What country has more castles per square mile than any other in the world—including one built because of a fear of snakes? It is where the next-in-line for the British throne is invested. This beautiful country, full of rolling green hills, also happens to have more sheep than people. It’s Wales—and while it may be small, it certainly is mighty, and can compete with Europe’s best in stunning landscapes, rich history, and storybook villages.
Join Christine van Blokland, Emmy-winning host, writer, and executive producer of PBS’s “Curious Traveler” series, as she highlights the unique culture and sights of Wales. Stroll through the picture-postcard villages of Tenby to explore medieval walls and brightly-colored Georgian townhouses overlooking the promenade; charming Betws-y-Coed, where the stone houses and historic churches look straight out of a fairy tale; Hay-on-Wye, the famed “Town of Books”; and Beaumaris, where it’s so cold that there are puffin symbols adorning the street signs.
Be wowed by Wales’s mighty castles: Caernarfon Castle, where each Prince of Wales has been invested for centuries; Harlech Castle, perched high on a cliff and the inspiration for poets and artists throughout history; Beaumaris Castle, with its unique design and beautiful Isle of Anglesey location; and of course, Cardiff Castle, with its golden Arab Room and curious designs throughout. Also learn why Merlin plays a “curious” part in the legend of the red dragon on the Welsh flag.
Van Blokland surveys the natural wonders of three national parks: the sweeping views of Snowdonia National Park; the 2,000-foot drop at Hay Bluff in Brecon Beacons National Park; and the Victorian seaside resort town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Vicariously savor regional foods including laverbread and Welsh tea cakes.
Van Blokland even includes a Welsh language lesson so you can try your hand at pronouncing such tongue-twisters as bara brith (it’s a cake), Y Ddraig Goch (it’s an important Welsh symbol), and a town named Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
Visit Wales will be on hand to answer any burning questions you have about visiting Wales, and there will be a gift bag to keep you curious after you leave.
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Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)