Monday, June 22, 2009

European Tour 2009 - Day 2

Conwy Castle

We set off on Saturday morning for North Wales and Conwy Castle. I think it was a pretty lengthy drive, but I was still struggling with the whole "stay awake in the car" thing. I hear that there was a lot of beautiful countryside and I'm sorry I missed it. Conwy Castle is amazing. It was rainy, windy and freezing, but that didn't dampen the experience. It's hard to believe that places like this still exist--especially being so used to the American "tear it down and build something new" mentality. This castle dates back to 1200 a.d. and was commissioned by King Edward I. It is almost maze-like and the views from the tops of the towers are incredible.
View of the countryside from Conwy Castle

These openings are called "murder holes." The archers could defend the castle here.

Looking down into what would have been several floors of a tower

View from a tower into the castle

Amazingly beautiful architechture in the castle chapel

Sister Hafen, me, Brother Hafen, Tina and Dan in the chapel area of the castle

Another view across Conwy Castle

Eric and Dan at the top of a tower

View of the bridge

Outside Conwy Castle

View from Conwy Castle of Conwy. You can still see the castle walls that once surrounded the city.

We then traveled to another castle in North Wales called Caernarfon. We travelled though the castle's walls and through a little town that surrounds the castle. We ate at a little cafe called Cally's. Caernarfon was also built by King Edward I. It is also significant because that is where King Edward's first son was born and where the tradition of making the eldest son of the king or queen the Prince of Wales. In fact, Prince Charles' coronation actually took place at Caernarfon Castle (do they call it a coronation if it is a prince?). I expected these two castles to be similar, as they were built around the same time. But Caernarfon had a French architect and a very different feel to it. Many of the basics were the same, but it was very different from Conwy.

Caernarfon Castle

I sort of wish I had counted all the stairs we climbed

Inside Caernarfon's walls

View from Caernarfon

View from the back of the van

The Hafen's flat in Lymm

It was a great day! After returning from the castles we walked over to the co-op for our first non-gift shop shopping experience. Things are so dissimilar! It was surprising to me--I'm not sure why it should be.

This was the worst night for me, as far as lack of sleep goes. I just couldn't fall asleep, so I watched Pride and Prejudice on my iPod. I nearly saw all six hours. That gives you an idea how much I slept.

What we ate today: Sister Hafen made pancakes and we ate them with some really yummy syrup called Golden Syrup--I put a little creme fraiche on mine as well--mmmmm; for lunch we all had sandwiches and a couple of us had baked potatoes; hot chocolate (still freezing); flapjacks (and thus began Dan's incessent search for more flapjacks); and for dinner, chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies--including my first experience with leeks (they were good, by the way).

Today I learned that most of the information regarding the Kings and Queens of England that I memorized in high school did not stay with me.


easleyfamily said...

Wow! I love how green it is! beautiful!

Tina Clark said...

OK - I am loving re-living the trip through your blog - I am now officially inspired and am going to finally update mine. Only problem - the entire family has come down with the h1n1 (swine flu) virus - talk about good times!

Wendy said...

this is not boring! It's great. I want to see all 800 pictures :)

Jaime Stephens said...

wow what an amazing trip!

Linda said...

Love the pictures and hearing about them! Keep it up Jenn.

Diane said...

I love the vacation posts and enjoy the pics...they are beautiful! I will keep watching for the next post of Europe

Sarah Goodsell said...

Very jealous of your trip, I love looking at all the pics but PLEASE tell your beautiful daughters to get there next video up, they said Sunday or Monday and I've been waiting!