On Sunday, 25 April, in the afternoon, we followed Carole Startin, a professional Blue Badge guide for Wales, on a virtual tour of Wales.
Because Wales is one of the less well-known nations of the United Kingdom, certainly to our non-British members, Carole had been asked to start off with a general introduction to Wales and its history, past and present.
This turned out to be a very informative presentation with quite some surprising insights, particularly on the Welsh language and devolved powers. One of the things I learned was that Welsh is still so very much alive and kicking, and sometimes at the heart of political debates too. No surprise then that some comments reminded us of situations we are all too familiar with in Belgium. Welsh cuisine and even Welsh whisky were also ‘served’ during the talk.
Then the real tour started and concentrated on the northern part of Wales, as we had asked Carole to do. Indeed, some of our members may remember that NTAB visited the southern part some ten years ago. Our guide gently brought us to places such as Caernarfon Castle, where Prince Charles was invested in 1969, and Plas Newydd, the home of the 1st Marquess of Anglesey (a NT property, by the way). On our tour we even passed by a parrot school!
Then we ‘crossed’ the (Unesco World Heritage) Pontcysylite Aqueduct and visited places such as the ‘birthplace’ of the Land Rover. Carole also kindly included some historic references to our own regions, such as the Marquess of Anglesey’s role during the battle of Waterloo and the Welsh wool which served to weave the beautiful 15-18th century Flemish tapestries.
After all a very comprehensive introduction to Wales.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Carole’s presentation made many of the participants think about visiting Wales at a certain point of time.