Here you will find the latest information on travel in Europe, as well as lots of other great stuff like recipes for some of my favorite European foods, schedules of upcoming travel seminars, tips and tricks on traveling in Europe, and answers to reader questions about European travel.

For more information about hotels and restaurants like those featured in our blog, or for help in planning your own independent trip to Europe, please contact us about our Self-Guided Trips or Custom Itinerary Planning services.


Conwy, North Wales

The towers of Conwy castle, built in the 12th century by Edward I, offer commanding views of the town, bay and countryside. 


Comments

Welcome to Welsh

About 20% of the people in Wales speak fluent Welsh, an ancient Celtic language. Words may look confusing, but they aren't too difficult to pronounce. There are a few pronoun citation pitfalls to be aware of:

f is pronounced like v
ff pronounced like f
dd is pronounced like th
ll is pronounced like nothing you'll ever get right

Fortunately everybody speaks fluent English with a beautiful, lyrical sound.


Comments

North Wales

Wales is a ruggedly beautiful country, but a hard place to make a living. Poor soil for farming, but abundant coal and slate sent the Welsh deep underground during the Industrial Revolution.

It was inky black in the mines, with the only light coming from small candles, which they had to purchase themselves, so they used them sparingly. They worked 12 hour days, usually descending into the mines before sunrise, and emerging after sunset. All for a few cents a day. 

Miners often began this dangerous work at the age of 12, and continued six days a week for the next 25 years, getting an early retirement to enjoy a few years before their bodies gave out from black lung or silicosis.

Tourism provides a larger and healthier source of income today. We spent the day touring one of the world's largest slate mines, and riding through the countryside in a steam powered train that used to haul the slate from the mountains to the port.




Comments

Caernarfon Castle

In an effort to appease his restless Welsh subjects, who did not want to be ruled by London, England's King Edward I promised to name a prince as ruler of Wales, who was born in Wales, and who spoke no other language.

Three years later he rushed his pregnant wife to his mighty castle at Caernarfon, North Wales, where she gave birth to the future Edward II. The new Prince of Wales was Welsh-born (and spoke NO language).

Since that time every male heir apparent to the British throne has carried the title of Prince of Wales, but very few of them have actually visited their castle at Caernarfon.

And, in case you're wondering, female heirs apparent, like Elizabeth II before she ascended the throne, have never been titled Princess of Wales. Even if a monarch had all daughters, as long as the current monarch lived there was always the possibility that a male heir could be born. That changed in 2011, and now, if it is unlikely that a monarch will produce a legitimate male heir (for example, due to age), a female heir apparent can be invested with the title Princess of Wales.


Comments

Yummy mushy peas?

How is that even possible?



Comments
See Older Posts...

For more information about hotels and restaurants like those featured in our blog, or for help in planning your own independent trip to Europe, please contact us about our Self-Guided Trips or Custom Itinerary Planning services.