Bright and at a reasonable time, we set off for deepest, darkest Wales. We would end up cramming quite a lot into our couple of days there, but it would all be good stuff. We were bound for the town of Welshpool, where my aunt lives, to impose on her excellent hospitality. There are lots of different ways of getting there, but by far my favourite is the drive over the first Severn Bridge and then up through the Wye Valley. On that road, which shadows the border, you dip in and out of England and Wales.
Our first obvious stop was at Tintern Abbey, an imposing ruin that you really can't miss as you drive up through the valley. I can't help thinking just how much I have to thank a really despotic English king for turning all these places into beautiful, romantic ruins. (And I can't quite believe that it was the anti-royalist me who wrote those words!) There is something in me that just prefers ruins to buildings that are intact. I love places like castles and abbeys, but I definitely enjoy the tumbledown, shattered ones more. They have more character, give the impression of more history and are far more interesting.
I love this selection of doorways. I suppose it depends on how big your hat is as to which one you go through!
After Tintern we batted on up to the South Shropshire town of Ludlow, our next stop. This was a lunch break at the Ludlow Food Centre. A few years ago I gave Rebekka a book of rude placenames from around the world; rude, that is, in English. On this leg of the journey she fished it out and asked me to explain each one in turn and say why they were rude and funny. I have to admit to one or two giggling fits along the way. I think it was the way she said 'dingleberry' that made me laugh so much.
We arrived at my aunt's house mid afternoon. After a warm greeting and dumping our stuff, we headed off for Pistyll Rhaeadr, the waterfall I posted photos of back in the spring. This was to be a slightly more adventurous visit, and after studying and photographing the waterfall itself, we took the zigzaggy path to climb to the top. The views were spectacular and there was the added surprise of another small, and very beautiful waterfall up there that can't be seen from the valley floor.
Next time, the golden sands of Aberdovey.