Letti inclinati e albicocche

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cymru


That's what it's called in Welsh. At least, that's what we were told - we never actually heard anything but English on our trip to see Fr. Gareth.

Before we get to the content of this post, I'd like to apologize for the delay in updating the blog. Tim has been very busy studying lately, and I've been very busy reading other blogs (um...for tips...to improve this one). But I told Tim yesterday that if I didn't post something today, I'd give him five euros (that's what people here use since they can't get their hands on dollars, a.k.a. "real money"). So: "There we are."

Unfortunately we didn't take too many pictures in Wales, since most of the time we were being chauffeured around by Fr. Gareth or one of his parishioners and didn't always have the camera. The pictures we did take, though, are priceless.

Fr. Gareth met us at the train station the afternoon we arrived in Wales. He took us on a short tour of Cardiff, where we saw the new Senedd (like our Senate) building, the opera house, and the docks. He also bought Tim and me each a Brains (the name of the brewer) beer, which we gathered is popular in Wales. Then we drove about an hour north to his rectory, where we had dinner and watched an episode of Brideshead Revisited. Interesting fact: Fr. Gareth has two parishes, because of how few priests there are in Wales. More interesting fact: his parish in Tredega is technically in Dukestown, just a bit over the Tredega / Dukestown line, because when the church was built the parish wasn't allowed to build a Catholic Church in Tredega (Catholics in Wales haven't always been treated very well).

Anyway, our first field trip was chaperoned by Mike, one of Fr. Gareth's loyal parishioners. He took us to Big Pit, an old coal mine (one of many in the area). He also drove us past Rhomney Iron Works, one of the oldest (if not the oldest) iron works in the world. Here we are posing outside Big Pit, since cameras aren't allowed inside.


Mike, Mike, Tim


We also took a trip into Cardiff one of the days in Wales. Fr. Gareth's mother drove us into down while Father ran errands, and we eventually met up at "the club" for lunch. Tim and I were very underdressed, and I'm sure lacked sufficient table manners, but our hosts were too polite to mention it. Here's a picture of Tim and me in front of Cardiff Castle.


It was nice to travel with a third person, so more than just our heads would be in the picture.


Fr. Gareth, as you'd expect, is a very good host. Simply putting up with us is all most people are willing to deal with, but he really went the extra mile...I mean, the extra 1.6 kilometers. No matter how busy he was working on his dissertation, he'd always stop to make us breakfast.


"The Best Breakfast in Tredega" (I assume, because, well, there's really no other place to eat)


Many of you have, in comments or in emails, suggested that Tim and I have been neglecting our studies while abroad. I'd like to offer you some undisputable proof that that is not the case. Look at Tim, studying hard in the sitting room / my bedroom / Brideshead Revisited viewing room.

See? That's a textbook if ever I saw one...


One of the places we traveled with Fr. Gareth was an old Catholic Church (called St. Issui's or Patricio Church) that was stolen and is currently used by Protestants. In this church is the oldest known picture of Death / the Grim Reaper / etc.


Death



Mike, Fr. Gareth, and Tim in Patricio Church


Fr. Gareth also took us to the ruins of an old abbey, as evidenced by the following pictures. By the way, please notice that Wales is one of the relatively few places that manages to still be beautiful in rainy weather (which is lucky, since it rains pretty much all the time).











We also went to an abbey that still has monks living there.



Tim, at the abbey that still has monks


Since most of you probably haven't been to Fr. Gareth's parish, I thought it'd be nice to include a couple pictures of his church, Immaculate Conception.





Unfortunately, we did eventually have to leave. Realizing that we didn't have many pictures with Fr. Gareth, we decided to snap one more before leaving for the airport.


As we were leaving, I thought to myself, "I don't think I've ever seen Fr. Gareth's smile so big."



And because I know you love them, here's a self-portrait of Tim and me eating while waiting for a bus, or a train, or something.


2 Comments:

Anonymous Thomas said...

I forgot to ask you to say hi to Fr. Gareth for me! Have you left him already?

2:12 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

We actually took this trip in October, but took forever to post it. By tomorrow or the next day, though, we should be up to date. And even though I only have a month left in Italy, I'm going to try to make posts more frequent. Wish me luck.

4:07 PM  

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