Our first day in London was a Tuesday, and our last day in England is a Tuesday. It rained on both of them! But the days in the middle were all wonderfully dry! We started the day outside Cardiff, Wales, with a visit to Coch Castle. It was built as a 13th century fortress and restored by the rich and famous Bute family in the late 19th century.
The Butes were actually Scottish and only spent a bit of their time in Wales, but when they were at this castle, the lady of the manor had her own beautiful bedroom at the top of the tower!
They restored it with a great deal of research into how it originally looked. It was small but beautiful, as castles go...a nice little summer palace for the rich and famous!
Not too far away was the large and impressive Caerphilly Castle. It was also from the 12th century, but not used defensively for long. By the 1300's people had settled down a bit and weren't attacking each other as frequently.
One of the towers is leaning to the left. I gave it a push to make sure it didn't fall over. Usually this would be Ed's job (stunt pictures), but my camera gave up the ghost yesterday and he is taking all the pictures with his camera. It's a lot of responsibility for him, and I'm not sure he likes it
There was one room that scared Ed to death when he went in. It sounded like a dragon was inside! It turned out it was the latrine and one of the knights was doing his business with a very flatulent sound track to accompany it!
Caerphilly had the biggest great hall we'd seen. I'm reading The Bolyn Inheritance, and couldn't help thinking of Anne of Cleves, as she journed to England from Germany to be the 4th Mrs. Henry the 8th. She found it so uncomfortable having everyone watch her eat at the front of the great hall. They didn't have paparazzi in those days, but you were expected to be on display all the time!
We found some nice cookies at the store that reminded us of home. (The ones on the top) They were chocolate chip, just like home!
We drove through Brecon Beacons National Park to see what wild Wales looked like. It was very green and the breeze made it seem a little wild. It was also very serene with lots of sheep.
We were determined to take a short hike, but the thunder and lightening, combined with a heavy downpour convinced us to give it up!
We stopped to eat at a Peterstone Court, a beautiful wayside mansion. Then, we started the long trip to London. We had paid for a tank of gas in advance, so tried very hard to not stop for gas. We wanted to bring it in close to empty. We were a little nervous when we had 26 miles to go and the car said we had 46 miles worth of gas. We spent all Ed's change and got 5 pounds worth of gas at a roadside service station. We limped into London with 30 miles to spare! We returned the rental car free of damage and heaved a sigh of relief. Another successful circuit in Europe!
We're staying tonight at a Marriott Renaissance at Heathrow. This is our second Marriott, and neither one of them had a Concierge room in service They're being remodeled, (so they say). This was disappointing, as we had planned on having an evening supper there. We whined a little, and they sent us a small fruit tray and a few chips. It's just as well, as we just barely exceeded 10,000 steps today. Tomorrow we fly home with a couple of souvenirs and myriad of wonderful memories. Not to mention a record total of 123,000 Fit Bit steps in one week!