Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our Trip to England & Wales Part I

Well I know this is a bit delayed, but we've been going through 4 GB of pictures to pick the best ones... since I don't think they'll all make it to this blog....

We took a trip to England and Wales last month. It was Brandon's and my 2nd honeymoon trip to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful time - we were gone about 10 days and my Mom was kind enough to come take care of boys while we were gone. We flew into Atlanta and then to London. We were tired when we got there (it being only about 3 in the morning our time). We picked up the rental car at the airport and started to our first destination. We realized really quick that our google maps we had printed were not going to be sufficient. Brandon's phone didn't work so we had no gps and to top it off we were driving a little European car on the left side of the road with a backwards stick shift. Yeah, it was a huge culture shock! Anyway, we managed to find a gas station to stop at and buy a map and then things started going a lot smoother. We managed to find our way to Stonehenge using our map (it only took us like 4 times as long as it should...). We didn't stop because it was getting late and we figured at our rate it was going to take a while to get to our hotel in Cardiff. Here's some pics we took from the car as we drove by.
Our next stop was in Bath, England. We really loved this city. It was fun to see the roman baths and the beautiful architecture and layout of the city. We also stopped in some of the gardens and they were just beautiful this time of year. We ate some Pasty's at a little Pasty shop which brought back a lot of memories of my first job working in a pasty shop when I was a teenager.

Then we went onto Cardiff and stayed there that night. Cardiff is a fairly large city, not huge by US standards, but the largest in Wales. Everything is in English and Welsh there. We walked through downtown Cardiff to find some breakfast and stumbled upon Cardiff castle which is right in the middle of the city.
We walked all around it and then found a little market that was fun. We really liked this little bread shop and we stopped to get some bread and pastries for lunch. They had all different kinds of bread and rolls and hot cross buns and pastries of every possible kind you could imagine. They were really cheap too. We wanted to try one of each, but settled on 3 or 4 or 5 or 10 different kinds :).
After that we started driving to our next destination and ended up stopping just outside Cardiff at Caerphilly Castle at the suggestion of my cousin who had been there and really liked it. We decided to go inside and paid the money to take a tour. It really is a neat castle. Just kind of like what you'd imagine a medieval castle to be like. A lot of it was rebuilt after the original design, but there was still a lot of the original intact as well.

After that we drove through some really beautiful countryside on our way up to Prenteg, Wales near Porthmadog in Gwynedd county. It was still a bit tricky driving on the left side of the road, but it was better the second day. We never did figure out the roundabouts - they were really confusing. We'd try to follow the people in front of us and do what they did and still got honked at...oh well.

We made it to our hotel and then went to our first family history stop in Llanfrothen which was only a few minutes away from our hotel. The parish church was a lot harder to find than I thought, but we ended up asking some nice folks we met on this little "footpath" and they gave us directions to the church. They also told us to make sure we noticed how the floor of the church was sloped in 2 directions to allow the water that would often flood the area to drain out the door of the church.
It turns out we had actually driven right by the spot earlier when we were lookin, but it was back behind this farm, hidden from view - you can kind of see the tip of it in this picture.
We got lucky and it was open and we were able to go inside. Also they had a list of inscriptions of all the graves inside the church which was really nice so we were able to go through the list fairly quickly to see if there were any of our family names. We didn't find any there, but it was really neat to be able to see the place where my ancestors lived and their beautiful town and beautiful church.

In case you're trying to pronounce Llanfrothen like I was, we found out how to say it, but it's not exactly something I can spell in English. The ll is a separate letter in Welsh and it sounds almost like a cross between an L and a Th.

After that we went to Criccieth for dinner. We stumbled upon this amazing fish & chips place that was right near the coast - near Criccieth Castle. We got there just as they were closing so we had fresh fish & chips - yum! The best we'd ever tasted. For more info on that see my other blog.
We went and ate them on the beach and then went back to our hotel for the night.

Well that's all I have time for right now. Stay tuned for more!!

1 comment:

Jane said...

Love this travel log and photos Heather. I will be waiting for more! BTW very nice blog.