Friday, July 9, 2010

Wales: Day 2. Never Met a Castle I Didn't Like

It was our first REAL day of touring Wales, and we didn't waste a second of it. We jumped right in with both feet, which is the best way, if you ask me. I was exhausted but thrilled to get going on this fantastic adventure.

First we were off to Chepstow Castle. Built by the Normans to control the Welsh, this castle is bordered on one side by the Wye River. The river marks the boundary between England and Wales. Very cool, ancient castle.

Tintern Abbey was our next stop. Most abbeys were destroyed by Henry VIII as he fought the Catholic Church's influence during his reign. Tintern Abbey was partially destroyed, but is still somewhat preserved. It's absolutely breathtaking. Inside the enormous abbey there are meadows of grass and flowers, and the light pouring through the large Gothic arches makes it feel like you are in some kind of dream.

After perusing the abbey for half an hour or so, we walked down to the Tintern Abbey Creamery, where we got the local favorite - Welsh Gold Ice Cream. This heavenly treat features honey-flavored ice cream and chunks of honeycomb. It was fantastic!

Next, we drove to Raglan Castle - my absolute favorite! This castle is so awesome. It looks like the Mario Princess Peach castle, is preserved beautifully, has a glorious view from the top of the keep, and has a legit moat. How could it not be legit with such a cool moat?

Isn't that incredible? It was so amazing to walk through. I really felt like I was transported to another time, as gay as that sounds. Also, my favorite picture yet, the one featured in my first Wales blog post and as my Facebook Profile picture was taken at the top of the keep of Raglan Castle. AWESOME.

Though we were quite tired, we stopped by Usk Castle on the way back to Cardiff. Usk Castle is largely decayed, but in between the gate, kitchen apartments and keep, the owners have a quaint little farm/courtyard area. They often put on plays, and it's very cute scenery. Also, I was followed by the resident chickens for a while during our visit.

Doesn't that remind you of Ever After? Beautiful. It was a long and tiring day, but absolutely worth all the trips up spiral staircases.

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