Monday, 28 July 2014

Glastonbury and Wells: The lsles of Avalon

Set like a lighthouse amidst the rolling green seas that are the fields of Somerset. Glastonbury Tor is inescapably the first thing you see as you arrive into this beautiful and historic countryside.

I had decided to take a break from city life and catch up with a friend who lived there. So for me my Glastonbury weekend didn't involving getting knee deep in mud, as much as enjoying delicious vegetarian food and sunbathing on the hill of Glastonbury tor.

I started my weekend in Wells, a beautiful and quintessentially English town a couple of miles outside of Glastonbury and got introduced to the cathedral there. It turned out to be as impressive on the inside as it was on the outside. With a beautifully decorated high ceiling and a clock that came to life every hour with miniature figures.

After that me and my friend took an hour to wander around Wells and take in the sights, including a beautiful garden just near the abbey before taking a bus over to the town of Glastonbury.

Now Glastonbury itself is held as somewhat of a sacred site both to the local christains and pagans that have made the town their home. This is due to the fact that the famous Tor has been variously an iron age site, the resting place of an early church, a site mentioned in Arthurian legends and most recently a rebuilding of the church tower itself. The town is also the site of a thorn tree said to be planted by Saint Joseph of Arimthea. Who according to legends struck a staff down that became the famous tree.

It has become therefore somewhere to enjoy both the natural beauty, old worldly pubs and ambient spirituality (and admittedly sometimes slightly unhinged spirituality) which goes with the place. After catching up with my friend we spent the day pursuing shops, enjoying the beauty of the White Springs (a lovely underground building which houses one of Glastonbury's natural springs) and sunbathing on the Tor itself.

After enjoying some food at one of the local restaurants we got some beers and enjoyed the sunset overlooking the town itself. The next day we climbed the Tor and got to enjoy the wonderful views over Somerset that the hill provided, did some more shopping and enjoyed music from a local band playing at one of the pubs in the town.

I ended my last day having a pint and a nice Sunday lunch at the George and Pilgrim before heading home rested, relaxed and spiritually refreshed ready to get back to the working week ahead.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Radyr and Castle Coch

Located on the outskirts of Cardiff, Radyr is a rather idyllic place to take a stroll, before taking in the beauty that is the fairy tale like Castle Coch.

Designed in the 19th century by William Burges as a gothic revival castle, its filled with the type of mythological detail and intricate design that it  makes you feel like you've fallen down in Alice's wonderland.

The beauty of the castle is only enhanced by the wonderful natural surroundings. Whether its a walk through the maze like woodlands of Tongwynlais, a bit of cycling or the peace that comes from a quiet stroll along the riverside it really is a lovely place to take the family for a day out.

After all this activity you can then take in a pint at the local town or enjoy some of the lovingly prepared food in the castle itself.