Atlantis Alumni

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Trip To Northern Wales

Though the ship docked in Liverpool, we had long ago decided to skip visiting that city for a day trip to Wales. My father's ancestors came from Wales and sailed sometime in the 19th century to Virginia. From there, as a young man my father headed north to Boston where he tried to go to a college before the Great Depression stymied his plans and he was forced to leave due to lack for funds for tuition. From there he drifted south to New Jersey where he met my mother and had two children. Both of my parents visited Wales during their lifetimes, but today was the first time that Jim and I visited this land of my father's family. Interestingly enough, it was the second day in a row for ancestral homeland visits, since yesterday in Ireland commemorated relatives of both of us. At any rate, we left Liverpool early this morning and headed to the scenic Dee Valley. Here the rugged mountains offered splendid views and every field seemed full of drowsy and munching black or white sheep. Our first stop was the magnificent Chirk Castle, the country home of the Middleton family. It started as a 12th century Medieval castle and modern actors in chain mail and other armor shot bows from arrows at targets in the courtyard. Inside the large castle there were many styles of decorative art and furniture, from the Medieval period, the 17th century and the more elegant 18th century right down to pre-WW I when the family still lived on site. Walking up the tall tower we saw amazing views of the surrounding countryside. The tour continued to Carrog where we boarded an old train to Llangollen (prounounced something like 'Shangoshen' in the enigmatic, sibilant Welsh language.) In that charming town, full of red brick architecture, we had some free time before the tour bus took us to a hotel for lunch. On the ride back to Liverpool we climbed the mountains and felt at peace with the Welsh version of Mother Nature. Please see Jim's photos of these magnificent vistas for a sample of landscape.-Dan

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