Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wales: Pistyll Waterfall & Llanfair

Hey peeps!  I meant to work on this post on Tuesday, but I keep getting distracted.  So in my last post, we'd met up with a group of people and were staying at a horse farm in northern Wales.  Part of that tour was getting carted around by bus to visit the Pistyll waterfall and a cute little Welsh town, which I think was Llanfair but I might be making that up.


Admit it, you wish you lived here too.


There's me and it just so happens I am wearing that same Baylor hoodie as I type this.  This pic was taken on the little hike up to the top of the waterfall.


And there's the waterfall :)  Not, like, super-huge or anything, it's no Angel Falls, but it's pretty.


And there's little baby waterfalls.


View from the top...just totally gorgeous.  I love Wales, I wanna be Welsh now.


There's some flowers and I'm going to pretend I know what I'm talking about and say they're foxgloves.  Ooh, I just Googled foxgloves, and I might actually be right!


There's my wonderful other half : )


And me again, Margaret.


There's Lee with the obligatory pretend-you're-falling-down-the-waterfall pic.


The water isn't deep at the top of the falls, and there's lots of rocks to go across, so Lee took the camera to the other side and took this pic.


Last shot of the waterfall area, and now onto the village that might be Llanfair.


We saw this cool car when we were walking around the town; I found a little hobby shop that had some kits to cross stitch bookmarks, so I got one of a Scottish thistle in Wales and stitched it in England to give to my dad in America.


Sadly, we did not have the time to investigate the castle ruins on the hill, but I think it's a neat picture.  We did go to the Telford Bridge.


And discovered what fun it is to play with shadows.


Bridge selfie photo bomb!


And there you can see what we were trying to spell, about 6 or 8 of us.  I'll give you a hint, the first letter is L.


It's a happy little bridge ; )


One more goofy pic of Lee just chillin' on some playground equipment.  It's all fun and games until your butt gets stuck because you're not a skinny 7-year-old anymore.


Oh hey these are out of order again, so there's some greenery...somewhere...in Wales.


And one last pic of the bridge.  I'm not diggin' my Greek yogurt here so I'm off to go find something to snack on.  Cheers, peeps!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Horseback Riding in Northern Wales

Oyyyy I really want to to back to bed and I only got up at 10:30.  I'm coming down with something.  But before I go back to sleep, I'm posting more Wales pictures.  So Lee and I spent about a week in Wales, but in the middle of that time we met up with a tour group and spent a couple nights at a horse farm and went horseback riding.


Man, these are all out of order, but I'm too tired to mess with it.  Lee's on a horse!


And this is what the countryside looks like near the horse farm.


We arrived there about an hour before the rest of the group did, so we walked around a little bit and took some pictures and said hi to the horses.


Proof that I was there too : D


There's also lots of sheep around.  And it was nearing sunset; they're not quite this yellow really but we were hitting golden light.


Is that not just gorgeous?  I think I want to move to the Welsh countryside and raise horses now.


I mean REALLY.


Just gorgeous.


Here's Lee making a new friend...


Who was less interested once she realized we didn't have food.  She's like the horse equivalent of Vader.


More beautiful countryside.  So we spent two or three nights here, sharing a room with two other couples which was slightly weird but not too bad.  Everyone was in single beds and no one snored too much.  On the first full day, we got a two-hour horseback riding lesson, which was great as I'd never ridden English-style (hello, I grew up in Texas, they only do Western tack there) and then we got to go out to see some other sites which will be in my next post.  And then the next day we did a two-hour ride out to a pub, had lunch, and rode back to the farmhouse.


Aren't we cute in our hard hats?


The only problem was that Lee's horse, Harry, liked to be at the very front of the group, and my horse, Rosie, hated to have anyone behind her and so would insist on being at the very back of the group.  Then when we rode back from the pub, they split us into two smaller groups and somehow Lee and I got completely separated, so we never really got to ride *together*.


There's Lee and Harry.  He was a great horse, Lee liked him a lot, but he passed gas CONSTANTLY.  He should've been named Thor for the constant thunder he produced.


Somehow we never got a picture of me on my horse : (


Arriving back at the farm house at the end of the ride.  So up next is more fun and beautiful countryside in rural northern Wales!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wales: Castell Coch

Howdy, peeps!  It is pretty much taking me forever to post our Wales pictures which is sad because a.) it's a beautiful place and we had a great time there and b.) it's almost a year since we were there.  Like, ten months ago.  So today we're visiting Castell Coch, which means "Red Castle" in Welsh--not because the castle was red, but because one of the owners had red hair.  I always wished I had red hair as a kid and couldn't understand why Anne of Green Gables hated hers.

Anyway, Castell Coch is quite possibly the cutest castle in the history of ever.


There have been fortifications on the site since about the 12th century, but the current castle is a Victorian-era reconstruction using the ruined medieval foundations as a base.  You can read all about it on the Wikipedia page linked above; let's just say that if I had squillions of dollars, I would totally rebuild a castle like this.  Or if I wanted to stay in America, I'd build one from scratch like this.


Castell Coch was pretty close to our hotel, so we hit it up first thing in the morning (before it even opened) and walked around it, and then after we did the Doctor Who Experience we went back to actually see the inside.  (Fun fact:  night before last, I had a dream that I was with the Eleventh Doctor and Clara and we were fighting the Cybermen.  No kidding, I woke up kind of in a panic around midnight because Cybermen were chasing me.)


I've seen some McMansion houses that have their own towers, but I think this one is cooler.


Pic of the top of the other tower, just because I thought it was neat looking.


This is when we came back to the castle in the afternoon; the scads of old ladies are gone (they came in a tour bus) but there's that truck sitting right out front and the lighting was nowhere near as good for pictures.


This is the inner courtyard, which just begs for a Shakespearean production to happen hear.  Another fun fact:  Castell Coch has been used on more than one occasion to film episodes of Doctor Who (Vampires of Venice I think was one of them).


The interiors were really, really cool, and kind of bonkers in a Victorian sort of way.  I mean, doesn't this fireplace put every other fireplace you've seen to shame?


There were several pairs of these windows with shields on them, and the really cool thing about them was that the metal separating the panes is connected to the heating system so in the wintertime, the windows actually help warm up the room.


More decorations.  A lot of the decor is based around myths and legends; one whole room is painted with scenes from Aesop's Fables but my pictures didn't turn out that great in there.


Dude, I totally want a room like this.  All I need is a domed ceiling, 14 million pounds of gold, a huge chandelier, and a paintbrush.  Then IT WILL BE MINE.  Seriously though, isn't that beautiful?


Here's a slightly blurry photo of the three Greek Fates, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos.


And another picture of that glorious ceiling.


This was a doorway to the marquess' bedroom (okay, so in British aristocracy there's a whole confusing hierarchy of titles and a marquess is one of them, I think it's more towards the lower end of the totem pole whereas a duke would be closer to the top).


And this is the sink in the bedroom.  Ok Lee, when we buy a house, I want you to build me a vanity like this one for our master bathroom ; )  So now do you see what I mean about this place being kind of bonkers in a Victorian way?  That sink is pretty off the hook though.  I think I've been watching too much HGTV lately.


Above the fireplace in the marquess' bedroom is Psyche, wife of Eros/Cupid in ancient myth.  Generally any female in paintings with butterfly wings is Psyche.


Here's a few shots of the courtyard area from upstairs.


It's kind of hard to get a sense of the place just from the pictures, but this really was the cutest little castle I've seen anywhere, and the first one that I could kind of imagine living in.  I could totally get along with the castle-riffic sink and the Psyche fireplace decoration.


Castell Coch is also where I got my super cool Welsh souvenir--a mug with the red Welsh dragon on it like you see on the Welsh flag.  The mug is so cute too, it's a fun shape and I love it and I don't care that Lee thinks I have too many mugs for drinking tea (I'm not quite so British that I use teacups, though I have a collection of those too).


Castle selfie!  Loved visiting Castell Coch.  Had we gone to Wales earlier in our time in Europe, I probably would have wanted to go back a few more times.  So anyway, I'll try to get the next batch of pictures up sooner rather than later.  Cheers, peeps!