Conwy – Going Wa-a-ay Back In Time

Welch Rarebit for breakfast started my day. Dick chose the traditional Welsh breakfast and you can see the mix of items included, black pudding too! We gave the black pudding another try and it was tasty. I know, I take back what I said a few days ago, this version was actually good. I give the Castle Hotel Head Chef Leigh Marshall kudos!

Conwy Castle was first on our agenda today. The castle is in ruins (no roof) so we wanted to visit as much of it as we could before the predicted rains started. I know I’ve repeated myself many times during this trip, saying that it is amazing to see such architecture that exists today built back in the 1200-1300’s even if it is in ruins.

A highlight for me was the bakehouse tower – oh how I would have loved to hear the conversations in that perfectly symmetrical tower back in the day, smelled the freshly baked breads and whatever else emerged from the deep brick ovens we would think of as pizza ovens today. 

An amusing story about the great hall in the castle is if you were invited to dine with King Edward, it could be a dinner or death.

On one hand, you might be invited to enjoy a feast and it would be delightful. On the other hand, if you were summoned here by the constable of the castle he might take you behind the fireplace to the prison tower where there is a 12-foot drop into a dark dungeon. After hearing that, we decided to lunch outside the castle walls.

We ate at Love to Eat, a cute little breakfast & lunch restaurant. We decided to steer clear of the pubs today, trying to wean ourselves off in preparation for our return to the U.S. We had a delightful lunch. My pea soup was extraordinary. The taste of peas over here is remarkable! And when you order soup and sandwich, they give you a full sandwich. I’m just not used to all that food. Dick wimped out and had a cheeseburger. It was huge as well. 

On the same street as our hotel were two ancient houses worthy of touring, Plas Mawr and Aberconwy House.  Plas Mawr was built in the mid-1500s by Robert Wynn and his wife Dorothy. They were considered quite a wealthy family and flaunted it in a somewhat gaudy manner in some of the house (fireplaces and ceilings).

The house had large windows throughout which was unusual for the day because there were window taxes so most houses had very small windows if any. The windows were the size of small picture frames about 8X10. and the windows in this house were what we would consider normal size or even large by today’s standards. 

There was a large room for making beer, wine and bread. It actually was quite smart because the beer and bread both used yeast so they shared the yeast between the two. The floors throughout the house were very uneven and rooms slanted quite a bit. But then, we had to remember when it was built.

I’ve got to say I’ve about climbed my last spiral staircase. My knees are pleading with me. The Aberconwy House had somewhat regular stairs, yippee! It was very sparsely furnished and very small compared to the Plas Mawr, so no real photos to share. It was quite dark and the photos would just not come out. The managers of the house try to keep it authentic, and in doing so, make it hard for visitors to capture any remembrance of the experience. 

The one thing I learned is how they constructed the walls of the house. It was with a method called wattle and daub. Wattle and daub are a composite material made of sticks, soil, clay, and animal dung that kind of create a plaster. It was used in the historic days. Imagine the wonderful odors of the walls with the animal dung.

 

Well, I think we are about museumed and castled out now! And Dick says he is done being my “trip advisor”. ha ha.

I have an interview with Head Chef of the Castle Hotel, Leigh Marshall coming up and a few miscellaneous posts. Then we head for New York in a few days and home!

 

 

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