Tammy Ford

Houston, TX

Tammy and Alex!

Tammy and Alex!

What made you want to travel to Wales?:

“I’ve always loved Welsh/English medieval history and thought it would be fun to visit some of the places I’ve read about. Wales has so many castles and between that and the fantastic landscape (my husband and I are both photographers), it seemed the perfect place for vacation.”

Who did you travel with?:

“My husband and partner in crime, Alex.”

Where were the top 3 places to visit on your journey to Wales?:
“I had a huge list of castles I wanted to see, but the main ones were Conwy, Castell-y-Bere and Dolbadarn simply because of their history. We managed to get to twenty-one castles in total and yes, we made it to these three. To say they beat my expectations would be an understatement. How can you not be in awe of majestic buildings constructed over 800 years ago? Some castles were more intact than others (we only went to one castle that isn’t a ruin), but they were all stunningly beautiful.”

Tough question alert! What was the best part about your vacation?:
“Wales has been on my bucket list since I started reading medieval history about ten years ago, but I never thought I’d get a chance to go. It was a rather surreal experience to stand in some of the castles that I’ve read about, knowing the stories of the people who lived there. It was awe-inspiring!”

Why did you choose Tenon Tours? What advantages did you have booking with Tenon Tours?:
“The people at Tenon knew the area where I wanted to go and I appreciated their advice on driving times and where to stay. I felt better knowing the hotels/B&Bs had been vetted by them.”

Caerphilly Castle!

Caerphilly Castle!


Do you wish you prepared better for any specific part of the trip?:
I wish we would have brought some dressier clothes. Since we spent most of the trip trudging through castles, we only had hiking boots and jeans. None of the hotel restaurants had dress codes, but we did feel a bit underdressed at dinner.

Good point Tammy!

Check out our blog about what to pack here

Any advice about the weather?:
“It’s going to rain. Just make sure you have a parka. We also used a waterproof spray on our camera bags and hiking boots.”

Did you make any friends during your travels?:<
“My husband talks to everyone, so we met many new friends on the trip. We even altered our itinerary a little because we met a woman whose husband built a statue that my husband had seen in a magazine. Suddenly we needed to find that statue! We did find it, snapped some great photos of it to email to her when we got home. I also met the elderly curator of St Lawrence church in Evesham. We stopped there since I knew there’s a memorial to Simon de Montfort – one of my favorite historical characters. The memorial isn’t well marked, so I didn’t expect to find it, but happen to ask the curator about it. He told me it was just outside and he would take me to it. We struck up a conversation about Simon and I blushed when he took my hand and told me how nice it was to find a girl who knew her history.”

Criccieth Castle!

Criccieth Castle!


How did you feel about driving on the “wrong” side of the road?:
“Thankfully, my husband has lived in “left hand drive” countries, so he was accustomed to it. The narrow roads were difficult to maneuver, but the drivers were very courteous.”

What tips do you have for others planning a self-drive tour?:
“I loved the idea of the self-driving tour since we could set our own itinerary (see the above story about finding a statue). I was just very lucky that my husband could navigate the narrow roads while driving on the left and listening to my (sometimes haphazard) instructions.”

see our self drive tours here



How did you go about planning your itinerary, picking sights, arranging them and figuring out how long to stay?:
“I did a lot of research and consulted a bunch of websites about medieval castles and points of interest. I also consulted the Cadw (Welsh government site) and Facebook pages with medieval themes. I got loads of recommendations and suggestions. At that point, I put together a rough itinerary and ran it across Stephanie at Tenon who helped me narrow it down and figure out where to stay.”

Any advice for getting around?:
“A coworker of mine suggested using Google Offline maps. It worked wonderfully. I was able to download a map of the next days’ travels while connected to the hotel’s Wi-Fi. That way I could make use of Google navigation just as I do in the States. It wasn’t perfect (Google sent us down some pretty scary roads), but it was better than navigating by map.”

 


See what Stephanie’s other clients have to say about her by clicking here!

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