A Travellerspoint blog

Friday 5 June Cardiff, Wales to Bath,Glastonbury,etc

Our 3rd sunny day in a row!!!!! We crossed the Severn Bridge and headed into England again. Goodbye lovely Wales with your lovely people. Last nights show was a Welsh Evening of dining and singing. Again, squashed into a venue (The Millenium centre) on the Cardiff Bay, with 4 other tour groups. Food was great but some of us were not so impressed with the Show this time having been spoilt in Ireland by such an amazing show. The compare did get Des and 4 others up to accompany the singers in a Welsh song that none of us understood. Des thought he would be singing but each of the 5 had to make a noise, Des was the sheep noise. It was quite funny but none of us knew what it was about. One of the female welsh singers sang "Big Spender" but so poorly, we couldn't believe a welsh person could even sing like that. Where we're Fleur and Lisa when they were needed to show her how it should be done.

All 37 of us are tired now. It's Friday and we finish on Tuesday. We have alL got to know each other well and have become a happy family but all good things come to an end and it will have been 24 days when we say Goodbye. Anyway, there's still more..... Next thing we were in Bath in England. Des and I were there exactly 3 years ago, to the day, so FB reminded me this morning before we set off. How was that for a coincidence?
As we had visited the Roman Baths then we used our time to look around the rest of the town, beginning with morning tea in Sally Lunns tea shop which has been in existence since the 1600s. It is such a pretty town and we were reminded last time, was also a beautiful,sunny day.

Off to Glastonbury for only a short stop which we were sad about as last time, we had gone to the Glastonbury Abbey which King Henry the VIII had burnt down and murdered the Monks. It was a very memorable experience for us 3 years ago, but sadly, there was not enough time to go through it for the rest of the tour group as we were heading to Widecombe on the Moor before finally arriving in Plyomouth for our 2 night stay.

Widecombe was amazing. We drove through the Dartmoor National Park seeing wild Dartmoor ponies in the wide open, rocky terrain before arriving at a little stone village where the shops and church date back to the 14th century. Wow it was completely like stepping back in time. So picturesque and definitely worth missing Glastonbury Abbey for (for us anyway as we had see the abbey), One Lady on our tour is a real grump. she flatly refused to get out of the bus apparently as she said it looked boring and should have had more time in Glastonbury. I think that town would have really suited her Character actually.

Another hour and we arrived at Jury's Inn in the heart of Plymouth. Another beautiful room although there is a lot of traffic noise for the first time. Another wonderful meal in the hotel and a walk for Des and I to explore part of the town after dinner.

Posted by RitchieOE 12:08 Comments (0)

Thursday 4 June Wrexham to Cardiff

Another brilliant day to see the rest of Wales. We headed out for 185 miles or 296 km. making stops along the way usual. First we stopped at Builth Wells an old spa town just south of Llandrindod Wells, another old Spa town.
Apparently, Builth Wells was much prettier which was the Eason we stopped there instead. we had to agree, it was very pretty and the townspeople were very friendly. Everyone was in the best of spirits with the SUMMER DAY we enjoyed.

Our next stop was for photos at Brecon Beacons National Park. as I write this the news is on Welsh TV and telling us there was a court case today about 3 soldiers died there of heatstroke at 30 (yes Fleur) degrees while on a training run 2 years ago, in the rolling hills.

Lunch was in Cardiff where we stay tonight. When we got there we had 3 hours at leisure to perhaps look at Cardiff Castle and the Millenium Stadium. Lunch over, we went to the Castle which is huge and right in the middle of the town. No couldn't go in. Closed for the afternoon and tomorrow too as they were preparing for an evening to farewell Sepp Blatter who has just resigned from FIFA and there is a concert on tomorrow night so the band was rehearsing. Bugger! OK we would go to the Millenium Stadium. No couldn't go in there either. Another concert there tomorrow night for One Direction and they were also setting up and rehearsing. Bugger! We then got on theodolite decker bus tour around the city. That was good but we did think the docklands is pretty horrible really. Huge park in the middle of this capital city and university town was lovely and so many students and workers on their lunch break enjoying the lovely warm sunny day. The main shopping centre is lovely as it is a pedestrian mall making it nice to relax in.
Tonight, we are off to a dinner and Welsh entertainment evening which we are looking forward to.

Posted by RitchieOE 09:57 Comments (0)

We'd 3 June Dublin to Wrexham in Wales on a sunny day

Up at 5am to catch the car ferry. The weather is superb and the crossing was calm as a millpond with hardly anyone on the ferry. A huge ferry which was very comfortable. Docked at Holly Head, Wales and off through Snowdonia National Park which was so beautiful, very rocky and then into the beautiful forest before arriving at a gorgeous little village called Betws-y-Coed. Lots of buses in for lunch so a very busy wee town full of tourists.Lots of artwork in the village e.g. Unusual things for a Welsh Village like an Orangutang and a Rhinoceros made of chicken wire filled with colour plastic bottle tops. Excellent lunch and feat shops to look through.

More travelling through the pretty welsh countryside in stunning weather and even warm enough to take coats and cardigans off finally. YAY
Those of us lucky enough to have put our names down for and paid they went on our Canal boat ride while the rest looked around the lovely little village nearby. Still the weather was glorious and as it was late afternoon, by the time we got on the canal boat and slowly went down the
River Dee with 2 complimentary drinks and a copy of the drawing of the aqueduct we went over, the light on the water was just amazing for photos. We felt very privileged to have had this remarkable opportunity to do this very relaxing and simple activity. The rest of the group who had not gone on the tour were waiting by the river worried about us. We had had to wait for our barge for quite some time before it came. the aqueduct was very high so they may have thought we had gone over the edge!

we arrived at the Ramada hotel in Wrexham just before dinner which was a yummy buffet especially for us. This room is HUGE and for the first time, we have a shower instead of a bath with a shower over it. What bliss. We look out on a leafy park and at 10 to 9 it is still sunny. I don't think I have mentioned that the dawn is about 4.30am and not dark until about 10ish. We offen feel like children as we are often in bed before its dark.

We are loving Wales but we are only here for 2'days unfortunately so we look forward to seeing more tomorrow as we move south.

Posted by RitchieOE 12:34 Comments (0)

Tues 2 June Dublins fair city

A sleep in today and a late bus trip at 9.30am just for an hour around the town of Dublin to get our bearings as today we have a free day to do whatever we like. We decided to head into town which is pretty sprawling for an Irish town, with its river running along by our hotel.

We decided to look at the statues along the river bank of the people affected by the famine in Ireland first. There were many plaques of families names listed of those who suffered. The statues and plaques were very sobering. Being cold probably didn't help our feelings either.

We thought it would be a good day to spend out of the wind and intermittent rain, at the National Museum of Archiology. Here there are several bog people which was fascinating. The Museum is not anything like as big as the National History Museum in London of course, but just as interesting. The finds that have been excavated over the years in bog lands and fields range from the Vikings village just up the road in Dublin, to people from bogs dating back many centuries, to artefacts from the battle of Clontarf in 1014 when the Emperor of the Irish then was Brian Boru. We did not know such a man existed. There is a hotel in Thames, New Zealand called Brian Boru although it changed hands while we lived there and became the Brew. Pity.

Des and I spent quite a few hours in the Museum which was great as when on tour, you don't have that sort of time to really look at something in depth, it's just a taste really. That's fine though as we probably would never have seen anything like as much as we have on this trip should we have been travelling around by ourselves.

This is a big busy city which we have enjoyed. We do enjoy the smaller towns better we've decided though. An early start tomorrow to catch the ferry to Holyhead in Wales. Not very many days left now of this outstanding tour and we have made some great friends on it also. This has been day 17 of 24.

Posted by RitchieOE 12:23 Comments (0)

Monday 1 June Tramore,Waterford,glendalough, Dublin

Another wet day but off to Dublin today. Not far down the road, Waterford where we saw the crystal and then the Viking ship and Tor dating from1000 in the Viking times. We passed through Enniscorthy the site of the final battle of the great rebellion in 1798.
From her it was like we were in a very green and beautiful forest for some time to Avoca. This is a tiny Irish village where the oldest hand weaving mill still running is situated. They employ 100 people and the tour of the Mill for me, was wonderful especially with all the bright coloured yarns on the huge old looms that a still working today. A wonderful place to eat with delicious homemade food (even though my pie was 7.95 euros) it was worth it.

Next,off through the gorgeous forest again even though it was absolutely teeming, we had a 1 hour stop in Glendalough where we walked (getting totally soaked), through the ancient graveyard, to the ruined Monestry. This was the centre of Irish Christianity. St Kevin, who first came and started the Monestry several hundred years ago, our guide told us later, ran away from Dublin to avoid the women and lived in a cave down by the river. Facinating!

We arrived about 3 in Dublin a large town with the river running through it. In fact, we noticed that if you saw a river, you could be sure you would soon see a town or village as they obviously always built near a source of water.
Another Jury's Inn another lovely hotel right on three banks of the river with a walking bridge across from the hotel to the township.

At night we had a hilariously, side aching night of laughter at an Irish Cabaret dinner with Irish dancing, song, music and the hit of the show a comic who has done the show for many, many years who was unshaven, dressed in tights, tails, waistcoat with all the buttons done up askew, large red flower in his button hole, white shirt hanging down over his important features in his tights and a funny little knitted hat. He was very old and shuffled on stage, learing at us all. For those who knew my late Stepfather, Ray he just reminded me of him so much, not that Ray had the Irish gift of the gab like his chap did.

Another amazing day just like every other we have experienced on this tour.

Posted by RitchieOE 03:25 Comments (0)

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