For today’s destination, I chose a spot I came across while researching settings for one of my fantasy/paranormal stories. I have several tied together by reoccurring characters of a fae line. In one the young heroine of the story happens to meet the legendary Welsh goddess Rhiannon, most of us probably know thanks to Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks.
While reading about Wales, I found the beautiful location of Snowdonia, (Eryri in Welsh). Just the names alone are almost mystical enough to be inspiration.
The English name comes from Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and in the middle ages rulers in the region used the title of Prince of Wales and Lord on Snowdonia together. One person to use this title was a lad by the name of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, personally, I am glad today’s Prince of Wales is named Charles, because I would hate to try spelling the other name, let alone pronounce it. I’m quite sure reporters across the world feel the same.
One of the most visited places in Snowdonia is the Snowdonia National Park. One article describes the park as Lakes, castles, waterfalls, and steam railways create a surreal experience right out of Lord of the Rings. More than 26,000 people live within the park and over six million more visit annually. While the park itself would be enough of a draw, there are many other sites that offer something to stir the creative mind.
Conwy Castle and medieval town walls are some of the best preserved in Europe. The walls are a little over ¾ of a mile in length with twenty two towers to explore while weaving a tale of a prince cheated out of his throne or a princess masquerading as a maid to escape an unwanted arranged marriage.
Another villiage in Snowdonia with a name that just begs to be in a story is Rhos on Sea. There is a legend which states Madog, son of the Welsh Prince Owain Gwynedd, sailed from Rhos on Sea to discover America in 1170, over three hundred years before Christopher Columbus. If your heroine finds her true love while visiting here, the couple might elect to say their vows in the Chapel of St. Trillo, believed to be the smallest church on the British Isles. It would need to be a very small, intimate ceremony however; the church only seats six people.
Before we leave, there is one place left to visit. The Snowdonia Society is a registered charity and is ran by a group of volunteers devoted to the protection of this spectacular region. If you need directions to their headquarters, just ask a local to direct you to the “ugly house” for that is the name of the house used as office and showcase for visitors. According to legend, it is a crude house built in the 15th century by two outlaw brothers as a ‘Ty Un Nos’ – or house built overnight. Under ancient law, he who built a house between sunset and sunrise, with walls, roof and smoking chimney, could claim the freehold. The house has been restored over the centuries by subsequent tenants, and is far from ugly.
This concludes this week’s travel into a magical land across the ocean. Sorry it is late, I really hate shopping for Christmas however when you take on the role of parent and now grandparent it is an evil requirement. I hope Shoe Station, TJ Max, Sears and J.C. Pennys are happy.
Until next week, wish you were here…
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