Castle Fatigue. Yes, it’s real.

For Canadians who’ve been in the UK for three and a half months, Castle Fatigue is starting to set in.  We don’t push ourselves to see every tourist spot in a 50 km radius, but we do see our fair share.  Often, we visit a town for nothing more than a bit of exercise with some new scenery. Inevitably, we see Castle Street. We no longer feel the need to see another castle (or museum, or cathedral, or monument), but it just seems wrong not to stop. 

Such was the case when we visited Rhuddlan.

 

The Rhuddlan Nature Reserve.

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We do temper our expectations when travelling off season.  This carved statue was possibly the only bird we saw, and we laughed when the website claimed there would be, “…a very slim chance you could spot an otter.”

All was not lost, we found a free, convenient spot to park, stretched our legs a bit, and Ozzy was able to sniff his way along the walk way.  Next, he helped Mike Owens’ The Knight’s Sculpture guard the entrance to town.

20160306_094534 (1) Rhuddlan

The knights were carved from a 380 year old oak, while the bench was made from a larch grown by the artist’s grandfather.

The walkway along the River Clwyd is heavily used by walkers and cyclists alike, even on a cool, drizzly day in March.

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The debris along the raised walkway reminds us of the damage caused by the flooding in early December.  Even though we’ve seen the effects of the flooding elsewhere, we were surprised to see how high the water must have risen in order to leave deposits so far from the bank of this shallow river.

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These terraced houses directly on the street never cease to amaze.  You don’t want to step our your door without checking both ways!

Onto the high street and we passed the old parliament building, where Edward I is said to have signed the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284.  What originally drew my eye were the closed up door and window openings.  Always checking out other people’s renovations!

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Another modernization a little down the street.  I’m pretty sure the combination lock is not original to this weather-beaten garden door.

Then we saw the sign for Castle Street.

I suppose we should go look.  Yeah, we’re here; we might as well. How can we ignore something that’s been around for so long?  Off we go.

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Rhuddlan Castle, one of Edward I’s chain of fortresses along the North Wales coast, has an interesting history, including a ghost story. It was here that Edward’s baby boy was presented to the Welsh nobility as the first English Prince of Wales.

All the same, we gave a little sigh of relief when we saw the sign telling us that a tour of the ruins wasn’t even an option. Castle Fatigue. We’ve just about hit our limit.

20160306_104016 Rhuddlan

From history to modern day, and something we never tire of: trying new food! Enter Bodnant Welsh Food.  Well, hello!  Award winning cheese, Welsh wine, on-site bakery, deli, and more.  What’s not to like?

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20160303_112228 Bodnant Food

Lovely loaf of bread, fresh from the oven?  Don’t mind if I do!

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The cheese case. Oh my. After a little sampling, we decided on three varieties made at the Bodnant Dairy: Cenarth Brie, Teifi Nettle, and Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar (I have to admit, I tasted the Wookey cheese strictly because of the name).

 

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About the size of a gallon pail, this lovely cheese couldn’t go home with us.

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Karen liberated a steak and ale pie from this nasty prison.  A little asparagus quiche was calling my name.

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A package of Welsh cakes baked on site made it into our basket. Delicious!

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This stopped me in my tracks.  Not what I expected to see at the Welsh food centre!  For those of you keeping track at home, that’s roughly $27.00 for 500 ml of maple syrup.

20160303_110354 Bodnant Food

A very impressive selection of Welsh beers.  Sadly, none of these made it into my basket.  I draw the line at paying double for the exact same brands that I can buy at a supermarket. Blatant Ripp-Off Fatigue rears its ugly head from time to time.

The wine store carries a selection from some of the twenty wineries in Wales.  The most popular, apparently, being a sparkling wine. A tasting of the Chardonnay didn’t win me over; it’s not my favourite white in any case.  The reds produced in such a cold climate wouldn’t be like the big, bold New World wines we like, so I left empty handed.

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I’m not sure if this quote can actually be attributed to Jean-Paul Sartre; apparently, Benjamin Franklin said the same thing about beer.  This still is a sentiment I can get behind.  In fact, a glass of wine just might help with the Castle Fatigue.

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Castle Fatigue. Yes, it’s real.

  1. Morning from Winnipeg. You must be heading home soon. Not a lot of castles here but many quilters and stitches to sew. LOL –imagine if all those castles had been quilt stores . Not much history but oh what fun.I have really enjoyed your blog. We have never been there so interesting to travel along . Great job .Spring is arriving here and starting to see the grass.
    See you at quilting .diane

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for reading and for your hello. I appreciate it. I do look forward to re-joining the group, but not just yet. I know the snow is melting, but it’s not all gone. You can’t fool me!

    We’ll be home mid-April. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see what we get up to!

    Confession: we stopped to see another castle today. Haha. We just wanted to see another walled town and the ruins were right there, and pretty impressive. What can ya do? You’ve gotta stop and look!

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  3. We won’t get to Scotland or Ireland on this trip. We thought we would, but weather transpired against us. Another trip, another year.

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  4. Thank you so much for your blog. I do enjoy seeing, through your camera lens, some of the sights I will never visit. Wish I could taste those goodies! Loved the beautiful hinges on the gate and surprised at your mention of asparagus quiche, as I’m about to make a run to pick up the ingredients for my first one of the spring. We wait all year long for it!

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  5. I’m so glad you are enjoying it. It’s such a funny thing to decide what to share and what not to.

    Looking forward to checking out my asparagus plants this spring. We planted them a few years ago and we just might be ready for a harvest this year! Yay!! Best veggie ever.

    Have you ever made a vegan quiche? I’m going to work on that once home (strangely, I find it hard to buy tofu here).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. He sure is. If we don’t get going early enough in the morning, he starts to nudge us with his little doggy nose… Come on, ladies! Let’s walk somewhere new!

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  7. Not yet. I will confess that I spend an obscene amount on the imported cheese that goes into a single ten-inch quiche, but it makes it an amazing delicacy. I’m not sure I’ll ever give that up!

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  8. This is such an interesting article seen through the eyes of Canadian explorers. Castle (and Cathedral) fatigue is so real. I get this wherever I go abroad, from India to Portugal. I remember that by the time I arrived in Sicily, I decided not to see the Cathedral in Palermo and visited the Catacombs instead. That was something not everywhere has and was extremely interesting.
    I like all your photos of inside the Welsh supermarket – I guess the leek (and daffodil) by the way is the equivalent of your maple leaf or the Scotland’s thistle.

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  9. Thank you. I really need to put more effort into finding quirky, unusual things to do and see. We try to avoid the “beaten track.” The most unusual are often the best.

    I’m glad to have you join the journey. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. I love pictures of gates, doors and windows but the combination lock did spoil it, didn’t it? The phrase “terraced houses” made me immediately think of Catherine Cookson novels. There were always characters who lived in such homes. And the pictures of the cheeses and pies had my mouth watering. How do you ever resist sampling more?

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  11. As always, love your adventures. I think Ozzy was a great guard for the city! How did the Wookey cheese taste? (Cheese is one of my favorite food items.)

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  12. Hey Leah, Another great post. I really love the bit about the cheeses, being a dairy farmers we love our cheese a little too much sometimes. I found your photo of the cheese cabinet really exciting and fascinating all at the same time. I love reading the different names. Hope you get over your castle fatigue soon. Have a great day.

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  13. Thanks, Chantal. We aren’t dairy farmers at all, and we love our cheese a little too much, as well. The variety and quality of cheese in the UK has been staggering, quite frankly. Even at a run of the mill supermarket or corner shop, there is real, decent, aged cheddar (not orange and rubbery), and varieties we’ve never heard of. My little heart goes pitter patter and have to restrain ourselves.

    The castle fatigue comes and goes (we checked out some more ruins just the other day); thanks for your concern. ; )

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  14. Hey Leah, Thanks for your reply. It is fascinating just how many of the varieties we have not hear of. I even noticed some in your pic that were product from the On-Site-Dairy(YUM)what a wonderful cheesy place. I have been investigating small cheesemaking kit after l found a great preserving site the sold them. Maybe after seeing your wonderful dairy case full of cheese i might finally give it a go and see how our own milk taste all cheesy. Think l must be little cheese crazy, but really aren’t we all.
    Have a great day:)

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  15. I’m the same! Yes, the Wookey Hole cheddar was fantastic.

    Next on our shopping list is some good Spanish manchego. Work wotk work.

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