Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Castles, Castles, Castles (official post) Grace

Sorry for the late post (mostly  to my mother who I'm sure is missing me like crazy) we have not had the best Internet.  On Sunday May 5th we took a 12 passenger van around Wales to see four castles. It's been referred to as a referred to as a whirlwind castle tour, which it certainly was. Three of the four castles were those related Edward I.  Our first stop was Harlech Castle, which was built by Edward.  The location was breathtaking, looking out over the Irish Sea on one side and the mountains on the other.  We were able to climb to the top of the SW turret.  The stairs were windey and it got extremely dark at points, so you were not even sure where the stairs were.  Once you finally got to the top you realized that the walls ensuring you didn't fall off the edge aren't really there.  But after the initial shock wears off and you catch your breath from the hike up the stairs, you are able to see just how great the view is from that height.
Soon we were off again, and about 45 minutes later on the bus we reached our next location, which was a break from medieval for a moment. The site we saw was an old Roman fort.  It was originally out in the middle of nowhere, but today sits in the middle of town in Caernarfon.  Today there is not much left of the fort, maybe about a foot high of wall left around each building.
The next sop in Caernarfon was Caernarfon Castle, which Eric gave us a lovely tour.  This castle was bigger than the first one we saw today and was also built during Edward I times.  Because Monday was a Bank Holiday here, many people were out and about at the castle. It was one of the first places we have been that our group did not make up the majority.  There was also some event going on inside the castle.  People were dressed in old Medieval clothing, there was archery, and a pig was being cooked on a spit.  All in all, a much different vibe than our previous castles.
Next on the list we had Beaumaris Castle, which was one the Isle of Anglesey. It was the last Welsh castle ever built and as it happens was never actually finished.  They never built the walls up as high as they wanted them to go. The last stop on our whirlwind adventure was Pemrhyn Castle, which was a 19th century castle. The house/castle was donated to the Royal Oaks Foundation after the death of its owner. He left it to his niece  who was unable to afford the death tax after WWII.  Of all the castles we visited this one was the most homely,  that was for two reason.  One, it was always meant to be a home and two, it was not built in medieval times.  By the end of the day I can say I was honestly exhausted.  It was nice to come back to the hostel and have them make us dinner.  Thus far the trip had been excellent, minus the abundance of birds.  :)

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