Wales, Land of the Castle

Monday 2 July, Abergaveny to Canaerfon

Up, showered, dressed. Breakfast was great - just cereal and toast, but they had Vegemite! Yay! Then a 10 minute walk to the ruins of Abergaveny Castle - not as big as Dover, but must have been pretty speccy in its day. Great spot for a picnic if you're ever near there.

Then driving, driving, Bob Marley, and more driving. But driving through some very pretty places (Snowdonia National Park and surrounds) - weather sunny, Wales green, travellers happy. Stopped for another horrible Cornish pasty at a small town (it's not only the English who make watery pasties) but we got to eat it by the Elan dam, which was no small consolation. More gaffer-tape bus repairs, and a computer quiz on the Elan wildlife which I failed miserably.

Back on the bus, we went through Porthmaddog, where some Aussies landed a couple of hundred years ago and proceeded (being Aussies) to build a pub. Kate found an electric violin (something she's been drooling over for a while) but at £125 (about $375), we passed. Then, on to Caernarfon.

And the castle at Caernarfon was bloody impressive. We had a slightly spooky walk starting in the basement of our hostel where there was a 12th century door which probably used to lead to an escape tunnel from the castle. The tour continued around the old Town Walls, the town in general and the outside of the castle, ending with a story about the English king Edward Longshanks. When the Welsh people told him that they wanted a Welsh ruler not an Englishman, he promised that they'd be ruled by a prince who was born in Wales, and spoke no English. Sounds good, until he sends his pregnant wife to Wales to give birth to their son - who, at the age of two days, had been born in Wales and spoke no English (yet). Longshanks was a lawyer, in case it's not obvious.

Dinner was on a barge moored below the castle, where we ate fairly average food served by a Welsh girl with the most beautiful accent I have ever heard - I could have listened to her talk all day... (sigh). Er, not that she compares to my Kate, of course.


We then had a few drinks in the bar between the barge and the castle, before retiring to our hostel. It was a narrow three-storey building with a third floor dorm that Kate and I stayed in, and a second floor dorm in which Willy the mad wee scotsman snored loudly, thereby severely reducing his chances with Julie the not-quite-canadian teacher.