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Archive for wales

The Island of 20,000 Saints

By Linda Tancs

Just a short boat ride west of the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales is a place of pilgrimage since the early years of Christianity. That’s Bardsey Island, a wisp of a place that became a focal point for the Celtic Christian Church. Its moniker, Island of 20,000 Saints, dates from the early Middle Ages, when three pilgrimages to Bardsey were said to equal one to Rome. Although day trips are limited to around 3 ½ hours, visitors who want to stay longer can choose from nine self-catering houses managed by the island’s trust. The renting week is from Saturday to Saturday, April to October. The island is designated a National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is in the Llŷn Peninsula Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Most Haunted in Wales

By Linda Tancs

A mysterious lady floating in the gallery.  Shadowy figures drifting down corridors.  Spooky sounds.  These are just a few of the unexplained phenomena at Bodelwyddan Castle, one of the most haunted buildings in Wales.  Are you ready to explore what goes bump in the night?  Just in time for Halloween, tomorrow’s events include a public ghost walk ending in an eerie visit to the cellars and an overnight ghost hunt around the halls, rooms and bedrooms where you can try your hand at operating paranormal equipment like dowsing rods, crystal pendulums, and motion sensors.  Happy hunting!

The Most Fun Place on Earth

By Linda Tancs

Wales just might be the most fun place on Earth.  Snowdonia, to be precise, is where Europe’s longest and fastest zipline debuted.  Now, hold on to your hats–or bottoms, as the case may be–the same site has unveiled the world’s largest underground trampoline.  A special train transports adventurous souls into the depths of the former Blaenau Ffestiniog slate mine, where three huge trampoline-like nets are hung at varying levels, linked together by walkways and slides.  Participants in this first-of-its-kind experience are outfitted with cotton overalls and a safety helmet.  Granted, an abandoned mine can be a bit drab, so LED lighting has been added to the walls for a more illuminating experience.  Are you ready to put a little bounce in your step?

The Big Zipper

By Linda Tancs

What is one mile long, 500 feet high and flies at speeds up to 100 miles per hour?  Answer:  The Big Zipper, Europe’s longest and fastest zipline.  Located at an abandoned quarry in Snowdonia, North Wales, this adrenaline-boosting tourist attraction offers spectacular mountain views–if you keep your eyes open long enough to enjoy it!  Are you ready to fly like an eagle?  If not, no worries.  The Little Zipper might be just the ticket for you.

Waxing Poetic in Wales

By Linda Tancs

Welshman Dylan Thomas is best known for his poetry although he also wrote scripts for radio broadcasts, radio plays, short stories, films and an unfinished novel.  Wales is undergoing a yearlong celebration of the centenary of his birth.  The son of Swansea wrote many of his major works at a house in Laugharne, where the annual Laugharne Weekend takes place each April.  This year’s centenary event will feature additional poetry weekends there into early May.

A Leek or a Daffodil

By Linda Tancs

The Brits celebrate St. George.  The Scots revere St. Andrew.  What about the Welsh?  Their patron saint is St. David, and 1 March marks St. David’s Day.  Declared a national day of celebration in the 18th century, the first day of March was chosen to commemorate the saint’s death on that day in 589.  Many miracles are attributed to Dewi Sant (St. David), who reputedly caused the ground to rise beneath him so he could be heard and seen by the congregation.  The capital city of Cardiff will host its annual parade on 1 March beginning at 12:30 p.m. outside City Hall.  The national emblems, leeks and daffodils, are typically worn on that day.

Baroque Wonder in Wales

By Linda Tancs

A baroque garden is an elaborate entanglement of color, shape and size with artistic or dramatic flair, characterized by grand terraced landscapes.  In Powys, Wales, Powis Castle’s hanging terraces remain virtually intact since the 1600s.  That makes Powis one of the best surviving examples of baroque gardening in the United Kingdom.  Hewn from the rock, the terraces are dominated by yew topiaries over 300 years old.  The views of parkland below are dazzling, and don’t miss the woodland walks opposite the terraces.

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