I wanted to visit an Abbey which the man in Denbigh castle told me about and it was on a route that I wanted to travel anyway; it was through the Horseshoe Pass and on a road just before Llangollen. It was late afternoon as I drove through the Pass and I stopped to eat my late lunch of fresh cherries and admire the beautiful views, the time was about 3.30pm and I thought that maybe the Abbey would close soon so I decided to go to Llangollen anyway as I have been many times before and love the place, it’s a beautiful village where they hold the International Eisteddfod every year which is a huge competition celebrating the arts.
Examples of the yarn bombing which was on display in the main street!
Llangollen satisfies all the senses, it’s a beautiful place to look at, with quaint little village houses and shops all built around the river Dee, with an old Mill serving delicious food, providing wonderful aromas as you walk past and onto the main bridge over the river Dee adorned with flags of all nationalities, which connects the two parts of Llangollen. You can always hear singing as you enter the town, it could be from the Maes up at the Eisteddfod or the choirs singing in the local hostelries after the competition or in this case a band singing on the station. The musical theme is so prevalent there you can almost touch the music in the air; you can definitely feel the vibrations.
I went to investigate what was happening at the station and was told I was just in time for the Orange blossom steam train which was part of the Fringe Festival and there would be music on the platform until the train departed then another band singing on the train with dancing and wine, up to Carrog station where we all got off the train and listened to another duo singing a mixture of English and Welsh folk songs. On the train on the way back I decided to stay in the carriage where the band were playing, a couple of young lads from the local area called Steffan and Matthew, they played guitar and drums and sang country and western songs much to the delight of the passengers who sang along and danced their way back to Llangollen station where there was more music for you to enjoy on the platform, which was more of a typical Country and Western theme with the lead singer even wearing dungarees.
It was the most wonderful train journey I have taken, on an old steam train called Foxcote Manor driven by a young blonde girl with a punky look about her and soot covered face but from her smile looked as if she was loving every minute of her job! The carriages were also very old with plush upholstered seats which all trains used to have years ago, the seats were like sitting in a booth and very snug and comfortable with some carriages having compartments like the Orient Express. It was a slow meandering trip through the Welsh countryside until we reached our scenic destination and alighted to listen to the music. People of all ages had joined the train at Llangollen, from babies to the elderly all joined together by this wonderful musical celebration of Welsh and American culture.
I met some lovely people on board, a lovely couple from Boston Lincs who had just celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversary in Llangollen, a couple of friends who lived locally and did this trip every year just because they loved it and a couple of lads who were the entertainment on the return journey, they probably were on the outward journey too but I stayed in my carriage during the first half admiring the views. Steffan, one of the guys in the band told me about a singing village called Rhos which I am going to try and visit as part of my adventures. Apparently it is a very small village with many choirs and you can join in the singing with them, so I will definitely look into this, as I love singing.