Here’s my first good look at Wales, once we hit the countryside. I was so keen to have a look at North Wales after I read Sharon Penman’s Welsh trilogy. Finally, I was eyeballing Llewellyn, Joanna, Llewellyn (the first one’s grandson) and Ellen’s Wales. It was beautiful. So green and pretty. The countryside started with some rolling hills that grew more glacial and dramatic as the day went on.
Most of the houses here are made of grey slate. Pretty, isn’t it?
Firstly, though, we stopped to see an aqueduct that was put up in Victorian times to nudge along the barge traffic. I wasn’t all that enthused as we were going to see it, to be honest, but once I was there it was really quite impressive. We walked along here to the left to get to the aqueduct, passing many little barges moored up at the canal bank. People hire them out for holidays.
As I was walking along I saw this barge gently putt-putting down the canal to come under the bridge. As I was getting my phone out there was an almighty crunch, as it hit the edge of the canal and bounced off the bridge. This is when it had manoeuvred its way through.
What I didn’t get a photo of was when it headed straight for me and hit the edge of the canal where I was standing at pretty much full pelt, only inches away from me. I heard something glass break from the interior. This guy can’t steer for shit. (Excuse the language…)
This aqueduct is this tiny strip of canal suspended high over the river below. One side, where I was standing, is wide enough for the horses who would’ve been towing the barges in the good old days to walk, while the other side is a tiny strip of nothing. Anyone who drives a barge over this has to have a very good sense of balance.
It’s a long fall down to the bottom.
Actually Russell, our driver, was talking to a guy in the gift shop and he said that when they were building it, two guys fell off. One guy, who was drunk at the time, died. The other guy survived because he happened to fall onto a haystack.
He’s my friend the homicidal barge driver, coming over the aqueduct.
As they got closer I saw that his son had moved from the front of the boat to the back, presumably to stop dad from killing everyone on the canal.
After that, we went into a little town nearby, where I absolutely fell in love.
LOOK!!!! Isn’t she gorgeous??? Her name is Milly and she’s a 4-year-old wire-haired mini dachshund. She was so tiny I thought she was a puppy. I’ve been patting a lot of dogs since I’ve been here, which is a great way to have some chats with the native inhabitants of the area, but she was so cute that I literally crossed the road and chased her owners a little way down the street to meet her.
Look at how tiny she is. Awwwwww…. We don’t have very many of these in Australia, but I want one. Mark my words, if it’s at all possible, Poppy and Jeff will have a little sister one day with a hairy widdle face and stumpy widdle legs.
I had a cheap and cheerful lunch at a café and thought of Tom23 and Ryan19… grilled cheese on toast. xx
As we drove on the countryside became more wooded. I could imagine that this is closer to how it looked when the Llewellyns were living here in the 1100’s and 1200’s.
See the bilingual sign? Once we crossed the border into Wales all the street signs have the Welsh as well as the English. This is Caernarfon Castle, built by Edward I in 1283, once he’d subdued the Welsh.
I’m not good at taking selfies, am I?
I’m pretty sure the glass around the entrance is a modern addition…
There’s nothing left of the buildings inside the castle. Just the outer walls and some rooms in the towers remain. That rectangular spot on the bottom left was where the Great Hall was, back in the day.
I thought it was a beautiful irony that the Welsh flag was flying on top of the castle, rather than the English.
I raced to see their exhibitions of the Welsh Princes and of Eleanor of Castile, but they were the biggest heap of tripe I’ve ever seen. Don’t bother going. So I walked along the battlements and climbed to the top of one of the towers and looked around.
The views were spectacular. The castle is very well defended, with two sides being surrounded by sea. No one could attack from there, plus it made it easy to bring supplies up to a besieged castle as well.
The views into the town were like looking down through a telescope. Soldiers here would be able to see mischief brewing and put a stop to it almost as soon as it started to develop.
The city walls were built at the same time as the castle. From the battlements you can see all the way round, as the wall still stands. The ‘city’ was TINY.
Here’s the same street down on the ground. I walked around the corner at the end and saw this:
Here’s the old city wall. I bought a present for Blogless Sandy at a shop on the left. 🙂 After that I had to get back to the group, so I hung a right and started walking back to the castle beside the wall.
Here’s a close-up of a sticky-outy bit. All I could hear was seagulls. It was pretty spesh.
Then on the way home we stopped here for a photo op. This is the name of the village.
Tomorrow we go to Chester, then onto Haworth parsonage. So excited!!