wales

We headed down the coast from north to south Wales on a rainy, dark day.  We stopped at the Trefriw Woolen Mills for some shopping.  I managed to find a few things…a couple sweaters on the sale rail that were hand knit and a lovely bag.

Then, it was on to Criccieth Castle, along the coast.  It should have been just a 20 minute drive but we ran into the world famous Snowdonia Marathon.   We followed the runners along with lots of other traffic for almost an hour.  And a hardy lot they were as they plowed along through gusty winds and driving rain.

The rain let up as we reached the castle although the wind continued.  I was determined to see a Welsh castle, one used by the Llewelyns so my father and I trudged up the hill.  While there seems to be some controversy about the castle’s origins, CADW, the Welsh historic trust (it means “care” in Welsh), seems sure that it was built by Llewelyn ap Iowerth and then added onto by his grandson and successor Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, who had been imprisoned here by his half-brother Dafydd as they fought for control of Wales.  It was prehaps the most stunning of the castles even though it was in the worst shape.  The wind whipped around us as we looked over the castle walls out to Tremadog Bay.  We had a real sense of the wildness of Wales and its long history.

We ended our day at North Headborough, a bed and breakfast located on a farm near Haverfordwest.  It is located on a small holding complete with sheep and chickens.  I had my first English breakfast.  We got back early and enjoyed just relaxing in the lounge.  South Wales is just beautiful with its rolling green hills lined with hedge rows and dotted with sheep.  I took a walk around the farm and watched the sun rise over the hills.

Travelogue: Hay on Wye

I am something of a bookaholic so friends recommended that I visit Hay-on-Wye, the book store town.  It made a nice stopping point between south Wales and Salisbury.  We arrived around noon and started with a lunch at the cozy Blue Boar pub.   The town has new and second hand bookstores throughout its winding, narrow streets. There is also an extensive “honesty” bookstore…basically book shelves around the castle that offer paperbacks for 30p and hardbacks for 50p.  I picked up Paul Theroux’s The London Embassy from those shelves.  I bought an old copy of Wordsworth in another story.  It seemed appropriate since our visit to the Lake District and Dove Cottage.  Also found an anthology of poetry about London in another shop.  Finally, I couldn’t resist The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn that I found in the book store located in Hay Castle.