A lot of my travel obsessions come from places I read about on my favourite books. And sometimes the idea is planted years before, like this desire to visit Wales, for example. I first became curious while reading the first of the Welsh trilogy books by Sharon Penman, “Here be dragons”, which tells the story between the Welsh King Llewelyn the Great and Joanna, King John’s illegitimate daughter. I remember reading about Joanna’s first impressions of Wales and its landscapes, and thinking “someday I must go there”. And so I did, many years after, and even visited Dolwyddelan Castle, which I remember from the book.
Other books about the Welsh princes I read and enjoyed were the Brothers of Gwynnedd quartet, by Edith Pargeter, which are about the last Welsh prince (another Llewelyn) and his brothers. Coincidentally, Edith Pargeter is more known as Ellis Peters, the author of Brother Cadfael’s medieval mystery books (which I never read), which take part in Shrewsbury, another of the places we visited on this trip.
King Edward I is also featured extensively in Ms Penman's last Welsh trilogy book “The reckoning”, and so I was curious to visit the castles he built in Wales after the conquest. This includes Harlech and Caernarfon, but also Beaumaris and Conwy, which we visited on our way to Chester...
Beaumaris is a quiet little village in the isle of Anglesey. We went to visit the castle, of course, and then stopped at this lovely tea house on the main street for lunch (highly recommended)
Conwy turned out to be a much larger place, and it was incredibly busy when we arrived. We decided to skip visiting the inside of the castle, and opted for a long stroll inside the city walls instead.
The main streets were filled with shops, some of them quite interesting. These especially caught my attention:
.. and naturally, this dress (yes, I did went inside to take a look, but sadly it was way over my budget)