25 June 2013

Day 6 - Conwy & Dolwyddelan

Today has been the most gorgeous weather since I got there - low 60s! But with the sun it felt even warmer and just really lovely touring weather. I can't hope for it to hold out much longer though...

I began the day by heading first thing to Plas Mawr, an Elizabethan townhouse in Conwy. Apologies for the bad picture - I was trying to show how long it was - there were two courtyards in between, linking the buildings - the first was only the gatehouse!
Inside, Cadw, the Welsh National Heritage group which owns many of the castles and buildings I visited, restored it to look as it would've with furnishings from the late 1600s, of which there was an actual inventory list from the house surviving. It was a very well done restoration, with a few areas left unrestored to see the differences. And it was really accurate too, with actual food out in the kitchen, not just the plastic fake stuff!
The garden off the courtyard - the roses along the back were all in bloom and it smelled divine. 
The Great Hall:
One travel recommendation I have is to always get somewhere right when it opens - you are almost guaranteed to have the place to yourself for some time - that was true for me at Conwy Castle and also Plas Mawr. 

Next on the agenda was a visit to Dolwyddelan Castle, built by Llywelyn the Great in the early 13th century. It was a bit of a journey, involving 2 bus changes (which are always interesting) and a two mile walk, but so worth it for the views alone! Oh and it was on the bus to and from Dolwyddelan that I heard Welsh spoken for the first time! All the signs are bilingual, just as in Ireland, but I had yet to hear any in conversation. 
Approaching the castle:
The guards at the gate:
What it originally probably looked like:
And now: (the upper part was "restored" by the Victorians, and most likely looked a little different.
The views:
And on the walk back down, a waterfall - so a perfect place for a castle, up on a mountain with a commanding view, near flowing water, and controlling the main road to Conwy:
On the way back to Conwy, I got off at the bus stop across the river, because yesterday on the train back from Rhuddlan, one of the train policemen told me the view of the castle was really nice walking over the bridge from Llandudno Junction. And it was:
I love Conwy and don't want to leave tomorrow! But on to the next castles - Caernarfon and Beaumaris, staying the next two nights in Caernarfon. 

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