We spent our last weekend out in Wales. We stayed in a town called Chepstow just over the border. Before arriving at our flat for the night, we toured the town of Caerphilly. It just so happened that there was a street market happening on the day we arrived. We took full advantage of the food tents (Especially the mini donuts), and the drink tents where we sampled various wines and beers for free!
John had a mishap with our camera and forgot the memory card! He felt so guilty, but fortunately alongside the market, was a buy-trade-sell shop where we were able to get a new one dirt cheap. The weekend was saved!
As we made our way to the castle, the rain and wind continued to push us into a nearby tent where we could look at pottery or try some more goodies, like flapjacks! Flapjacks are not the pancakes that we normally think of in the states; here they are like a gooey granola bar. They are so good!
We finally made it to the castle. This was a really unique castle in that was one of the first of its kind. It was built mainly for defense. It was constructed with the idea that the castle would be protected by tiered walls to allow archers to fire over the top of the heads of the men on the outer wall below. Also, surrounding the castle was a large hand-made moat, which was an impressive feat. This tour was self-guided and due to the weather, we were practically the only people there, though we did run into a couple of guys from Minnesota. One of them lived in a town that played in Erin's conference for high school sports. What are the odds? It was so much fun!
After the tour we found shelter behind a church and had our picnic lunch in a cemetery. It was the only place around where the 25 mile an hour wind did not tear through us. When lunch was finished we hopped on the train and made our way to Chepstow, where we were staying for the night. We went straight to the castle from the station and toured this masterpiece as well.
Right along the river, this castle layout made for some great photos. We met a group from Michigan that was also touring. We thought this was crazy because we were one of four groups in the entire place.
After touring Chepstow castle we walked along the bridge that separates England from Wales. We took pictures of us standing in the middle so we technically stood with one foot in each country.
We started our walk up a long and steep hill to our house. We did not have the clearest instructions of how to reach the house, so we ended up getting lost. Luckily, a nice woman who lived on a farm we were lost in front of asked her Nan to give us directions. Down a foot path and around the block, we made it to Terry and Cheryl's. We were staying with a family. We were so exhausted that we did not spend too much time talking to them. After a quick shower and a round of cards, we both fell asleep.
The next morning Terry gave us a ride to the trailhead where we were starting our day hike out to the Tintern Abbey along to Why River. The rain and mud did not stop us. We trudged through and saw some amazing sights. At one point we were overlooking a bluff and the next we were walking through a cave. Muddy, sweaty, and wet we made it to the Tintern Abbey. We did not pay to go inside, but it was fun walking around the ruins. We had a great lunch in the small town and off we were back to Reading! It was a great weekend and we made the most out of it despite the weather! Stay tuned for more fun!
John and Erin