11:48 PM

Roman Conquest & Tintern Abbey

Posted by Melody

I woke up at 8am to get ready for the day. Lauren, Katie, and I ran out the door for Waitrose (a grocery store) so we could get lunch for the day. We have a really quick breakfast. I love the breakfast buffet here. I had coffee, a fried egg, a piece of whole wheat bread, orange segments, and brie cheese. Yeah I know, total double take, right?! Brie is my favorite cheese of all that I have tried in my life. Feta is probably my second. We had to eat quickly since the bus was due to leave in just a couple of minutes.

I get on the bus and noticed that we have Steven with us again today. We were on our way to Caerleon to see the Roman structures. Random fact, if a town here ends in “–chester”, then that means there was once a Roman settlement there.

We arrived and looked at the amphitheater. There were 2 main entrances with a few side entrances. Steven showed us where the royal box might have been, with the shrine to whatever pagan gods the king might have liked.

We all had the chance to explore a bit before we were off to the other side of the road to the Roman barracks. Steven showed us where they made their food in the ovens, showed us the layout of the rooms that would have held 8 people each, and then showed us the centurion’s house. The centurion was like a general(?) in our terms, the guy who led the whole camp. Let’s put it this way, the centurion’s house was huge. It took up the same amount of area that would have been space for 8-10 rooms.

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I asked Steven what he meant by the ground level shifting. In that time, dilapidated buildings would be abandoned and left to fall down. When they did, the Romans would just compact the remains and build on top of it. We explored a few minutes before loading up the bus for Caerwent.

When we arrived in Caerwent, we went around and Steven showed us the various town roads and crossings. Around the bend, we walked to the old council buildings and places where they would hold town hall meetings. There was a chapel beside of the town hall building that had a pretty effective layout to it. From there, we walked a longer distance to see the outside of the town walls with the various bastions, some still mostly intact.

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We got back on the bus and headed toward Chepstow to see the castle there. We walked around the edge of the castle to see different things before going inside to do some exploring. Once inside, I went up Martin’s tower to see the view. It was gorgeous, and so I figured you should see it too…

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The castle was built in various phases, but they always had little slits in the wall so archers could safely fend off attackers. There were also things called “murder holes” that was also there to help keep attackers at bay. Murder holes are holes in the archway at the gate where hot boiling oil, water, rocks, etc. would be dropped down onto attackers. Yeah, now imagine how bad someone holding that knowledge would freak out if a water droplet hit them on the head. Now imagine that person being me, yeah…good times.

Eventually, we were off to Tintern Abbey. Steven gave us a short introduction to what we were seeing then had us to walk around. The whole place was gorgeous. At one point, we stood there as Stacy read the poem written by Wordsworth called “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”. It was sort of surreal listening to his words standing in the place where he first thought them. I tried to bring myself back to the time monks lived there, and I recalled some Gregorian chant in my head as I walked around.

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We arrive back in Bath and we go to our rooms to chill until dinner. I took a nap. I woke up about 15 minutes before dinner was to begin, so I jumped up and got ready. I had the red snapper with crab mashed potatoes and sugar snap beans.

Desserts were then served. I had the chocolate fondant with ice cream. One of the people I was sitting with had the pear tart, and they let me have a bite of it. It was better than the chocolate fondant, but saying that is like a sin in the life of a chocoholic, so I am going to have to go wash my mouth out with chocolate now.

I caught up on some work back in the room and went to bed.

Cheerio poppets!


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