A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Thursday, April 22, 2004


The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine (courtesy of quotegarden.com)

I love to travel. I have been fortunate over the past decade to have had the opportunity to travel to Europe on several occasions. I've been to Prague and Stockholm (both on business), and to the UK thrice on vacation. We were in London for the millenium celebrations, and had spent the previous week in Scotland, and in a previous year had been through central and southern England.

Our most recent trip, and my favorite to date, has been to Wales, where we spent a week two summers ago. We rented a small vacation place right on the coast in Pembrokeshire, and from there made daytrips to visit castles, abbeys, and other historical sites. I think the three of us (me, DH, and a family friend) visited over 30 different places over the week, and DH and I took over 700 pictures.

I love visiting castles. There's just something deeply awe-inspiring about standing in the remains of a building many centuries old and being able to almost see how life was like back then, or to run your hands across stone that was placed there nearly a millenium in the past. Looking out from towers or wallwalks, you can visualize how the defenses work. And often, especially in Wales, the castles are quite spectacularly sited. Some of the very old Welsh-built castles (as opposed to ones erected by the English later) overlook rather breathtaking vistas - verdant fields, rivers, mountains. Two of the most beautiful examples are Castell Y Bere and Cilgerran. The remains of Bere are on a hill at the intersection of several valleys. From there one gets quite a vantage point of the surrounding area. And Cilgerran overlooks the Teifi river - there's a small village right beside the castle, but the surrounding countryside was relatively unspoiled. And there were so many other places as well....my office wall is covered with postcards of the sites we've visited.

Castles aside, I believe that Wales is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The mountains, the forests, the coast...we saw some of the most striking sunsets while we were there. God must live in Wales (although my priest maintains He lives in Ireland!).

Recently we acquired a new computer for home, and we adopted a castles naming scheme. Looking through our vacation pictures for appropriate desktop backgrounds increases my yearning to go back.

The Welsh have a word to describe this - hiraeth. It is no surprise to me that such a place could evoke such feelings.

hiraeth: an intense longing from the soul for 'home.' A feeling of connection to a place different from the place of sojourn. The inner element that calls the person afflicted by hiraeth to return home.

No comments: