Full day, in every wayOctober 24, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C
So not only did I have a bottom bunk, but I also only had one other person in my room. After we were talking for a bit she told me that she actually studies in Edinburgh, so I'll have a second person to visit while I'm there. Turns out that one week of traveling, walking just about everywhere, and trying to see and remember everything I can really takes it out of you. I was asleep by just after eight. Getting my beauty rest (not that I need it) of about twelve hours, I was refreshed and ready to go. The YHA hostel didn't include breakfast, but did have it to buy, and when you're next to a small town at eight in the morning, it's most certainly the best option. Luckily it wasn't just a toast and cereal situation but a full breakfast, and only £6.50. After eating my fill, and being offered seconds (where would I have put it?), I packed up my things to get ready for the day. But before I left, I absolutely had to check out their rooftop terrace. Holy shit! Not only was the view incredible, but the castle was right there! When I drove in at night I had no idea just how close it was. Finally getting my things in to the car, which I was able to leave at the hostel while going in to town, I started walking down. My new friend walked with me for part of it, and was even able to show me where the entrance to the outer wall was. One of the things I found to be fascinating is that you can walk along the outer wall, which is still standing. I also learned that the castle and wall were built at the same time, and took only four years to complete. Over 700 years old, and still in functioning order. Once I had made my way to the end of the wall, I walked to my next destination... and it wasn't the castle. I actually didn't think I was going to be able to see it because when I was planning my trip I thought it was too far out of my way; I was pretty happy to be wrong. The smallest house in Great Britain! They are really not kidding. I'm not even tall and I don't think I could fit comfortably, but it was pretty fun to check out. Next, I grabbed some coffee at a Costa, which I've seen about as frequently as Starbucks back home. I would also like to say that I got to the castle at about ten past ten, and was literally witnessing shops opening, and some didn't even have signs of life yet. This town may have a major attraction, but it's still a sleepy village.
For some reason I expect every castle to be the same, but I'm still interested in going to different ones, and I'm always excited once I'm there; so at least it's still a good time. After climbing the ramp to the castle I was immediately greeted with my favorite thing, an information sign. This place was loaded with all sorts of facts and it made my nerd heart sing. Naturally I had to find all of them, all while taking a few hundred photos, and climbing every tower. You might think that once you've climbed one tower, you've climbed them all, but you would only be sort of right... other ones have different perspective for photos. Also, every tower had a different purpose, and though they may be long since empty, I need to see for myself. A few hours of climbing stone steps later, and I was ready for my next stop.
A short drive later, with no stalling (I even managed to reverse), I arrived at Bodnant Gardens. This place, as I found out, has a rich history and a vast, sloping property that would have probably taken days to see everything. It was home to one of the first suffragettes, and the garden she created was to celebrate women's right to vote. Truly, this place was spectacular. I made sure to get a few hundred photos there as well. Most photos I took are of flowers, the landscape, and even some architecture, but one of my favorite photos is of a "helios chronometer," meaning "sun time measure." When I saw this, let's call it a contraption, I just assumed it was a funky little sun dial, but I was fortunate enough to have a volunteer come over to show me just how wrong I was. He informed me that you input the month and day, then you line up the pinhole to the sun and it would show not only the hour, but the minutes as well... and just as he said this, the sun came out. The sun had been hidden all day, and after letting me see just how this contraption worked, it was hidden by clouds once more. I figured, after a perfect moment like that, I should probably head to my next destination, and only four hours away, Cardiff.Read more