England – April 2008 – Caernarfon Castle

A little over a year ago, I started posting pictures from our April 2008 trip to England. I’m picking up where I left off.

After our adventure through the mountains, we finally arrived at our destination: Caernarfon Castle, in northwest Wales.

We were greeted to this:
Welcome to Caernarfon !!!

Here are my two girls posing for a picture.
My Two Girls

Not sure if this is original, but it was still pretty.
Stained Glass

Warning !!!
Say What ?!?

What they use if you DON’T heed the previous warning…
Cannons

Half a dozen random castle pictures:
Castle Pic

Castle Pic

Castle Pic

Castle Pic

Castle Pic

Castle Pic

All in all, a great time was had by all at Caernarfon Castle. Tomorrow, we leave Shrewsbury to finish our vacation with a weekend in London.

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England – April 2008 – Never Blindly Trust Your GPS

I finished up early on the job site, so we decided to go to northern Wales on Thursday afternoon. Our rental car had a GPS in it, so we punched in Caernarfon (pronounced cuh-NAR-vun) Castle and away we went. I briefly looked at the road atlas and thought we would take the “highway” due north, then cut over and take another “highway” heading due west. This seemed to be the quickest and easiest from the map.

Well, after seeing a lot of winding, narrow roads (moreso than typical England), we see this sign…
Ooooops

Then the windingness and narrowness gets worse. Long story, short, the GPS did NOT take us due north then due west, it took us on a bee-line directly northwest – when meant directly through Snowdonia National Park – which is very mountainous.

The bad news was that the driving was white-knuckle all through the narrow mountain roads.

The good news was that we saw stuff like this…
Snowdonia

Snowdonia

Snowdonia

It didn’t feel like it at the time, but in retrospect, it was DEFINITELY worth it.

England – April 2008 – Our Hotel

This is a picture of the main building of our hotel. Our room is on the top floor – the 2 far left most windows.
Hotel

The room (technically a junior suite) was huge – even for US standards. It had a ginormous bathroom, huge bedroom area with queen bed AND twin roll away, a large comfortable sitting area, and a small “alcove” with another smaller sitting area. Nice. Very, very nice.

England – April 2008 – Wiped Out

This may sound strange, but this was actually a BUSINESS trip for me. I actually had to do WORK on this trip. We left Cardiff Castle, and began our trip to Shrewsbury – where I would be working for the week.

As we were driving along, I hear some noise coming from the backseat. My wife turns around to see this.
Wiped Out

At least she was able to get some sleep. It’s been a long couple of days.

England – April 2008 – Next Stop, Cardiff Castle

Yeah, I know, it’s been MONTHS since I started posting pictures from last year’s England trip. No excuses – just picking up where I left off…

We last left our intrepid heroes toodling down the blizzardy roads in Wales. Their destination was Cardiff Castle in Wales.

Cardiff Main Gate
This is the view as you enter the main visitor’s gate. As you can see, the snowing stopped, and the sun came out… for now.

One of the first things you see is this metal dragon sculpture which is the symbols for Wales.
Cardiff Dragon

Cardiff is the capital of Wales. Its castle dates back to the days of the Romans where it was a fort and trading post. The keep seen below was constructed around 1140. An original wooden keep was built on that site around after 1081, but was replaced by the stone keep possibly in response to the Welsh uprising following the death of Henry I in 1135.
Cardiff Keep
As you can also see in the picture, the weather has changed again.

The primary use of Cardiff Castle in the 1800s was as a house and residence to the Marquess of Bute. He hired reknowned Gothic Architect William Burges to give the living areas an overhaul.

Cardiff Castle House
This is the living quarters when the Marquess of Bute and his family lived.

Cardiff Tower
This is the clock tower which was connected to the living quarters.

We took a tour of the living quarters, and it was quite impressive. However, photos were not allowed to be taken. We only stayed for a few hours since we had a long drive ahead of us. The only thing we didn’t see up close was the Castle Keep. It was cold, and we didn’t want to climb ALL OF THOSE STAIRS. From what the tour guide at the house said, there really wasn’t a lot to see up there anyway.

England – April 2008 – Wacky Weather

The blurriness of the photo isn’t entirely the quality of the photographer. It’s also not entirely because it was taken from a moving vehicle. Look closely. It’s snowing rather hard in the middle of April.

Snowing

Not 15 minutes prior, it was sunny and mostly clear. And the strange thing is that 30 minutes after this photo was taken, it was sunny and mostly clear again. And I thought the weather was wacky in the midwest.