Chirk was my last Welsh castle, and I have to say I’m loving the alliteration. On our way back from Cardiff, we passed Chirk, which rung a bell in Edward, and he looked up if there was national trust property and there was, and that property was a castle. So us weirdos sharing a love for old castles, and being bored of the area we were in took a day trip to Chirk. Which was only around an hour and half away, maybe 2 hours.
It also had these beautiful gardens which we walked around for a bit. The English really do know their gardens.
On the way back to the train I saw this.
Bah bah black sheep.
Castle Count: 16
Cathedral Count: 15
I couldn’t exactly be in Wales for 6 months and not go to the capital! Leanna and I went to Cardiff, with two other friends of Mine tagging along; Edward, and Abbie.
The first day there we walked around, went to a cute little tea shop we found, and went to the Castle (yes another castle and it’s not the last.)
Just some queens in front of our castle.
Leanna and I got into a bit of trouble and had to be put in time out. But after there was time out, there was tea.
We went to bed fairly early, because we had to wake up early for a busy next day! We all (except Edward) being the dorks that we are decided to go to the Dr. Who museum. It was amazing.
We had a chance to “fly” the Tardis, and then there was a museum filled with props from the set. Took on the Daleks too.
Unfortunately I was sick, and had no voice, so I wasn’t feeling very good. So that night after dinner, we went out for few drinks, Edward and I went back to the Airbnb, and Leanna and Abbie stayed out and partied for a bit.
Castle Count: 15
Cathedral Count: 15
Another day another Castle right?
For Leanna’s last adventure we did a day trip to another Castle. Caernarfon is traditionally where the prince of Wales is investitured(? I’m sure that’s the right word.) However it has a complicated history, and for hundreds of years the Prince of Wales was not investitured, in 1911 who would be Edward VIII had his ceremony there, and in 1969, Prince Charles had his ceremony there (notice the gap.)
The steps to climb were horrible but the view was worth it. In case anyone didn’t know, I hate heights.
Castle Count: 14
Cathedral Count: 15
Leanna my roommate from back in the states came for 10 days! How wonderful!!!!! While she was here I turned 21 (finally!), we went to Conwy (for the third time, so I’ll save the pictures from that you can just look at all my other Conwy pictures), Cardiff, Llandudno, and provided her with the ultimate North Wales (except Cardiff), adventure.
Lets talk Llandudno.
Llandudno, was about an hour bus ride, and well worth the trip. It’s a cute little seaside town, that offers a different type of charm than Conwy. Lewis Carroll famously took trips with Alice to here, so a majority of the town has Alice and wonderland themes.
We spent a majority of our time on the pier. Which went on forever!
However it probably took us a while to get to the end, because there were arcades that we kept popping into for fun.
(It’s really no surprise that Mollie and I got into mischief.)
The weather was beautiful and comfortable, with a nice breeze, and actually some sun. Leanna was lucky with the weather she got. At the end of the pier was a little cafe where we sat for some refreshments. It’s also where we found out that seagulls like tea too!
We ended our day, walking on this rocky beach, and venturing into a cave, which none of us were dressed for.
My mommy came to visit me! Of course it came on the heels of my worldwind week in Italy so I was exhausted. She didn’t spend most of our time in Wales, we went to Ireland for 4 days, the northern coast/ Belfast, and Dublin. She shows up with a one pound note! They haven’t been in circulation since the 1980’s! I saw one being sold in a ‘vintage’ store for 25 quid!
However when she came I took her straight to Conwy. If the name sounds familiar that;s because I’ve written about it before; http://sbolanos.com/study-abroad/conwy/ it was one of the first places I ventured out of Bangor to, way back in January… which seems like such a long time ago!
This time we did something different, we went to a little tea place, and went into this old Victorian town house! The next day we headed off to Ireland. Stay tuned as I procrastinate my essays by writing this blog.
I just thought the window was cool
I missed so many birthdays in the states that I wanted to start out by saying happy birthday to Allyson, Ashley, and Lizzy! I miss you both! Imagine this cake was for you!
On a side note- The lovely Ashley turned 21 this past Friday and I am so happy I was able to celebrate it with you! I know that we can already legally drink in Wales so it was great to celebrate you being truly legal in the states! <3
Now on to the real reason for this post!— Cake!
Another birthday another cake. One of my new friends here had a birthday this past Sunday so I asked her if I could make her a cake. She requested marble (among others and I choose marble), and butter cream icing (my forever go to icing). This recipe comes courtesy of ‘BBC Good Foods’.
- 225 g butter
- 225 g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 225 g self rising flour
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder ( I added an extra third because I love chocolate)
- a pinch of salt.
Preheat oven to 180/190 C. Grease two sandwich pans. Combine sugar and butter until fluffy, and add eggs and beat one at a time. Add milk and vanilla. Slowly add self rising flour, and beat until combined. Sprinkle salt and fold in. Separate half the batter into another bowl.
- Add cocoa powder and fold in. 2 tbsp at a time drop vanilla batter and chocolate batter into the pans. Once all the batter has been used up take a tooth pick or knife and drag around to create a marble effect. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until you press the center and it bounces back.
I wrapped these up and put them in the freezer for a day, however they cool quite quick, and then decorated them.
I didn’t really use a buttercream recipe because it’s something I can make in my sleep! I started with about 300 g of unsalted butter (very important for it to be unsalted) added milk, vanilla extract, and icing sugar until I reached the consistency and flavor I wanted!
Thinking now a chocolate butter cream recipe would be great, if you prefer chocolate, (if I was making it for myself this what I would have done)
And this is the final result! I didn’t bring much from home other than clothes, but I did bring my pipping tools. I’m proud to add this one to the collection, it’s not my best but for what I had I think I did well!
This town was a 5 minute train ride away, and is located on this island called Anglesey, so of course I dragged out Ashley to come with me. I have Wednesdays off and get bored so I decided to take a quick trip. The town name meaning is longer than the town roughly translates to “St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave.” The town literally changed the name to make it longer just to drum up tourism. I guess it worked.
We went to a really cute little restaurant that had amazing tea and food, and the best Calamari I have ever had. But other than that there wasn’t much to do around, and the next train was coming in two hours so we walked back instead. There’s this bridge called the Menai bridge and it’s stunning. It was about a 45 minute walk to the bridge, 15 minutes to actually get across it, and then another 45 to get back to our flats. The views on the way to the bridge, and from the bridge made it worth it. When in Wales right.
See those mountains? Thats the Snowdon Mountain range, you may recongize it from Penrhyn Castle.
The views once we reached the bridge were equally breath taking.
The castle and cathedral count remain the same.
Cathedral Count: 3
Apparently it’s not a real castle, but it was suppose to be a hunting lodge… which is insane. It’s beautiful and huge, I cant even imagine having so much money that I go to built a hunting lodge and end up building a castle.
The entire Castle won’t even fit into one picture, not even a panorama could fit the entire thing.
Even though the day was cloudy, and the grounds were muddy from rain the night before it did not rain while we were there and for that I count it as a success!
There were beautiful gardens that were fairy tale- quality, and had a eerie quality to them while in the winter but I’m sure in the spring or summer, it’s even more stunning.
The views from the castle were stunning themselves. From one side you get rolling hills, and the sea (or maybe it’s the menai straights), and on the other side you get the Snowdon Mountain range, which luckily looked like it just snowed recently and had a lot of snow on top.
The inside of the castle wasn’t open so I’ll have to go again one day when it is.
Once again this is a place I want to travel back to when the weather is a bit warmer, because I’m sure the grounds are stunning. Now our castle count and cathedral count are all tied up.
Castle Count: 3
Cathedral Count: 3
This place is absolutely beautiful I don’t know how I got so lucky to end up in such a beautiful place, and you’ll probably read this again and again but Wales is truly underrated. This was my first “real” castle but they’re everywhere so I’m only counting real castles that aren’t completely in ruins in my castle count. Conwy (Con-We.. i think, I’ve also heard it pronounced Con-WAY) is a small sea side town about 30 minute bus, or 10-15 minute train ride away from Bangor, it has beautiful scenery great shops, and evil seagulls… I’m not kidding they warned us about the seagulls don’t feed them.
But enough on that look at this castle! These are some panorama’s I look from inside!
It was built in the 1280’s.. how old! There’s so much history I can’t even begin I highly recommend you to look it up! It was stunning and old and amazing how even though its in ruins it’s really not and it’s held it’s own fairly well!
I wen’t up to second height of the watch towers… I hate heights and the stairs where incredibly steep so I didn’t trust myself going all the way up. Additionally this town had the first traditional red phone booth I’ve seen since being in the UK. Needless to say I was very excited. And yes if anyone was wondering the phone DOES work! That surprised me a bit.
Conwy is home to the smallest house in the UK! Aka my new home.
Seeing as it’s so close I’ll probably be back when it’s warmer to explore some more, it’s a super quick trip that I could do any time I’m bored. Castle and Cathedral Count are all tied up.
Castle Count: 1
Cymru is Wales in Welsh… don’t ask how it’s pronounced I’m still figuring out the Welsh basics. All I know so far is that the double d like Ffordd is pronounced as “th” also the double F isn’t a misspelling. As they told us when we entered it’s one of the oldest languages in Europe if not the oldest.
That’s the Welsh flag for those that didn’t know. I think it’s so cool. So I arrived Monday morning at 6:20 am… the plane self landed because it was foggy in Manchester… I didn’t know that was a thing. I got through customs in about an hour which I didn’t find personally to be that bad but others thought it was terrible. Around 12 the University picked us up, and we spent two hours traveling to Bangor. I hadn’t slept since 9am the day before so I was running on pure adrenaline. I thought it would be easy to fall asleep… so much.. however jet lag didn’t really kick in the next day. We had this orientation of sorts… and some how being me I ended up lost for over three hours… and it was fine until it started to get dark and I really had no idea where I was going. But that’s when I found the cathedral!
This cathedral is in the center of town and was founded in 525 AD (according to my favorite source Wikipedia). I haven’t had a chance to go in yet but it truly is beautiful! It’s about a 10 minute walk from my flat(British lingo) to the main campus. It looks a lot older than it actually is so I’ll let you all figure that one out ;). My flat mates took me out pubbing and that was fun! It’s different being able to legally buy alcohol here. Every time I hand my ID to someone they freak out that it has my height on it because I guess British ID’s don’t. Anyways. That’s a run down of Wales… its the land of castles, and sheep.
Castle Count: 0
Cathedral Count: 1