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Welcome back everyone,

Today we go up to North Wales for a weekend road trip. The aim of this trip was to have enough relaxing and enough adventure since my last ‘’relaxing’’ road trip ended up with me breaking down in the middle of nowhere (Click Here, to read about this eventful weekend trip). Thankfully, I had more luck this time and this trip didn’t cost me my car.

Visits to North Wales are one of my favourites in the UK so far. The absolute beauty of misty hills, forests and nature is hard to describe! Waking up and drinking fresh cup of coffee with mountain views outside my window is such an amazing way to begin the day!

Upon arrival on Saturday, I headed over to the seaside almost straight away. It was a cloudy, rainy and moody day. And while some would prefer to stay in the warmth of home with the never-ending supply of tea, I headed straight into the storm clouds.

The clouds were casting a dark, grey hue onto everything, it almost seemed like a movie set! The fast movement of clouds looked like a tornado was about to emerge from them. I was there for every single bit of that dynamic and chaotic energy. I sat down for a while, just feeling the strong cold wind on my face with the sprays of seawater and listening to the loud sound of waves crashing. So powerful, so revitalising.

I walked among the seaside path, observing small wonders of the sea that got washed up ashore. I saw beautiful shells and coral remains that still were vibrant in pink or red colors. Some fish cages that probably fell out of the fishing boats out in the sea… oh and of course a massive remain of a sea lion! It was pretty old so at first glance it looked like a tree trunk, but then at a closer look just when I was planning to sit on it -I realized that in fact- it was a massive pile of flesh…. So much for that magical beach walk atmosphere, eh? (I will spare you and not include the photo of it, you’re welcome..hehe)

After these ‘’thrills’’ of discovery, I headed over to the cottage I was staying at (curtesy of a lovely friend of mine). It was getting pretty late and I had a lot planned for the next day. So, the rest of the evening I spent warming up my -by now- frozen cheeks at the fireplace with a warm cup of tea in my hands and a new book to read. Moments like this are so simple, yet so precious to me.

Then came Sunday! I got up early to head to the first place – Plas Glyn y Weddw mansion. It’s a stunning gothic mansion that today serves as an art centre. The mansion was built in 1857 for a lady Elizabeth Jones-Parry, designed by the architect Henry Kennedy with the aim to display the extensive art collection of lady Elizabeth.

The mansion served as residence until it was sold to a wealthy businessman who turned it into an Art Gallery in 1896. During the WW2 the gallery shut down, was sold and served as a residence for land army girls. Slowly this building was developed into residence flats and by the 1970’s it was vastly damaged and becoming a ruin. In 1979 the mansion was bought by an artist Gwyneth ap Tomos and her husband Dafydd Tomos.

Together they restored the building, bringing back its integrity and opening it up to public to serve as an art gallery again. Throughout its existence, this building was always meant to be for artists, displaying their work in a grandiose manner- and it shows. The architecture is beautiful with gothic accents, a stunning garden and a glass conservatory, but the real artistry shows once you enter inside.

The wooden, gothic arches stand tall symmetrically, as a staircase takes you up to the second floor. The green LED light, illuminates all the wooden artistry at the ceilings and almost every wall features series of paintings from various Welsh artists. I have to say though, that the windows in this mansion must be one of my favourite features. The gothic design with stained- glass window accents just bring so much more character and beauty to the building.

As you enter a series of rooms, you can admire various forms of arts displayed -such as paintings, drawings, pottery and sculptures. I wandered from room to room, analysing and admiring different art works- it was quite magical. Most were inspired by Welsh nature landscapes. Welsh people are very proud of the beauty of their homeland, and rightly so. Even after living in Wales for so many years I still find myself at a marvel of its beauty, there’s simply so much to see here.

After scoping out all the artworks in the gallery, I went into the conservatory where there is a small café to re-vitalize my brain with some much-needed caffeine. I ordered some coffee and cake and watched as the clouds kept revealing strands of sunshine, to then covering the whole sky and letting off showers of rain. The weather can be so unpredictable in Wales.

After my coffee, I drove off to the regions close to Bardsey Island, also known as the island of 20,000 saints!

I stood on Mynydd Mawr, from which I could see this amazing island in all its glory! Bardsey Island is quite rich in history. Filled with stories about monks, vikings, pirates… It was quite surreal to be standing on this hill and looking at such a remarkable place. There are boat trips available to the island itself, when the weather permits. Of course, the day I went- wind was so harsh, it was almost blowing me off my feet standing.

I hate boat rides due to my sea sickness and that’s on a calm day. I could not picture the boat bobbing on the violent sea waves on this day- as the idea itself was making my stomach turn. So, today I just watched from afar. In the post- storm lighting, the island appeared very dark and mysterious. I could just about see the lighthouse and some other buildings there but most was hidden in the shadows.

Bardsey Island is known as a sacred island- because of its first establishment of the Celtic Christian church which attracted devout monks who built a monastery there in the 6th century. The dissolution of the monasteries in 1537, left Bardsey in the hands of pirates and marauders. The town was built and later established a farming and fishing community in mid-eighteenth century.

The island is known as a place of burial of royalty and holy men. It was said to be “the holy place of burial for all the bravest and best in the land”. It is said that there’s 20,000 saints that lie beneath its soil, hence its name. Some stories also claim that it’s the burial site of Merlin and King Arthur!

With that, I highly recommend this place, especially to those interested in mythology and history. As I stood there battling the strong winds, I admired this mysterious island and tried to wrap my head around all the myths, stories and history surrounding it. The atmosphere was something hard to describe especially with the golden sunset glow and the clouds clearing after the storm. It was such a breath-taking view. Maybe one day, I’ll return and manage to get on that damned boat ride, as my curiosity about this place peaked- just watching from afar. I’d want to visit the lighthouse, Merlin’s cave amongst many other places on it. But for now, it was time to return home.

On the way back home, I stopped on a side of the road among hills and forests, just to gaze up at now – completely clear from the storm clouds- night sky, showcasing stars in all their glory. It was so cold- I couldn’t feel my fingers, but I couldn’t resist taking some night photos to preserve this moment forever. The night was so calm, and these views were such a perfect way to end this trip. After getting back home, I had some warm chamomile tea before dropping in bed- happy as ever, ending this magical day and looking forward to the next adventure.

Hope you enjoyed this blog!

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See you again,

 Marta x

Marta

4 Replies to “ISLAND OF 20,000 SAINTS, Stormy seas & a Gothic MANSION in North WALES!”

  1. That mansion, especially upstairs is just beautiful. Can’t help but to wonder how many incredible places like this never get restored and are lost to history? Love the night sky images as well.

    1. It’s truly incredible inside! And I completely agree, it’s such a shame seeing some amazing structures diminish over time, but I’m very thankful for people that appreciate the beauty of them and restore them, so that others could admire them for years to come. The night sky was so beautiful that night, I just had to document it! Thank you so much for your comment!

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