Monday, January 21, 2013

Chirk Castle

On our way back to London we made one last stop at Chirk Castle and it was definitely worth the detour.  Since we were traveling on the off-season (can't imagine why more people don't brave the icy rain :), many of the sites were open, but not manned.  At Chirk Castle we got the entire tour and thanks to the quiet day, Robert the Blacksmith spent almost an hour showing the boys the ropes of dueling and all the twists, turns and secrets of the castle.  
Long Sword VS. Short Sword-Tough Choice

Working on their form.

Going through their paces.

He may look innocent...
Moving onto the Staffs.

En Gaurde!

Double checking the lethalness of a dagger before testing the effectiveness of Chainmail. 

Me too! Me too!

In the Dungeon

In honor of Sir Thomas

During our tour of the dungeon, Robert very cheerfully noted that they had a friendly resident bat who was currently missing.  Needless to say, I booked it out of there.  Imagine our delight to come upon said bat outside Sir Thomas' room. Castles have excellent acoustics.  

Enjoying the view.
And that concludes our Great British road trip.  It was a crazy idea that turned out fantastically.  Reed did an excellent job with the planning and execution.  He even pre-picked movies for the kiddos to watch while we drove between destinations.  The kiddos favorite part?  Swimming pools and room service (Matts did say his life was complete now that he had seen the northern most boundary of the Roman Empire).  Reed's favorite part?  A true break from work-cell coverage was spotty at best (wait, maybe that was my favorite part :).  When all was said and done it was an amazing and memorable glimpse into the beautiful and sometimes brutal landscape of this 'little green island' that has such a rich wonderful history.  

Chester and Liverpool and Kendal

Between major historical sites and Castles we stopped in a variety of cities.  
Chester-Lots of Roman Ruins and a nearly intact city wall.

Liverpool, Birthplace of the Beatles.  

In the middle of the Lake District was a lovely little town.  

Reed was excited about the name, I was just excited to be touring the  Lake District'-birthplace of so many, many timeless romances :).  Honestly, it was beautiful; green, peaceful and begging to be tromped through.

Conwy Castle

After spending the night in Liverpool we headed into Wales.  It was stunningly beautiful, inspite of the nasty weather.  On our rainy, windy drive we passed towns that were completely flooded.  Turns out our entire trip happened to take place during record rainfall and flooding.  Let's just say it contributed to the experience.  

After driving through Snowdonia we arrived at Conwy Castle.  Set atop a cliff and accessible only via the drawbridge it was the perfect place for some Ching-Ching.  

Even Reed got in on the action (or possibly initiated the action :)

Wandering the courtyard.

Stairs and more stairs.

A Happy Knight.

Freeze (literally-it was so windy and on the battlements was frigid)

Crazy that this was only the second level.  The big boys and I braved the gusts and turrets to climb to the top.  Reed and Little C "enjoyed" the lower levels.

Wales, the Land of Dragons and Castles = SUCCESS!