OF THE WHEATEN PRINCESS
UK and SPAIN
BY A P
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED TO A P - 2011
THE LAND OF SONG!
Arriving in Llangollen, WALES.
The journey from Shropshire, across the border into Wales, was a most beautiful experience.
Hurley had received a surprise package in the mail from his Mom back home. It was a VIDEO CAM, so he had great fun whenever the coach stopped, taking videos of the countryside and his companions as well.
The visit to Llangollen was a special one. The LlangollenInternational Eisteddfodwas being held there, and the WELSH CHORALE, as professionals, had been invited to perform at the official opening ceremony. Everyone was keen to hear them, and those of the Crew and Passengers who were interested in the Performing Arts, were looking forward to 'sitting in' on some of the sessions that interested them.
As they entered Llangollen, they stopped to photograph the sign which announced the Eisteddfod.
After arriving at their hotel and getting settled in, they took off in groups to see the sights.
As they passed the many rehearsal venues, the glorious sounds of Massed Welsh Choirs filled the air and thrilled them to the very soul, especially the members of the Welsh Chorale, whose ancestors had migrated to the US and Canada from this 'Land of Song'.
Tears of pride glistened in their brown eyes as they joined with them in the stirring, majestic notes of the Welsh National Anthem - THE LAND OF OUR FATHERS.
With those spine-tingling sounds still echoing in their ears, they began to explore the beautiful Llangollen countryside.
The first place they visited was the estate of the LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN. Winston thought it was every bit as grand as his Winstonian Manor!
Llangollen takes its name from Saint Collen, (from the Welsh llan meaning 'fortified church yard' and gollen meaning Collen), a 6th century monk who founded a church beside the river there. St Collen is said to have arrived in Llangollen by coracle. As there are no other churches in Wales dedicated to St. Collen, it is possible that this St. Collen may also have connections in Colan, Cornwall and Langolen, Brittany.
Standing high above the town to north is Castell Dinas Bran, the former stronghold of the Princes of Powys. The bridge at Llangollen was built in about 1345 by John Trevor, of nearby Trevor Hall, who later became Bishop of St Asaph. It was extended to cross the railway when this was built in the 1860s and was widened in the early 1960s. The upstream side has new masonry which blends in with the older structure. On the outskirts of the town is Plas Newydd ('New Place' or New Hall'), where The Honourable Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler (the Ladies of Llangollen) lived.
The Llangollen International Eisteddfod is a music festival which takes place every year in Llangollen, North Wales. Singers and dancers from around the world are invited to take part in over 20 high quality competitions followed each evening by concerts where the best and most colourful competitors share the stage with professional artists. Over five thousand singers, dancers and instrumentalists from around 50 countries perform to audiences of more than 50,000 over the 6 days of the event.
CLICK ON THE PAUSE BUTTON TO END THE FIRST TUNE, THENCLICK ON THE ARROW BELOW TO HEAR THE NEXT TUNE
As they approached the regal building, the Historians and the Druids were very interested in a stone circle - referred to in their historical notes as the 'Gorsedd Stones'.
They form an integral part of the druidic Gorsedd ceremonies of the Eisteddfod. The stones can be found as commemorative structures throughout Wales and are the hallmark of the National Eisteddfod having visited a community.
They walked in and around them, but the two children were the most excited, believing them to be some kind of 'Fairy Ring' and no doubt possessed of magical energies! They danced around, singing as they went - much to the delight of the rest of the group.
At the entrance to the House they enjoyed exploring the gardens. Hurley was busy taking pictures, and finding some of his subjects difficult to manage! Bailey B was concerned about the seating arrangements chosen by some of the posers, and Barklee and Charlie? Well, they were just waiting for the girls!
Another group who were interested in ruins were on their way to the Dinas Bran Castle ruins which Felix and Griffin had noticed at the top of the hill. There wasn't much left to see, but it was of historical interest and the view was something special.
Three of the Cheeky lads went for the climb, without Nico, who had other plans!
Nico was definitely smitten by the lovely Morgan, and it seemed that she knew exactly how to push his buttons! Rudee was impressing Darcy, while Budley, Bailey Y and Khaki were observing the developing relationships with interest. Jimmy was getting his daily exercise.
The flower arrangement that Chaps had given to Lexi had apparently made the desired impression on the young lady. The two of them were taking an intimate stroll along a romantic path by the canal. At least, that's what they had planned!
Dasher was taking HIS idea of exercise, but no one else wished to join him. In fact, one even doubted his sanity in taking an early morning swim!
The two Kelsies were sharing secrets. Hmmm. I wonder who Kelsie D was referring to?
Mackenzie Jane, with Emma M, Brandi L, Molly and Hannah found a pretty little Cottage Tea Room and, being hungry, peeped into the windows to see what the food was like. Molly had heard a lot about Welsh Fish and Chips and was keen to sample them.
The menu looked exciting and prices were reasonable, so they decided to go in.
They weren't disappointed!
Time passes quickly when you're having fun! Soon the sun was setting on their last day in Llangollen, and the members of the Welsh Chorale were preparing for their performance in the evening concert, which marked the Official Opening of the Eisteddfod.
Everyone was there to hear them.
Their selection was announced, and the most beautiful singing filled the concert hall. They had chosen to sing the Welsh traditional song, THE ASH GROVE.
CLICK ON THE ARROW BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE ASH GROVE
They received a standing ovation, and Hurley snapped a photograph of them on stage. They stood with great pride, and Luke, their conductor, took the final bow.
A recording was made of their performance, and they listened to the lovely song being replayed as their coach drove them back to their hotel.
The next morning they were once again on their way. The next 'Welsh Delight' was to be CAERNARFON, and on to the SNOWDONIA NATIONAL PARK.
CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
I DEDICATE THIS CHAPTER TO THE MEMORY OF MY DARLING GIRL, COLLEEN.
30/4/96 - 26/7/11