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My Wales Driving Tour From Conwy to Tenby (With Photos)

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Map of Wales

Map of Wales

Welsh Legends—What's in a Name?

Legend has it that in 1170 BC, the Ark of the Covenant was captured by Brutus, a descendant of the Trojans, and he brought it to an uninhabited island he named Britain, after himself.

About 1900 years later, there arose in the western part of Britain (commonly called Wales today) a tribal chieftain named Wat. Wat became so powerful and honorable that his sons took the name Watson and his other relatives came to be known as Watkins.

Since that happens to be my name, I long had the desire to go to Wales and take a look around. A few years ago, I did just that. I decided that what I wanted to do was rent a car and drive the entire coastline of Wales, with no set itinerary and no reservations (lodging or otherwise).

Watkins Coat of Arms

Watkins Coat of Arms

A Brief History of Wales

In AD (Anno Domini—the Year of our Lord) 48, the Romans invaded and stayed until about 410 when they withdrew. This withdrawal ushered in the Dark Ages but also the distinct Welsh identity as a Celtic people who called their land Cymru.

The Vikings were the next to attack, followed by the Saxons, followed by the Normans in 1067, but Wales is believed to be unique among former territories of the Western Roman Empire in that it was never conquered until the late 13th Century when it finally fell to the English under King Edward I. It was this King who built the magnificent castles I wanted to see in Wales.

Conwy Estuary

Conwy Estuary

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle

My Welsh Road Trip

I rented a car and learned what it is like to drive on the wrong side of the road— shifting the manual transmission with my left hand (I hadn't asked for an automatic; it must be a joke they play on Americans).

I entered Wales by way of Chester, England. I had driven down there from a driving tour of Scotland, which I had decided to do as a warm-up act. I spent my first night in Wales in Conwy, home of Conwy Castle, built in the 1280s.

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle

Edwardian Castles in Conwy and Caernarfon

I continued west the next day to see Beaumaris Castle, constructed in the 1290s, and considered to be the most perfect example of a concentric castle. After strolling the grounds for a few hours, I drove southwest to nestle in at Caernarfon for the night. But on my way, I had to stop to see a town with the longest name in the world. I kid you not, it is named:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

Inside Caernarfon Castle

Inside Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon is the most Welsh-speaking community in Wales, and best known for its formidable stone castle, built about the same time as Castle Conwy.

While there I stumbled across the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum and found several photos of war heroes from Wales named Watkins (the name does mean Ruling Warrior, after all, according to some.) I didn't even know what a Fusilier was (let me save you the trouble—soldier with a flintlock musket), but apparently this is a famous fighting regiment dating from 1689.

From the top of Mount Snowdon

From the top of Mount Snowdon

Barmouth

Barmouth

The Coast of Wales

The following morning I made a side trip to see Mt. Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales (or England), and much to my surprise, found that there is a famous hiking trail there named Watkin Path.

That afternoon, I drove down to the coast to see Harlech Castle before stopping for the night in Barmouth, a seaside resort.

Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth

Cardigan

Cardigan

Aberystwyth and Cardigan

My next stop was Aberystwyth, generally regarded as the capital of Mid Wales.

I proceeded on to the port city of Cardigan by evening, and just past there found a pub in a hotel called the White Lion. In all my stops I would find a pub to have a few pints and enjoy conversations with the locals. This one was a bit different. When the bartender found out I was American—apparently highly unusual—he called his wife to tell her about it, though it was quite late. She showed up in a jiff (in her bathrobe and with curlers in her hair) to see this curiosity that was me.

St Davids Cathedral

St Davids Cathedral

St. David's Cathedral

I drove on south to St. David's Cathedral, which was constructed in the 14th Century on the remote site occupied since the 6th Century by St. Davids Monastery.

St. David (c500–589) is the patron saint of Wales. He is buried at the Cathedral and his last words, "Do the little things in life" is a well-known inspirational phrase in Wales today. At one time, there were 60 churches dedicated to St. David in Wales.

The Celtic Church had a long history as part of the Roman Catholic Church, which ended in 1530 when the Welsh embraced the Protestantism of the Church of England.

After 1770 most of the inhabitants could be described as Puritans. About this same time, the population began to explode in numbers far faster than at any other time in Welsh history, growing from 500,000 inhabitants in 1770 to 1,163,000 by 1851. This growth was fueled by the Industrial Revolution (and improved transportation with England) and took place despite huge numbers of Welsh people emigrating to America during the same period of time, probably including my ancestors.

By 1914 the population had more than doubled again to over 2,500,000, with 35 percent of the workforce employed in the collieries, which in 1913 exported nearly 37 million tons of coal per year. Today, three million souls call Wales home.


Tenby

Tenby

Tenby

My last stop in Wales was to be in Tenby, a walled seaside town. From there I drove on through Swansea, and the capital Cardiff, on my way to Bristol and England. Then began another adventure.

Pembrokeshire coastline

Pembrokeshire coastline

© 2009 James A Watkins

Comments

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 09, 2012:

Michael-Milec— My Brother . . . I love the way your mind works. I so agree with your words. We have indeed connected in space and time on a spiritual plane. And yes, not much effort was required on our parts. :)

Perhaps we are meant to encourage each other. I, like you, love to learn. To Him be all the Glory.

Thank you for your nice note, your graciousness, and the blessings you have offered to me. And you are quite welcome, too.

God Bless !

James

Michael-Milec on November 07, 2012:

James, brother

...so many great relationships are already orchestrated in " heaven " waiting to be activated here on the Earth. One of them happens as " the identical spiritual distinctive characteristics " connects at an agreed or designated place or time...

How little of our effort needed to become " fast friends on HubPages ?!

Are you encourage by me ? (?!) You are the one encouraging , the least to say. Apparently it's more then just give-and-take.

My insignifant part is , learning , to know something...

A source of pride and honor is within the Author of All Universe , to Him be the glory.

Thank you, and may the blessings of God continue upon you.

Michael

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 06, 2012:

Michael-Milec— How great of you to come and read this Hub. It is one of my old favorites. Do you like the way I slipped that little history lesson in there about B.C.?

:D

Thank you, my friend, for visiting and for your awesome accolades. I am grateful to you for the "Voted high" and your gracious blessings. I am so glad we have become fast friends on HubPages. You encourage me, my brother. I appreciate that very much and you are most welcome.

God Bless You!

James

Michael-Milec on November 04, 2012:

Very interesting, informative, excising and educational tour.

Thanks James taking me (oh, " old " Europe ) -- through this breath taking part of the Earth's natural beauty... an awesomeness of the artitechture !

Also a lesson for post-godly generation : that the B.C. Stands for Before Christ , as well as A. D. means Anno Domini the Year of our Lord.

Hey, no more secrets of brilliant performance of one who is known by the name Watkins .

Voted high.

Blessings, my friend and brother.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 07, 2011:

hemustincrease— I did tour a bit of England but haven't written about it. I thought Wales and Scotland were more unusual. I think I will write about my trip to England soon. I have written a few Hubs on the history of England. One is here:

https://discover.hubpages.com/education/17th-Centu

Thank you for coming!

I appreciate the visit and your comments. :-)

hemustincrease on February 04, 2011:

Oh i am truly homesick now. LOL After reading the Scottish hub and then this one. I can almost breathe the air of home again and smell the green green grass. Not that i am either Scottish or Welsh. LOL But England is a near neighbour to both. So where is the English road trip? ;-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 19, 2010:

Craan— Welcome my fellow Floridian. :-)

I also love the history, land, and culture of the UK. Thank you for your lovely compliments. I appreciate this visitation from you. I'll be coming to check out your Hubs soon. Happy Hubbing!

Sheila Craan from Florida on November 19, 2010:

Most beautiful hub! It's awesome how you wrote about your roots. You've inspired me to dig up more information about my family roots. I visit England every year to spend time with my daughter. I love the rich history, the land and the culture of the UK.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 03, 2010:

AliciaC— You are quite welcome. I am well pleased to have brought back fond memories for you. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 03, 2010:

I grew up in Wales. Thank you for the photos and the information - they brought back lovely memories.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 01, 2010:

Christopher Price— Thank you! Interesting about the origin of your family name. I have not been to Vermont, or New England. That is the only part of America I have missed. I hope to rectify that next summer.

Thanks for reading my Hub. I appreciate your comments. And you are most welcome.

Christopher Price from Vermont, USA on October 31, 2010:

James,

This was a marvelous tour, and the comments it prompted were a wonderful bonus.

All my ancestors, on both my mother's and father's side of the family, were Welsh. My father spoke Welsh before he could speak English. My name is Price, which I was once told by a stranger named Price, comes from Ap Rhys, son of Rhys.

I backpacked around Scotland, England, Wales and much of Europe the summer of 1971. But only got to spend 3 days in Wales. It was much too brief.

I am a Vermont native and live here now. It is probably the nearest thing to Wales on Earth. Many Welsh settled in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work in the slate quarries here. My grandfather was a slate engraver...a delicate job due to the layered composition of the material.

I would love to return to Wales for an extended stay. Your hub entices me so. Thanks.

CP

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 30, 2010:

lex123— Caernarfon might have been my favorite stop on this tour. I'm glad you also got to visit Wales. Thank you for visiting and commenting. :-)

lex123 on July 29, 2010:

I had been to North Wales few months back, and loved the places there, including the Caernarfon castle. It was a memorable trip.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 20, 2010:

Kaie Arwen--- This is one of my favorites, too. Thank you for coming back here to ay so. I could live in Wales, for sure, if I could afford it. Maybe when my writing career takes off.

James

Kaie Arwen on February 19, 2010:

James- Of all of your Hubs this is the one that always draws me back for another look............. yeah, I could live here. Then again........... there are a lot of beautiful places............. and I will "find me one!" And you're right, warm and dry would be the ONLY requirement! BIG FIREPLACE............ that would make for a happy girl; chopping wood on the other hand will make for a tired girl!

Kaie

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 19, 2010:

Money Glitch--- Thank you! I appreciate the link very much. That is gracious of you. You are welcome and I am grateful for your warm accolades.

Money Glitch from Texas on February 18, 2010:

Hi James, this is a great hub! I found it while researching this week's HubMob topic on St. David's Day. As a courtesy, I wanted you to know that I have provided readers a reference link to this hub. Your pictures are awesome and your first hand insight is great. Thanks for sharing your insight on such a beautiful country.:)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 30, 2010:

stars439--- Thank you for saying so. I very much appreciate your encouragement. God Bless You!

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on January 29, 2010:

Remarkably fantastic hub. God Bless You

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 21, 2010:

lorlie6--- I am rather proud of the photographs. This was one of my favorite trips ever. Just driving around with no set itinerary. Great fun. You are welcome and thank you for coming. Oh yes, I enjoyed the first point you made too. I hadn't thought of it but that is ironic indeed.

Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on January 21, 2010:

How ironic that St. David in his succinct ways would be so honored by a country with "Llanfair..." as the most Welsh speaking community! I myself am half Welsh, with "Llewellyn" as my maternal name. What breathtaking photography you have brought to HubPages, in particular the view from Mt. Snowdon.

Thank you, James.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 26, 2009:

KAIE! You are not alone. I would love to live the rest of my days in Wales. I could care less about accommodations; providing I am warm and dry. I am lucky.

And I am lucky you came to visit me tonight. Thank you!

Kaie Arwen on November 26, 2009:

Okay........... so I could live here. Just a little two room, thatched cottage down the road from Castle Conwy, Uh, I'd even take a spot on somewhere on Mt. Snowdon.......... as long as I have a view of the water. Beautiful trip, you're a lucky man!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 08, 2009:

jockmchaggis— You are welcome. I am glad to be of service. Thank you for visiting and leaving word. I love castles, too.

jockmchaggis from Brighton, UK on November 08, 2009:

Thanks James, you've provided at least one of the things I'll learn today - I knew what A.D. stood for, but had never made the translation through to Year of our Lord. I'm with Kim on the love of castles too, thanks for the tour!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 26, 2009:

Kim Garcia— Thank you very much! I apologize for the delay in responding as I have been out of country. If you do visit the UK, I highly recommend Wales, which is often overlooked. The castles are an excellent experience. I so enjoyed this trip. And you pegged what made it particularly wonderful for me in your perceptive comments. I appreciate you coming by and leaving your warm words. And, of course, you are welcome.

Kim Garcia on October 15, 2009:

Lovely!!! Simply lovely!! What an amazing treat to be able to trace your family roots! Walk the same paths, view the same breathtaking landscapes, rome the same castles, and learn the rich history of your Welsh ancestors!! Thank you James for sharing your tour with us, it was so enjoyable. I'm in love with castles anyway and have desired to make a trip to the UK for quite some time. Never the right opportunity has presented itself. Maybe one day. Peace n' Blessings always! ~K

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 02, 2009:

capyl.de— Thanks for coming by. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

capyl.de on October 02, 2009:

cool boss...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2009:

SimeyC— AH! So, I accomplished my purpose! JK :)

Actually, I was writing a Hub today for newbies about writing Hubs and I opened my email and there you were! hmmm . . . I'll do one anyway without covering the same ground, but I'll wait a few days until yours gets some traction. It is well done, BTW.

I'll take any publicity I can get—good or bad! :-)

The problem with travel is one never has enough time to see all the sites. But I loved Wales. I could easily move there and live out my days. If I had any money.

You are welcome and I thank you for your nice compliments.

Simon Cook from NJ, USA on September 16, 2009:

Thanks for your comment on my hub! As I mentioned, commenting is really important and an example is that it made me look at your hubs! Now as I lived in Wales for thirty years this one instantly intrigued me - I've been to all the palces you mention here, and could add about fifty places you should have visited - including what we call the 'fairy tale' castle near Cardiff - it was built in the 18th Century (I think) by Bute - it is similar to the Castles in the Rhine Valley. It was never used as a 'real' castle - but it is an intriguing part of the local history - it's been featured on several TV shows...great and informative hub! I'm going to highlight this one as an 'example of a great hub'..let me know if you don't want me to and I'll remove it!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2009:

Allan McGregor— I will surely go read the "Declaration of Arbroath." I appreciate that tip as it sounds very interesting.

That is a fascinating story about the Berbers. I have never heard of them being related to the Jews. I am going to research this further.

You are a great man to converse with, filled with knowledge and wisdom but not all "in the box." I love it. Thanks so much for all the fine information. Celtic Crescent. hmmm.

Allan McGregor from South Lanarkshire on September 15, 2009:

Nothing humble about it. It's a great hub.

You might also like to google 'The Declaration of Arbroath 1320'. This claims that the Scots originated from some of the Lost Tribes of Israel and travelled across North Africa, into Spain, across to Ireland and into Scotland.

Not only have I written about this elsewhere, but added more to it after speaking to a tour guide on holiday in Morocco in January.

He was a Muslim and a Berber, who make up 90% of Morocco's population (only 10% are Arabs), and happened to mention that the Berbers were originally Jews.

That caught my attention and I told him what I had written about it, because the Berbers are related to the Scots and were not Jews but other Israeilte tribes. What struck me, though, was that this man knew nothing of the Declaration of Arbroath but was merely citing his own national cultural tradition, which tends to independently corroborate the claims made by the Declaration. (Although Bedouin-like, the Berbers are fair-skinned, sometimes even blue-eyed, and speak a non-Arabic language that has many similarities to Scots and Irish Gaelic.)

And you might like to know that Britanny, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and Scotland are collectively known as the 'Celtic Crescent'.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 14, 2009:

Allan McGregor— You are a quite learned historian! I knew there was an ancient connection between the Scots, Irish, Welsh, and Brittany and Cornwall. Further still, these peoples are connected to the Gauls, the Belgae, the Galicians in Spain and the Galatians—exiled to Turkey by the Romans.

Thank you so much for visiting my humble hub and leaving your brilliant commentary. I love the new information.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 13, 2009:

Staci-Barbo7— Why, thank you! I am pleased that you like the pics.

I did not notice nearly as many power lines, but it is not as densely populated as North Carolina, either. That is distracting for those enjoying the beauty of the landscapes, to be sure. I appreciate you visiting my humble hub.

Staci-Barbo7 from North Carolina on September 13, 2009:

James, I love your photos so much that I can't choose a favorite. They're spectacular!

Being a "Yank" who's never traveled abroad, I have a burning question - does Wales feature gargantuan billboard signs on the sides of highways and above-ground power lines everywhere as we have here in North Carolina, which mar the land's natural beauty? This curiosity originates from my noticing how utterly distracting (and discordant) these items appear, while I was traveling recently within my home state, and wondering whether this is an issue in other states and developed countries.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 24, 2009:

Paradise7— I am pleased you enjoyed this article. The trip to Wales was dear to my heart. Thank you for the laudations and you are most welcome.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on August 24, 2009:

Good going, James. I loved the pics. You write good articles--articulate, clear, and carefully researched. Thank you for the time you take to share.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 14, 2009:

gpound— I thoroughly enjoyed them both equally. Scotland is more picturesque but for me, that was balanced out by the terrific castles in Wales. I will do a Hub on my travels in Scotland soon. Thank you for your comments.

gpound from Toronto, Ontario on August 14, 2009:

Nice piece, enjoyed the history and the pics. I've done Wales but not Scotland. WOuld you dare compare?

Glenn

https://hubpages.com/@gpound

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 28, 2009:

GoldCoastAnnie— You are welcome. I loved my trip there to see where many of my ancestors lived. Thank you for reading and leaving your comments. I am glad I brought back some memories for you.

GoldCoastAnnie on July 28, 2009:

James, Thank you for this hub. I have it in my mind that I haven't been to Wales. But I have! When I was growing up near Manchester I obviously flitted across the border on family trips without even realising it! I have been to every single one of the places you mention and your hub brought it all back. Thank you for rekindling the memories.

Annie.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 10, 2009:

katyzzz— I don't think so.  I believe the first universities were Byzantine and then Italian.  But I'm not certain.  It was a wonderful journey.  Thanks for taking the time to come and check it out.  I am glad you did.

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on July 10, 2009:

Amazing but often bleak scenery. It must have been a wonderful journey. Wasn't Wales the seat of the first University?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 10, 2009:

Iðunn You are gracious to visit my work and leave your kind comments. I do appreciate you for it.

Iðunn on June 10, 2009:

grand views. I envy your travels. stunning hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 09, 2009:

AEvans— I don't think you're nuts.  To walk in the land of my forefathers really did have an entirely different feeling to it from any place else I have been.  I get it.

I do recommend the automatic.

Thank you for taking the time to view my Hub and leaving your very nice comment. :D

Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on June 09, 2009:

My natural father and his family was from Wales and I have been doing a family tree about my maiden name, so this hub certainly strikes a chord with me. When I looked at some of those pictures, especially the one of the castle at the very beginning it touched something deep in my soul, I can't explain and you may even think I am nuts so I will not adlib. Thank you so much for giving me a part of my families history through your eyes. :)

As for the stick-shift when I do go I am renting an automatic, lolololol :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2009:

The air was very clean and fresh there.  And most of my time there was right on the coast.  So, I know what you mean.  I drove down one lane roads on cliffs overlooking the ocean; where 20 yards was a long straightaway—with traffic coming the other way.  A bus knocked the side mirror off my rental car.

Steve Rensch on June 08, 2009:

I forgot to say that the one thing I remember most about Wales is the smell. You can't describe a smell really, but it was the fresh smell of the ocean, though not the ocean I grew up next to.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2009:

Steve Rensch— Welcome!  I've heard about those hitchhiking through Europe days, though I never got there.  I did a lot of hitchhiking here in the states, though.  Fun times.  I am glad you liked the Hub.  Wales is not only interesting but there is something in the atmosphere that I found calming and soothing.  Thank you for visiting and your comments.

Steve Rensch on June 08, 2009:

In 1967, I hitchhiked through Europe. I got to the Cotswalds in August, so it was beautifully sunny and green. Unfortunately, I had contracted dysentery, compliments of an ice cream in Italy, and anyone who has had that one knows how it makes you oblivious to everything else. As a result, I never felt I got to see Wales, really. Your pictures confirm that I did not. My children and grandchildren sometimes ask me which of the places I've been they should see, and I am adding Wales to the list. Thanks, James.

Steve Rensch on June 08, 2009:

In 1967, I hitchhiked through Europe. I got to the Cotswalds in August, so it was beautifully sunny and green. Unfortunately, I had contracted dysentery, compliments of an ice cream in Italy, and anyone who has had that one knows how it makes you oblivious to everything else. As a result, I never felt I got to see Wales, really. Your pictures confirm that I did not. My children and grandchildren sometimes ask me which of the places I've been they should see, and I am adding Wales to the list. Thanks, James.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 06, 2009:

ethel smith— Why, thank you! I was there in May and the weather was perfect the entire time. I must have been lucky.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 06, 2009:

Wales is notorius for being wet and windy. When the weather is good though it is glorious. Loved all the additional history in this hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 05, 2009:

skydiver— Well, I'll be! I must have driven near there and not realized it. Thank you for your comment. I loved the area!

skydiver from UK on June 05, 2009:

Nice hub :) I live on the coast in North Wales right next to Flint castle, nice to see someone enjoying the area! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2009:

Benz B— I very much appreciate you for saying so.

Benz B on June 04, 2009:

awesome hub. was a great read. nicely done.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2009:

Lady Jane— Thank you. I love the old Cathedrals over there and have visited a few. I am glad you came to visit. I love your fine work on your Hubs.

Ann Leavitt from Oregon on June 04, 2009:

The pictures are beautiful: I've always had a soft spot for old-world architecture. I enjoyed your descriptions. What a heritage you've been given in your last name!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2009:

You are welcome! Thanks for that information. How cool is that? I will check that out for sure.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on June 03, 2009:

Thanks for the dedication. Lady Guinevere has written a hub about her Welsh ancestry and it contains a ship's manifest showing Watkins 's going to the USA, you may like to check it out. She writes about her Lewis name.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

KCC— Get' er done and I will love to see it. Sounds like a fun Hub for you and for us.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

Julie B— I am pleased that you enjoyed it so. Beautiful and magical it is. If I do the novel, do you think I would have to go and live there for a couple years for research? Thank you for the inspiration and you are welcome. I love your avatar BTW.

KRC from Central Texas on June 03, 2009:

My Texas tongue just doesn't flip around in my mouth well enough to pronounce them. LOL You've inspired me to write a hub with some of the pictures I took in the UK. I'm going the "oddities" route.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

KCC Big Country— Thank you for this compliment and the Fan Mail as well. I haven't been to Tintern Abbey but that does look like a wonderful experience. That T-Shirt comment was funny! Believe it or not, when I was there I learned to pronounce the name of this town with some local folk—but it was not easy.

Julia B from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

James, what a breathtaking country. Beautiful. I feel there is a lot of magic in that land. Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures. I think there is a story here for you. You might consider writing a novel about this incredible land.

KRC from Central Texas on June 03, 2009:

What a great hub! Thanks for sharing! I've been to the UK twice and have been into parts of Wales both times. Absolutely loved the experience. I particularly enjoyed Tintern Abbey.

I had to chuckle at the t-shirt comment above. They do tend to love their L's, T's W's and Y's. I just made funny noises with my tongue like I was choking on a chicken bone when I was talking about Llangollen. LOL

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

Ross— Thank you for the appreciation. You should go. It is beautiful, very relaxing, and full of unusual history.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

Tom— You are welcome, Tom. I love those stories of Merlin and King Arthur. A lot of legends, myths and fantasies bloomed during those Dark Ages. I actually like the Dark Ages in their own way. Thanks for your comments.

Ross on June 03, 2009:

James,

Those pictures were awesome. I would love to take a trip like that and go back through time. What memories.

Tom rubenoff from United States on June 03, 2009:

Some of this country seems familiar to me. I am reading Mary Stewart's trilogy about Merlin to my 13-yr.-old daughter. Much of the story takes place in Wales. Thanks for a great article, James!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

Gypsy Willow— You indeed were my inspiration. In fact, I was going to mention that in the Hub. Viewing your Hub on Wales brought wonderful memories flooding back into my mind I hadn't thought about in a while. I never thought I would write in the travel section, but the idea gnawed at me for a few days and I decided to go for it. So, this Hub is dedicated to you! Thanks!

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on June 03, 2009:

You are making me home sick Mr. Watkins. Perhaps my hubs on Wales inspired you? Great hub on our great country!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

puppascott— They didn't have it in her size!  That would have been a great idea, though.  I appreciate your jocularity.  It is refreshing.  Thank you!

puppascott from Michigan (As far as you know...) on June 03, 2009:

Great writing and pictures. I wonder, did you get a t-shirt with "My son went to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." for your mother?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

Douglas D. Schumann— You are most welcome! Thank you for the gracious comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

Vladimir Uhri— A pleasure to hear from you again. There is still time! Maybe you can make a trip over there yet?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

Don AZ— As I recall, you are a professional travel writer.  So for an amateur such as me, I accept this as high praise indeed.  I cannot thank you enough for lifting my spirits in this way.  And yea, the Castles are the highlight next to the awesome scenery.  Nice to hear from you, Brother.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

R Burow— You are welcome. I am pleased that you enjoyed it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 03, 2009:

Jodi Hoeksel— Thank you very much!  It was all my pleasure to share these memories I shall always treasure. 

So, you live near Tenby?!  And you are from the states.  That is very interesting.  I really enjoyed Tenby, and the whole of Wales.  I agree with you—it is a beautiful spot on earth.  How long have you been living there?

I do appreciate your gracious comments.

ps I tightened up the wording since you visited. 

Douglas D. Schumann on June 03, 2009:

James, what a magnificent history lesson and tour. Thankyou for sharing.

Don - AZ on June 03, 2009:

Loved this travel blog!

I'd love to see the castles. Great piece.

Keep up the good writing!

Don

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on June 03, 2009:

Beautiful places. I lived in the Europe but did not have chanse to go to UK.

R Burow from Florida, United States on June 03, 2009:

What a trip ! Thanks for the tour. Love the pictures, especially that of Cardigan. I think this may be a famous scene. Beautiful.

Jodi Hoeksel on June 03, 2009:

This is great, James! Some beautiful places you visited! I am simply in awe of the beauty here in Wales! I would like to take some time to travel the country myself. I live near Tenby. It is one of my favorite places so far. Maybe due to it being a holiday makers place with various visitors. I feel a bit more at home there for socializing, with being from the states. There is vast beauty on the coastline. The most recent excitement was an amazing Gothic house built on Freshwater West beach near me for the shooting of the next Harry Potter film. What an amazing structure and the beach has the most magnificent waves and rips. I am looking forward to seeing the film and how the scene was captured. I am very grateful you shared this experience. I have a lot to learn yet about the area, yet at least feel lucky that there is so much to explore so close. Looks like you had a beautiful experience.

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