En Route to Cardiff

We took the long way to Cardiff, and stopped at the major attractions on the way down the length of Wales: Hereford Cathedral and Tintern Abbey.

No! you cry. Not more churches, please! Relax. There’s more to it than that, I promise. IMG_5163Hereford Cathedral is home to the Mappa Mundi, the largest medieval map in existence. The map is freaking huge, and it looks its age (late 13th century). First I got to see modern reconstructions of the map, which are brighter and easier to see, then I went to the dark room where the map itself hung, which was pretty impressive.

A circular map with Jerusalem at the center (thanks to Christianity’s influence on the Middle Ages) and the United Kingdom at the very edge of the known world, the Mappa Mundi contained ordinary map-like attributes like rivers and towns (in dubious geographic locations), with the added bonus of magical creatures (phoenixes, basilisks, and satyrs), mythological treats (a labyrinth on Crete), religious symbols (Noah’s ark), and outlandish people (with eyes on their stomachs or a foot on their heads for shade). Also at Hereford Cathedral was the only chained library in England outside of Oxford, which was just awesome. No pictures allowed for any of these things though, so you get to look at two more cathedral pictures. :)

IMG_5122IMG_5119

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wholly unexpected bonus of our “long” (5 hours with one stop or longer with our detours) drive was passing through the Forest of Dean on the Welsh-English border. Any Harry Potter fans out there will appreciate the level of my excitement as I looked out the window at the forest where Hermione went camping with her parents and Harry followed the silver doe and Ron… I digress. (But luckily this was only the start of the nerdy sightseeing on this trip!)

IMG_5236 IMG_5254 IMG_5250 IMG_5220 IMG_5256 IMG_5257

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tintern Abbey: Where do I begin? 1131, the year of its founding as a Cistercian abbey? The 13th century, when the immense abbey we see today was rebuilt? 1536, when King Henry VIII’s forces came to brutally dissolve the abbey along with all other Catholic institutions? Or 2011, when I first saw pictures of the ruins on Pinterest and decided I had to see it?

IMG_5204

IMG_5178

IMG_5154 

IMG_5262

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever you start, there’s no question this ruined Welsh abbey in the heart of the Wye Valley is worth a visit, just to look up in awe at the height and scope of it all.

IMG_5222 IMG_5223 IMG_5225

IMG_5159

IMG_5238 IMG_5208 IMG_5217IMG_5162

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruined, weathered, but resting with more grace than it could have held in its original incarnation, Tintern Abbey rises out of the emerald grass with a sprawling, soaring immensity.

IMG_5229 IMG_5230IMG_5191IMG_5183 IMG_5241IMG_5193IMG_5221IMG_5214

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. I LOVE churches and ruins. Keep ’em coming!

    Like

    1. Will do! ;-)

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: