Tintern Abbey and Chepstow Castle

Trip Start Dec 01, 2008
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Trip End May 21, 2009


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Flag of United Kingdom  , Wales,
Sunday, March 1, 2009

So as I said, Wales isn't the most exciting country ever, yet I somehow managed to see some ridiculously cool things.

The first thing is pretty minor.  We drove by this castle.



It's not just any other castle.  Look familiar?  It's the castle used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Where the French Knights are.  Quite possibly the best scene in the entire movie.  "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"  Yeah, that one.

After that, we went to Tintern Abbey.  It was St. David's Day.  St. David's Day is the patron saint of Wales and many people wear daffodils which are the flower of Wales.  As for us, it meant all the national sites were free.  And that meant Tintern Abbey was free and had a woman telling traditional Welsh stories and playing Welsh songs.

Anyways, Tintern Abbey is the ruins of an abbey that stood there in the middle ages up until Henry VIII decided to divorce a bunch of wives and therefore, split off from the Catholic church.  He ordered that all religious houses be shut down.  Tintern Abbey was, therefore, shutdown.  As was common, the windows were smashed and the place was ruined.  The ruins are still around today.

Compared to cathedrals, the place isn't all that big but what makes it impressive is the tall gothic frame with the windows and the roof missing.  While it's a tourist site, little has been done to change it.  Just a few step reinforcements and some information panels leave you free to roam around the ruins.  The information panels are very useful as they tell you what each part of the structure would have been.  As it was a monastery, there was much more than just a church.  There were bedrooms, kitchens, and meeting places.

However the main reason for visiting is that it just looks really cool.









I should also mention that this place was a favorite of the romantic poets in the 18th (?) century.  It's pretty obvious why.

After that, we headed into Chepstow for some lunch.  Lunch was a bit disappointing.  As someone used to carvery at my pub, the Sunday roast at the pub we visited was overprice and not that good.  A traditional roast involves a huge hunk of meat, a yorkshire pudding ( a doughy, pastry like thing), roast potatoes, veggies, and maybe other things like stuffing and sausages.

We also went to see Chepstow castle.  By this point, I was completely castled out.  Seriously, how many more castles could I see and get excited about?  So honestly, it just looked like another castle.  It wasn't a cool Monty Python castle and it didn't have a moat like the one in Cardiff.  It was just a castle in ruins...like every other castle in Wales.  But hey, it was free!  Yay for St. David's Day!

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