July 24: Machynlleth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe took the local bus into Machynlleth (mack-unth-leth); the bus drivers are very skilled in maneuvering the bus on the narrow and winding roads, at times skimming the bushes as we passed on-coming vehicles. I think I have been walking too long; riding in a vehicle seems very fast, almost scary.

Welsh names are difficult to pronounce, even for the English. Recently there was a kidnapping and murder in this town and the newscasters really messed up the pronunciation, so much so that at least three people told me about it.

The most imposing structure in town is the clock tower (77 ft.). Constructed in 1874, the tower is a relative new comer to the town that traces it Celtics origins to 500 B.C., and meriting it the title as the historical capital of Wales.

There are prehistoric ruins, remains of an old circular Celtic fort, Roman roads and bridges, and ecclesiastical references dating back to 1201. The language spoken in town is a modernized language of the Celts and is one of Europe’s oldest living languages. On the return bus, Dennis asked a women sitting beside him if the 3- and 5-year-old children spoke Welsh, and she replied that they spoke it better than she since she was originally from “down south.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACeltica (right) was erected in 1653, but it has been refurbished several times and is now an historical and interpretive museum of the history of the Celts and its archives are available to anyone interested in Celtic history and culture.

Wednesday is market day and vendors set up stalls to sell vegetables, meat, fish, bara brith (spicy fruit loaves), dishes, clothing, hardware—just about everything. There are also many independent shops selling local food, colorful fabrics, and cloths as well as several cafes and eateries, a few with WiFi., where you can enjoy local lamb, tasty Welsh cheese (mostly cheddar), creamy yogurts and potent beer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince there were marketers in front of the parliament building, we took a photo of the backside. This stone edifice was built in the early 1400’s to commemorate the site of the Welsh senedd-dy which convened in 1404 to elect Owain Glyndwr, a Welsh hero, as leader and is the start of an independent Wales. This was 600 years before the current parliament.

The buildings in town demonstrate the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtown’s long history. Some building are a mixture of the old and new (to the right is the terracotta entrance to the smithy which is now a private home); old stone buildings abut Victorian shops; and a Georgian style hotel and gentry homes make the town very quaint with its rich architectural variety.

Below are pictures of the two main streets. On the right, you are looking down Hael Maengwyn; on the left you are looking up Heal Penrallt.

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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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