I hope you've had a fab Easter and are enjoying another lazy day today :) I'm not overly enthusiastic about returning to work tomorrow, but at least its only for three days! Have you all been making the most of the weekend? If you've seen my week in photos you will have seen that I've had a busy week!
I've decided that I want to see more of Wales and the surrounding areas. I live in such a beautiful area but never appreciate the things on my door step! This past week I have been a bit of a tourist in my own back yard and have loved it!
First up Spencer took me to White Castle for my birthday. It is named White Castle because it used to be white, most of the white has faded now but you can still see patches of white on the walls. It is situated between Abergavenny and Monmouth. The place is gorgeous. It is in the middle of no where and it is so peaceful (all except for the little kid that didn't shut up!!!) The views are amazing! It cost £2.80 each to enter which isn't too bad. If you were to visit I would suggest taking a picnic and planning something else to do with the day as you couldn't really spend a whole day there.
My partner's brother who lives in Wokingham is going out with a girl who lives in Istanbul, Turkey. They both came over to Wales for the weekend. This was her first visit to Wales and her first time meeting the family! He wanted to show her as much of Wales as he could. They didn't get to do everything they wanted as her suitcase ended up going to Cyprus instead of Heathrow, this meant coming to Wales in the evening instead of the morning, which meant missing out on their shopping trip to Cardiff. We went to Big Pit and Pontypool & Blaenavon railway with them yesterday, these are both literally a 15 minute drive from my house and it was the first time I'd been - shameful! There were people there from Essex and London, I live down the road and its taken me 26 years to visit!
Big Pit is very popular and quite a famous place. It is an old coal mine, admission is free woohoo! A guide takes you on a tour, which for me was actually quite scary! They give you a helmet with a light on and a big heavy belt with the battery pack - don't bother making an effort with how you look if you go here, you can't hold onto your dignity! You go down in an old lift, which I found quite claustrophobic and didn't really like. You are then under ground in the old coal mines. Some of the ceilings are quite low and it is really dark, you do all have your lights on your helmets so can see okay. We went on the first tour of the morning which was real quiet, if I went on a later busier tour I think it would have been hard for me to deal with. At one point they make you all turn your lights out so that you can experience the complete darkness that the 6 year old kids were made to work in all those years ago - it is horrific. This place is a real eye opener and I can't believe I have never been before! Despite nearly having panic attacks and being made to wear a horrible helmet I thoroughly enjoyed it there and highly recommend it to other people. It really is something everyone should experience. The guides have all worked in mines at one point in their life. Our guide was fantastic, he really knew his stuff and he was very friendly and funny.
You aren't allowed to take your cameras or phones underground with you, which is why there aren't any photos of that!
We then went up to Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway and rode on a steam train. This isn't really something that interests me but Spencer's father is really into it, he volunteers at this railway as their chairman. It costs £6 each to have a ride on the train!!! I thought this was very expensive but after getting into Big Pit for free it kind of evened it up. This is quite close to Big Pit and they are eventually hoping to extend the line so that the train goes up to Big Pit, this will bring a lot of needed money to them. Everyone that works there are volunteers and are real passionate about restoring the old lines. The views here are amazing! You can stick your head out of the windows when the train is moving, which is fun! The train goes up the line which takes you to a pub, you can get on and off the train as often as you like so could get off and spend a few hours in the pub! It goes back down the line then, back past the station and keeps going down. You can also get off here but we couldn't really see any reason for you to get off here. When we spoke Spencer's father later he explained that if you get off there it is a short walk into Blaenavon town which some people like to visit.
Welsh Rarebit to start (which is basically a glorified cheese on toast), for our main we had a roast dinner with Welsh Lamb and leeks, pudding we had apple crumble (I don't know if there is any Welsh theme here!). I had some Welsh Cakes left over from my garden party so took them up to have with tea later on. My friend Laura makes the best Welsh Cakes ever and everyone thoroughly enjoyed them!
So all in all I've had a very Welsh week!!