Castles and castles

Where have we been? … Well, tripping up and down the Wye Valley in Wales of course.

I love the driving (especially in our very, very upgraded satellite-enabled mode of transport) that moves from easily marked motorways to thin and extremely narrow roads, bordered on each side by exquisitely manicured hedges that at times make it impossible to see oncoming traffic – even tall tractors! It really feels at times like I am driving through a maze.

Yesterday, which was Friday over here in Wales, we set off from Bath and drove a few miles and began our visit to the Welsh castles and ruins … as many as we can. We have a three day Historic Castles and Attractions pass so we are going to use these as much as possible. Chepstow Castle and Tintern Abbey yesterday, and then today we hit three – White Tower, Tretower Castle and Court and finally Raglan Castle … and the one uniting feature besides the grandness of the walls was the very many steps we climbed. We have found some new muscles and a few aching knees! I spent ages just marvelling at these grand structures, with such thick walls, blocks of stone arches, the huge window spaces and the spacious halls, moats and dining rooms, and the many other rooms – some even have ensuites! Its amazing some of the stones that form these structures and the sweeping views from the top of the towers are stunning. HUGE fireplaces and kitchens were in some of these castles – they must have had raging parties within those walls.

Chepstow

Chepstow from high walls within

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey

White Castle

Tretower Tower Court and Castle

Us holding court

Raglan Castle

Friday evening we spent at the Prego Bistro and B&B (near where Lord Nelson was caught schmoozing with his mistress) in Monmouth and caught up with Lucy. It was supposed to be afternoon tea but she threw together a quick picnic and we whiled away the cooling afternoon in the setting sun overlooking the town. This is the vantage point to see the merging rivers and the lovely town but that view was reduced yesterday with the haze – and probably just a few log fires burning! And our afternoon tea then melded into dinner with her mum. Just a delightful evening.

B&Bs are cosy – but the beds ah just, well a little lumpy, definitely not conducive to a restful night of sleeping – and then there are the many flights of stairs one has to climb to get to the room which just happens to be on the top floor … and no lift! Tonight we have hit the town of Newport and are nicely resting in a large comfy hotel on the top floor … accessed by a lift!

And guess what … more castles and ruins tomorrow.

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