Welsh Choir Practice

Thursday evening October 5th under a full moon and after our supper at the Oakley Arms Hotel in Maentwrog, our bus driver Gwyn dropped us off at the high school in the slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. We were in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park and had been invited to attend one of the very top male voice choirs in the whole of Wales practice, Cor -y -Brythoniaid. What an amazing experience it was for our Wild Wales Tours guests, during their break they boys came down and chatted with us to find out where we were all from in the U.S.! Images by Blake Darst Wenonah Creates.

Tales from Wales at the Winona County Historical Society

Tonight it will be story time at the Winona County Historical Society here in Winona, MN. There will not be a fireplace but there will be plenty of Tales from Wales, stories of the Holy Wells of Wales, the sacred springs and ancient sites that were the gathering places for saints and story tellers before Christianity. The event is free starts at 7p.m sharp. Tea and coffee will be served as well as Bara Brith( freclked bread). When entering a Welsh home there is no better welcome than a cup of tea and a slice of Bara Brith. It does not get any better than that! Image by Blake Darst, Wenonah Creates

Tales from Wales

Join Taff Roberts at the Winona County Historical Society next week as he gives a history of the ancient gathering sites in Wales!

More about the Man O' War

The Atlantic Portuguese Man of War actually is not a jellyfish but a siphonophore. It has a very complicated makeup. The color is a blue bottle hue that could be easily be mistaken for a rounded off granite rock. It lives on the surface of the water, has no way of propulsion and moves according to the wind, currents and tides. Many hundreds washed up one the South Wales Coast this week after a large storm at sea. Unfortunately the whitish one we saw did not live.

Man O' War, Marketplace

What we thought was a rock on the beach at sunrise turned out to be a Portuguese Man of War. Many were washed ashore on the beaches in Southern Wales last week after a huge offshore storm in the Bay of Biscay. A vista on our walk along an ancient path descending down from Tre Ceiri, an iron age fort on the Lleyn peninsular. Two happy guests at Nant Gwtheryn above the Irish Sea last week. Fresh seafood at the Cardiff Marketplace on Monday morning.

Reflecting on a Great Trip!

As our Wild Wales Tour group leaves this magical nation we will reflect on this land of dragons, song and poetry. Sunrise on a beach in Tenby during a early morning walk, the sweeping vista of the beach at Llandudno. The waterfalls in the hamlet of Arthog, Snowdonia National Park, a riot of flowers on the palisade in Tenby by the sea. Elinor,Ann,Mehefin and Ann came to perform for us our on the last night at the Marriot hotel in Cardiff.

The Roman Fortress, Caerleon

Our first stop yesterday morning was at Caerleon, (Isca) one of the largest and most preserved legionary Roman Fotress site in the whole of Europe established in A.D.75. A bright sunny day with a blue sky and when we arrived we were alone but shortly a busload or Roman Warriors appeared and marched into the great amphitheater with determination and gusto. A school outing experiencing history! After lunch we headed out to the great abbey at Tintern built in 1131. The monks coexisted with the land and nature for 400 years. In 1536 Henry VIII enacted the dissolution of the monasteries that ended monastic life in the Isles. Group picture of our Wild Wales Tour group after our last dinner togethe

Dylan Thomas' Studio

Our first stop this morning on our Wild Wales Tours was at Dylan Thomas’ studio and home in Laugharne in Carmarthenshire. Thomas studio as he left it. Mark Montanaro recited many of Thomas work for us on the patio at the Thomas home overlooking the river Taf and estuary. This afternoon we were given a passionate presentation at the newly formed Welsh senedd (senate) by our presenter Shay of the creative changes the new Welsh government are acting on after being ruled by Westminster for the last six hundred years! The senate overlooks Cardiff Bay, built of slate, the exterior walls are all made of glass for transparency in government!

National Library of Wales

Today we visited the National Library off Wales that sits prominently on a hillside above the seaside town of Aberystwyth. A presentation by Cyril who told us that the Germans did not bomb the building during the second World War that was full of innumerable important documents, including the Magna Carta paperwork. They used the prominent building for a navigational aid as they flew the sorties over the United Kingdom flying up Cardigan Bay to Liverpool and the North. We were able to visit the exhibition of ancient texts pertaining to King Arthur with some of the manuscripts being from the 13th century. Tonight we are surrounded by the moonlight sea in the walled city of Tenby in Pembrokeshi

Dylanwad in Dolgellau

Yesterday afternoon were were serenaded by Mair Tomos Williams as we eat our delicious lunch at Dylanwad in the market town of Dolgellau. Mair played her triple harp, shared some stories and sang to us like a nightingale! After lunch we visited the great Strata Florida Cistercian Abbey at Pontrhydfendigaid and were given a presentation by Professor David Austin a top archeologist in Wales. Recently David and his team discovered a celtic church buried under the 1164 Abbey. Story time in a Welsh pub in North Wales a few days ago. Images by Blake Darst, Wenonah Creates.

Nant Gwrtheyrn School

This morning our Wild Wales Bus Tour visited Nant Gwrtheyrn, a Welsh learning school where people come from all over the world to learn Welsh.The students are housed comfortably in miners cottages that have been refurbished. On our way to listen to the Cor-y-Brythoniaid practicing at the high school in Blaenau Ffestiniog we stopped for supper at the Oakley Arms in Maentwrog and met Liz Saville Roberts. Liz is one of the four Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nationalist Party) politicians representing Wales at Westminster in London. Liz was eating at the restaurant, curious about our group came over and gave us a very warm welcome to Wales. The 72 male voice choir, Cor-y-Brythoniaid is one of the very best


Today Emrys Llewelyn Jones led us around his home town of Caernarfon and told us some amazing historic tales from this Roman walled city. Most of the people of this town speak Welsh daily in their work, play and church. After lunch we hopped on the Welsh Highland Railway through the Snowdonia National Park to Porthmadog to our next hotel in the seafaring town of Porthmadog. Yesterday Johanna bought a new cap and we all think its very becoming!

Llyn Padarn

This morning we stopped at Llyn Padarn a glacially formed lake in the Snowdonia National Park, and an example of a moraine damned lake. The romantic artist Joseph Turner painted this very scene in the early 19th century. Our guide Gareth Roberts led us around the National Slate Quarry of Wales in Llanberis. In the 1800s this was one of the largest slate quarries in Wales employing over 3000 people. For lunch we stopped at Ty Hwnt y Bont on the banks of the Conway river A visit to the Trefriw woolen mills was a big hit with our Wild Wales guests today! Images by Blake Darst.

Conway Castle

Today our Wild Wales Bus tour crossed over the border into Wales from the Roman town of Chester. We visited Conway Castle that was built by the Norman invader Edward I on the shore of the river Conway. It was the site of an existing Cistercian Abbey that was taken down. The fortress was built in 1277-1307 in an attempt to over rule the Welsh. The Conway suspension bridge was built by Thomas Telford across the Conway River and was designed to match the adjacent castle in 1822-1826. Meirion our friendly Welsh bus driver drove us up the Orme to visit the Bronze Age Copper Mines that were discovered in 1987. Tonight we are staying at our hotel on the promenade in Llandudno overlooking the Irish

Dysynni Valley

Yesterday morning we hiked up the Dysynni Valley up to the Welsh Fortress Castell-y-Bere, built by the Welsh warrior Llewelyn the Great in 1220 to protect the lands in west Gwynedd. Nearby we visited the small church of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant in Abergynolwyn, at the foot of the iconic mountain Cader Idris. Lunch at the medieval market town of Machynlleth before a visit to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth to visit the exhibition on ancient texts on King Arthur. Tea time was down at the seaside in Aberystwyth where our Wild Wales Tour bus trip will be staying in a sea room view of Cardigan Bay this week. Our Walkabout team walked down this small alley last night to share our last m

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Cader Idris Sunrise

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