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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Our last day in Wales

Dear Family and Friends,

Our last day in Wales looked pretty much like this picture.  It was rainy, windy and sometimes even foggy.  We went on our third tour with  I keep adding a link because they are the top day tour company out of Cardiff and they do an excellent job.

I am adding this photo because we saw more than one butcher shop that provided fresh game.  Also, it appears that rabbits and hares are not the same according to their sign.

Yes, it is an Amazon warehouse off the freeway.  We never saw one Walmart.

Our tour took us south of Cardiff to Swansea.  Swansea is on the coast of Wales and is the second largest city in Wales.

In Swansea, we went to the National Waterfront Museum.  Great rainy day activity.

Below is a very early bicycle built for two.

This car was designed and built by Rolls Royce.  Maybe the first one.

In the gift shop I eyed this chocolate bar.  It says NOMNOM Proper Welsh Chocolate.  Well I know they are right because the chocolate is from Ecuador.  To me, the best chocolate is Ecuador chocolate.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, you still find memorabilia from WWII in the gift shops.

This is a reproduction of a poster encouraging people to knit clothing for the Royal Air Force.  I really took this picture to share with my friend, Karen Kimbler, but I decided to share it with you as well.

Reminds me of the Uncle Sam poster the USA used during WWII.

After our stop at the museum, we drove to Gower Peninsula.  We stopped at Langland Bay and Caswell Bay.

Despite the rain, wind and cool weather there were people out surfing.  Of course they were wearing wet suits.  

Here is Chuck reading about the Caswell Bay area.

Nice views in spite of the weather.

We then went to Rhossili Bay.  Rhossili Bay is known for a dramatic stone causeway that looks like a huge whale to me.  It is called Worms Head.

If you look at the picture below you can see the whale shape.

Lucky for me, as we were at the bistro in the Wormshead Hotel, it started raining again.  This made perfect conditions for photographing these folks out on the bluff. 

We really enjoyed our tour in spite of the weather.

Our whole British Isles vacation was awesome.  

We are staying home in Ecuador through the Christmas holidays.  In January we head to Tucson to visit family.

It looks like I will need to add a photo or two of Ecuador between now and then.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Wye Valley Tour in Wales

Dear Family and Friends,

On our second day tour with we went to the Wye Valley.

I will start this post with my favorite site on this tour.  Tintern Abbey is about 500 hundred years old.  It is partially destroyed.  As it turns out, for me, this makes it much more spiritual.

As you can see in the picture below there is no floor, window glass or roof.  The abbey was damaged during the English civil war.

This is the abbey from outside.

Inside, the daylight streams in, making it grandeur. 

I couldn't stop taking pictures.

I felt so in touch with my spiritual self.

We stopped in Beacon village for lunch.

I saw this sign in a pharmacy window.  It reminded me that although I speak English, I do not speak the "King's English."

We both ordered another wonderful meat pie.  

The back roads in the Wye Valley are absolutely beautiful.

We stopped in the town of Monmouth for independent sightseeing and shopping. 

Monmouth's claim to fame is this medieval gated bridge, the only surviving one in Great Britain.

My new favorite.  I have seen this beer in New Zealand and other countries on this trip, but I had not tried one until this day.  It is so delicious.  If you love ginger then try one if you ever have the opportunity.

Outside we saw this sign.  Yuk, I said....

Well, Chuck went for it.  This, my friend, is a Bacon Bap. 

One more day left.

Will share our last day in Wales in the next post.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

South West Wales Valley Tour

Dear Family and Friends,

We took a day tour outside of Cardiff.  We went with a small tour group operated by  We used them for three days of touring.  The first tour we took was the South West Wales Valley Tour. I highly recommend them if you are in Cardiff.  

If we have ever seen a castle that looks like Rapunzel's castle, this is it. This is Castell Coch.  It was originally built in the 13th century by a Norman Baron. It was later destroyed by a Welch man in the 15th century.  It was rebuilt by a Scots man in the 19th century.   

We only saw the castle from the outside, but it was quite impressive.  

We then went to Caerphilly town to visit Wales' largest fortress, Caerphilly Castle.

Here is Chuck on the bridge over the moat in front of the castle.

Inside the castle gate was a sculpture of a red dragon coming out of the ground.  The dragon is the symbol of Wales.

It is now a museum, empty but beautiful.

This is the castle fortress from across the moat.

The Queen came to the castle in 1977 and unveiled this plaque marking her Silver Jubilee.

Geese enjoying the moat surrounding the fortress.

We then headed into highlands.  We stopped because our driver, a lover of animals, has befriended this sheep.  He has named her Gladys.  When we pulled up to the view point (which was fogged in by the way) out of a hundred sheep grazing, she came running toward him.

He fed her apples and carrots.  Why she is the only sheep that is comfortable around him and us strangers I do not know.  It was so much fun to watch her interact with him.

Here is Gladys.

We went to the Brecon Beacons National Park on the eastern region by the Black Mountains.  Even though the day was overcast and threatening rain, the scenery was fantastic.

This is an ancient stone erected before Stonehenge.

More incredible views.

Wales is a beautiful country.

More tours to share in future posts.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cardiff, Wales

Dear Family and Friends,

Getting off the cruise ship was very easy. Since we only had carry-on luggage, we did not have to wait until we were called to get off the ship.  Another thing, we did not have to put our luggage outside our stateroom the night before and when we got off the ship we did not have to search for luggage in the luggage hall.

We took a taxi from the pier to the bus terminal in Southampton.  We had about a three hour trip from there to Cardiff, Wales.  It was very nice just enjoying the countryside on the way.  

We arrived in Cardiff, checked in to our hotel room and headed out for an early afternoon lunch and some exploring.

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales.  Below are some nicely preserved Victorian houses that were very close to where we were staying. 

Cardiff has blocked off many streets to cars making exploring the shopping district very pleasant.  

Here is a little market we visited.

I checked.  Nope they are not Ecuadorian bananas.  Even though the sign says "Best Bananas," we knew that couldn't be true.

The next day, Sunday, we toured the Cardiff Castle.  This castle is located in the middle of the city.  The first thing you notice before entering the castle walls is the beautiful clock tower.

Inside the walls, on the left, is the palace.

And in the center is the Norman castle, built on top of Roman ruins, it is called the castle keep.  A castle keep is a building of refuge. It was surrounded by a moat and it was a place where the nobles could go as a last resort if they were invaded.

We toured inside the palace and photography was permitted.  This fortress complex is owned by Wales and is a museum now.  No one lives here.

Quite an impressive ceiling.

I am always amazed that people could stand the weight of armor and still have enough stamina to do battle.  

This room was totally awesome. It is called the Arab Room.  

The ceiling of the Arab Room was so beautiful.

Large hall.

We had a fantastic, self guided (using an audioguide) tour.  

As we left, we exited out the gate and presto, we were back to current time in the middle of a modern city.  

For the next three days, we took tours outside of Cardiff.  What a beautiful country Wales is.  I will share about these tours in future posts.