July 22: Aberdovey

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning’s rain pattered noisily on the observatory windows. After studying the maps, Dennis was certain that we would find a short cut over the mountain and into town. By noon, the rain cleared, but a haze remained. When Dennis and I went exploring to find this shortcut, we were treated to beautify views of the Dovey estuary. UNESCO has designated this river mouth and valley a “Biosphere Reserve.” It is the only one in Wales and the second in all of the UK. In addition to protecting wild life, the Biosphere preserves diversity of the area’s beauty, the local knowledge, language, and culture.

In the 5th century, the estuary determined who would be king. Maelgwn Gwnedd gathered the tywyssgion (princes) at the mouth of the river to settle which of them was to be the King of Wales. Each was to bring a throne, and the last one remaining on the throne would be king. When the tide was out, they placed their thrones on the beach and waited for the tide to turn. Everyone had grand thrones made of metal and precious stones except for Maelgwn, whose throne was constructed from goose down held together with wax. As the tide came in, his throne floated and he become king. In this case, ingenuity won out over vanity.

Dennis may have found a shorter path which we will try later this week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALater that afternoon, we went in search of the Bearded Lake (Llyn Barfog). The lake is nestled in the Snowdonia foothills not far from Aberdovey; the only way there is on foot. In hopes of a swim, we had taken towels but the water was rocky and loaded with lily pads. Though the water was warm, we decided not to go for a dip.

Why is the lake so named? Some say that the water lilies which bloom from June to September give it the appearance of a beard; the romantics say it is named in honor of King Arthur’s foster-father, Barfog, the bearded one; and those who believe in magic and fairies say the name came from a magic cow who provided many gallons of creamery milk. When she got too old to produce milk, the farmer hired a butcher to kill the cow. A little green fairy woman prevented this from happening and then took the cow and her calves into the lake. From then on, the farmer’s luck changed for the worse. I don’t understand how this fairytale ties in with the name of the lake, but that is the legend associated with the lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had looked forward to a week of rest and domesticity, but trying to bake in an unfamiliar oven is challenging. I tried to bake ham slices, but the oven did not get warm enough to cook it and I ended up cooking it in a pan. I hope I will be able to bake the canned chicken and mushroom pie that I bought.

Dennis has not had success in contacting American amateur operators. Tomorrow he will use his own antenna to see if that makes a difference.

About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

I am an award-winning author of the "Woman On Her Way" book series, writing about my travel adventures. For more information on the books, please visit janevblanchard.com. I started the "Woman On Her Way" travel blog in 2013 to share my experiences as I explored 13 countries with my husband, traveling by ship, foot, bike, bus, train, and plane. Dennis and I continue to make memories and hope you will enjoy following along.

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