- Caerphilly Castle -

Did someone say castle?

Yes, it’s another castle. Maybe they were right, maybe Australian’s do like old buildings!

I think this was my favourite so far. It looks as a castle should and it has a moat. Once a functioning castle, known for its historically significant architecture, it was constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century as part of his campaign to conquer Glamorgan and is the second largest castle in Britain.

- West of Wales -

An overnight adventure to West Wales.
I think Phil and I had a small communication breakdown about what I wanted to see during our visit. I had grand ideas of idyllic coastal towns and craggy rocky cliffs, showcasing the raw beauty of the welsh coastline. Don’t get me wrong, West Wales has all of that and much more...! I just didn’t get to see as much of it as I would have liked. As it turns out the sun sets super early in winter time. So by about 3.30pm we were already starting to lose the light.

We still had a lovely time. We had lunch in Fishguard in a little rustic pub, where you could bring your dog inside. We explored a “castle” in Cardigan. We then found the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and followed some very narrow lanes to arrive upon a most stunning coastline. It was extraordinary! Very windy and getting dark, we wandered for a short while, before retreating back to the car for our final destination for the night - Tenby. Whilst in Tenby, we went out for a fantastic meal at The Stables. If ever in the area, I recommend eating there.

I can’t wait til we go back to Wales, so that we can really explore beautiful West Wales and the Pembrokeshire Coastal path.

- Up to Abergavenny -

Today we went to Abergavenny for lunch with Phil’s mum, Pauline and Clive. On route, Clive stopped in to show us Kenfig Nature Reserve and where he used to go swimming as a kid. It was a bit overgrown in part and now appears to be a dog walkers delight, but I could definitely see the charm and peacefulness in the place.

From here we headed to Abergavenny and happened upon an old castle ruin. It was established by the Norman Lord Hamelin de Balun in about 1087; and was the site of a massacre of Welsh noblemen in 1175, and was attacked during the early 15th century Glyndŵr Rising.

 The ruins were amazing and it was a little sad to think that I was standing where once a massacre had taken place, all those many centuries ago. The town itself was very nice. I wish I’d taken photos of the town itself, but I was caught up with the exploration and shopping. I discovered a great hat store full of beautiful beanies and pompom hats. Whilst not a cheap store, I loved it so much, we made two trips to Abergavenny just so I could stock up. 

- Australians LOVE Old Buildings -

During the planning phase of our trip, I had mentioned to Phil that I was keen on seeing old castles and ruins from the past.  Phil’s friend claimed that “Australians love old sh!t” when he mentioned the itinerary to them. I’m not sure if that is actually the case, but I do have an interest in old castles and ruins. There is something almost mythical about them.

Our first castle, one of many old sites to come, was Cardiff Castle. It was a most beautiful castle with lots of lovely detail, and they still kept the art of falconry alive. We also saw squirrels! Yes, I am excited by squirrels… cute furry little grey critters frolicking around in the autumn leaves hunting out nuts.

- Waking Up in Wales -

Waking to the sound of gulls, reminds me of the beach and is a great way to greet the day. We are staying with my fiancé’s (Phil) family for the two weeks we are in Wales and it is lovely waking to such a nice feeling of warmth and welcome.

First day in Porthcawl, we made our way down to the water and into the township for a coffee and breakfast.  The air was fresh and salty; and the town was as I imagined a seaside town would be like in Wales - one filled with charm and character. It was a great way to begin our trip.