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Day One in Wales

Posted by Shakeisha Gray '14

March 10, 2014

Category: Student Blogs

The weather in Charlotte wasn’t favorable when we left on Friday, it had been snowing with freezing rain and was very slushy and cold out.  Our flight to D.C. was running behind, but we made our flight to Manchester on what seemed a small plane for an overnight international flight.  Dinner and breakfast was served on the flight over and actually wasn’t half bad.  None of us slept very well on the overnight flight and by the time we arrived in Manchester at 5:50am on Saturday, we were already beat.  I think we all slept on the coach ride from Manchester into Wales and to the house we’re staying at, Tŷ Newydd.  Ty Newydd is the National Writing Center of Wales.  I must mention our coach driver Will.  He speaks both Welsh and English and he sure knows how to maneuver a giant bus into some very small spaces.  The roads are very narrow, especially when you get out into the country, and the turns can be very tight, but Will has seemed to manage it all very well.

We hit the ground running once in Wales.  We had a walk down to David Lloyd George’s burial site (He actually owned Tŷ Newydd at one point and passed away here, and he was the only Welsh Prime Minister of Great Britain).  You can find out more about Lloyd George here) and a stroll through the village.  We came back for a brief (very brief) nap and lunch, then we walked from the house, through farmlands, to the beach in the next town, Criccieth.  The walk on the beach was wonderfully windy and afterwards we visited Criccieth Castle then rewarded ourselves with ice cream!

In the evening, after a great meal produced by the wardens here, Gavin and Lleucu, we were entertained by a well-known Welsh performer and writer, Gwyneth Glyn (who had also joined us for dinner).  The evening proved to further my point that this world is indeed a small one because Gwyneth sang a song she translated into Welsh from English that had been performed by Doc Watson, and before that, Mississippi John Hurt.  For any folk music fans, you’ll know how cool it was to hear a Welsh singer perform a song by folk and/or roots music legends. 

Gwyneth was fantastic and took the time to meet with each of us.  I must mention our guide, Sally Baker, who has been our connection in Wales while Dr. Fuller was in the planning process, and has joined us on all of our excursions.  She is a dear friend of Dr. Fuller’s and lives just up the road from Tŷ Newydd.  Our first night here, I presented her with a Catawba College t-shirt, a small token of our appreciation for all her work behind the scenes.

Will, the coach driver.


One place our coach wouldn’t fit!  The lane up to Ty Newydd.

Ty Newydd

The local village.

The Irish Sea.

All the signs are in Welsh and English.

In the ice cream/café.

Gwyneth Glyn (l) and Sally Baker (r)

Gwyneth Glyn performing.



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