The next day, we drove to Beaumaris on the island of Anglesey in far northwest part of Wales. Before we actually go to Beaumaris, we first stopped at the tourist trap “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch” which is the longest place-name in England. It means “St. Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysillio of the red cave.” It’s actually a train stop, not the name of the village. It was actually thought up by a sailor to make the place a tourist trap. Nice job there! It was a fun place to check out.
Then we went to see the column of the Marquess of Anglesey. We had to wander into this dark, damp forest to a little house which keeps up the column. We paid a small fee and wandered past overgrowth of various grasses and plants to the column itself. We had to walk up about 100+ steps to the top which gave a wonderful view of the Menai Strait and Anglesey. However, the steps were really daunting; occasionally, a step would be caved in. And there was a copper wire wrapped around the central pillar, which had the ominous sign “Don’t touch the copper wire due to electrocution” or something along those lines. I don’t think I’ve ever felt nervous about steps quite before this. But the Marquess was a bit of a bad ass. He fought bravely at Waterloo. During the battle, his was blown off by a cannonball to which he turned to the Duke of Wellington and said, “By God Sir, I’ve lost my leg.”
The leg has its own history as well.
Then we drove to Beaumaris itself as the grand event. Beaumaris is French for “fair marsh.” Edward I built another of his Iron ring castles here in 1295 but it was never finished. There is an incredible symmetry to the castle, which is rare. It has a lovely moat and a gate that permitted supply ships to sail right into the castle. Again, the attraction was wandering the castle itself such as walking the parapet, wandering in the dark damp corridors. It was simply amazing.
There were some terrifying signs warning tourists of low ceilings and birds. Yes, there was a sign showing a person being attacked by seagulls.
Afterwards, we decided to go to some prehistoric sites around the island. One site actually had three sites of archeological interest. One was a 14th century chapel with no roof. There was a little Roman-British settlement. It was small but fun to walk amongst the ruins in the forest. And there was a 2500 BC stone burial mound that you could actually crawl into. I’m not sure if we were supposed to but we did and it was awesome.
We drove to another 3500 BC stone burial mound which was surrounded by prickly hedges. While wandering to the site, it made me feel like I was in the maze from the 4th Harry Potter movie. The site was really neat; it was a mound with earth over it. You could also go inside.
To round out the day, we had a bit of a misadventure at the Newborough Warren, a protected dunes area, that led to the beach We met a lovely old couple who told us about the wild horses that populated it and a little clearing with blackberries. We got very excited and began hiking it. Well, after about 2 miles, we had seen neither horses, blackberries and the beach. We eventually decided that we had enough of this weird sandy path and turned home. Alas. There were some horses near the parking lot but we weren’t sure if they were wild. I call them my possibly wild horses.
We spent the night in Beaumaris and met some Welsh folks that knew a lot about American football. This family was full of football fans and each had their favorite teams. One liked the Dallas Cowboys because of the star. They were planning on going to the game in London later that year. It was really charming. We ate well and wandered home in the fog, making the castle look ever more mysterious.
That’s all for now. Part 4 will look at Conway.