I am really and truly “back” now, and starting up classes any minute now. Between working and trying not to brag about my tan (“I got it in Greece” doesn’t go over well, oddly enough), I sometimes browse through photos of my big trip, trying to make sense of it all and reveling in the memories the pictures evoke. My last few weeks in Wales were filled with nostalgia for a place I grew to love in the little time I was there, as well as nostalgia for my home, because the greenery in Wales reminds me of Oregon (only with more castles and less hippies).
Beddgellert (“Gellert’s Grave”) is the grave site of the medieval hunting dog Gellert who protected Llewyllyn the Great’s little princeling son from a wolf (Llewllyn killed poor Gellert before double-checking that the baby he left alone with a giant hunting dog was safe).
The grave is in a sheep-strewn field, along a rushing stream and hills blue with wildflowers in the spring, somewhere in Snowdonia.
Speaking of castles, I visited Penrhyn Castle on the edge of Bangor.
This castle isn’t medieval; it was built on the backs of the Atlantic slave trade and the Welsh slate miners, and the inside looks like Downton Abbey.
The grounds, though are the best part of Penrhyn Castle: a view of the Menai Straight, a bog garden (it’s a thing), and a walled garden straight out of The Secret Garden.
I revisited Conwy Castle one last time.
And Criccieth Castle.
Saying goodbye to friends (and castles…) was the hardest part of leaving. I miss the dual languages, but castles and friends are just another trip away.