"Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon"-"A nation without a language is a nation without a heart" Welsh Proverb

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Opinion by Kristie Davis Dean…Freelance Travel Writer and Friend of Mine on face Book!

 (Editors note: This opinion is by a friend of mine and I know that many Welsh react when people are in love with the Castles etc. but this is not Cymru/Wales today! I say to this when Independence comes to Cymru/Wales the attractions of Wales and it's history will be very important to Wales. I often say...."Dam nice of the English to build Castles in Wales to give Wales a leg up on the Tourist trade!!!!" LOL I am sure that Kristie here after visiting Wales many times sees the Wales of today as well as Wales in the past!!!!)
Wales is a country that is steeped in intrigue and mystery.  As my family tree is deeply rooted in Wales and Scotland, it isn't surprising that these countries often call me  "home."  
After many trips to Wales, it is hard to pinpoint my "favorite" place to visit, but I'd have to say Pembrokeshire is high up there.   My fascination with the medieval time period makes the area resonate with me. From the formidable Pembroke castle to the smaller castle of Carew, the history of the area comes alive.
Carew Castle, a Norman castle, had always struck me as a bit creepy. For some reason, it spooked me (which is abnormal, as I am usually the first to visit any castle!) In fact, it took me three trips to the area before I worked up the courage to visit.  But once I walked through the entrance and spent some time within the castle, I was hooked.
Carew is a castle full of wonderful stories.  One story is about Nest, a Welsh princess known as the Helen of Wales, who apparently caught the eye of King Henry I. Supposedly, she became his mistress and was then married off to Gerald of Windsor. One can only guess whether the marriage was a happy one or if it was purely a political alliance.
Nest and Gerald lived at Carew castle. Another man became enamored of Nest, and kidnapped her (some say with her consent). As the sounds of the invasion entered the bed chamber, Nest convinced Gerald to escape via the toilet shaft. This was not a dignified exit! But, he did escape and Nest was to bear her kidnapper children before being returned to Gerald.
I spent a while at Carew castle just meandering around the ruins as its history started to come alive. I could almost picture Nest standing strong against her abductor. Sitting there, I started to think about the families that made this castle a home over the centuries. Something about the castle tugged at my heart, and I wanted to stay there for a while, but the rest of Wales was beckoning. The rest of my day would be spent visiting Manorbier and Tenby before locating my bed and breakfast in Pembroke. Traveling is in itself fun, but traveling in Wales is pure joy.
More articles on Wales and travel can be found at my blog, My book, How I Travel to Europe Every Year on a Teacher’s Salary, is also available on the website.

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