Tuesday, July 05, 2011


We stayed overnight at the White Hart Royal Hotel in Moreton-in-Marsh, across the street from Mrs. T. Potts tearoom.  Moreton-in-Marsh features in a number of Agatha Raisin novels by M. C. Beaton.  Agatha Raisin is a 50-something-year-old sleuth whom reviewers liken to "a cross between Miss Marple, Auntie Mame, and a pit bull."  If you need to escape into a British cozy mystery with a touch of spoof, I heartily recommend this series.  We also recommend Mrs. Pott's toasted teacakes!
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Market Hall

Market Hall in Moreton-in-Marsh.  Each of the Cotswolds villages we passed through seemed to have their own distinctive market hall at the end of a village green.
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Monday, July 04, 2011

Ross on Wye, UK

Stopped overnight here on the way from Wales to the Cotswolds.
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Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru (National Library of Wales)

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru (National Library of Wales).  One of the great libraries of the world, both when it was founded (1907) and today.  The 1.5 hour tour is well worth the time.  The library houses not only a complete collection of books published in Wales, but also a substantial art collection.   State-of-the-art technology includes digitization of ancient texts, historic sound and video archives, extensive family history resources, and compact moveable shelving. I moved 10-tons of paintings with one hand! Sadly, The Black Book of Carmarthen (earliest surviving Welsh manuscript, ca.  AD 1250) was not on display, but I suppose it's easier to study it online.  They have an excellent cafe and a great bookstore as well.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

The George Borrow Inn, Ponterwyd, Wales

George Borrow, Victorian travel writer and author of Wild Wales, stopped here at The Inn at Ponterwyd, on November 2, 1854.  We stopped here for their Sunday Carvery, after our walk.
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Sunday Carvery

One of our best meals during our travels!  Roast beef, yorkshire pudding, roast pork, applesauce, cornbread stuffing, gravy, horseradish sauce and mustard, cauliflower and cheese, new potatoes, parsnips, carrots, turnip, and buttered cabbage.  And rice pudding for dessert!  Oh and a pint of Felinfoel Double Dragon ale. All very much enjoyed after walking.

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Ponterwyd, Wales

The rolling hills and bald mountains around Ponterwyd must have made very challenging walking for George Borrow.  In particular, I don't know how he managed to find his way south through the Plynlimon range.  The roads up through Nant-y-Moch and Angler's Retreat look wild and desolate.  I imagine you could get yourself quite turned around up amongst those mountains and hill farms!  One of those Welsh places, I bet, where if you were to get lost and have to spend the night , you'd come down either a poet or a madman!

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Above Aberdyfi

On the other side of the dike is the Dyfi River, and beyond that the hills above Aberdyfi.  The air was positively balmy today.
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Ynyshir Nature Preserve

A meadow full of baa-ing sheep, purple foxgloves, and the Dyfi estuary in the distance made for a very peaceful morning walk at Ynys-hir Nature Preserve. The Welsh name Ynys hir translates to long island in English.
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Dyfi Furnace

Dyfi Iron Furnace was built circa 1755 and sits astride Afon Einion. The waterwheel drove the bellows for the blast furnace, and nearby woodlands provided charcoal for the process.  Later the waterwheel powered a sawmill, and currently, it is used to put a small amount of power into the electrical grid.  According to the display inside, it was producing 10kW of electricity at the time I took this shot, enough to power about 8 homes.
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Afon Einion

The River Einion tumbles through Artist's Valley in Wales. I can see why artists were attracted to this valley: the water was crystal clear and the stones were such lovely colors, and the light filtering through the trees created such pretty patterns.
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Saturday, July 02, 2011

View from our hotel window

We stayed at an old Victorian hotel on the Aberystwyth seafront, and every evening we enjoyed magnificent sunsets from our window.
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Devil's Bridge

Devil's Bridge, Wales.   These three bridges, which were built on top of each other, span Afon Mynach, a tributary of Afon Rheidol.  The lower bridge, a stone bridge, was built in 1075 by monks, possibly from Strata Florida Abbey to the south.  But according to legend, the Devil was the actual builder.  The story goes that an old woman was bringing her cow home from market and came to the river, which was too flooded to cross.  The Devil appeared and offered to build a bridge for her, provided that the first living thing to cross it would give him its soul.  When he finished the bridge, the woman decided she didn't want to cross the bridge first, so she threw a crust of bread onto the bridge, and her little dog ran after it.  The Devil was so mad about being tricked into taking the soul of a dog, that he flew into a rage and stormed out of Wales, vowing never to return.  The second bridge (1753) is also a stone bridge, and the most recent bridge (1901) is an iron bridge.
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Above Cwm Rheidol

A narrow gauge steam railway passes through Cwm Rheidol (the valley of the Rheidol River) on its way to Devil's Bridge, an hour's ride east of Aberystwyth.
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Friday, July 01, 2011

A walk on the promenade

An afternoon walk on Aberystwyth's promenade and the view north to Constitution Hill.
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View from Constitution Hill

An electric-tram ride up Constitution Hill on the north side of Aberystwyth gives you a bird's eye view of the town, the old college, the castle on the promontory, and even a bit of the harbor south of town.
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Aberystwyth: Old College and Castle

Yr Hen Coleg (Old College), Prifysgol Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth University), was founded in 1872.  In the foreground is Y Tŵr-y-Gogledd (North Tower) of Castell Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth Castell), which was built 1277-1289 under the orders of Edward I.  Today it is in ruins, mainly due to the harsh seaside conditions.

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