Thursday, August 14, 2014

Flower Festival - St Peter Ad Vincula Church - Pennal - Gwynedd - Wales

From July 31st until August 5th St Peter Ad Vincula Church in Pennal, Gywnedd, Wales held a Flower Festival.  On the Saturday afternoon I paid a visit to the event with my sister and a cousin who was staying the weekend with me. There has been a place of worship on this site at Pennal since the 6C when the church was founded by Celtic missionaries from Brittany. The current church  is a Victorian restoration with many of its 16C characteristics retained.

Of course I took my camera along so that I am now able to share some photos here with you on Travel Tales, I hope you will find them of interest. By the way the church clock is showing the wrong time, it was actually early in the afternoon when I took these photos!

Interesting Facts about the church with thanks to the website - Castles of Wales

1. It is the only church in Wales dedicated to the memory of Saint Peter in Chains ("ad Vincula" is Latin for "in bonds"). The story is to be found in Acts of the Apostles XII.

2. The Chapel Royal in the Tower of London is a sister church, as well as the Church in Rome that houses Michaelangelo's statue of Moses.

3. Stones and bricks (reddish pieces embedded in a whitish cement) from the first century Roman Fort nearby Cefn Caer, were used to rebuild the church over the centuries.

4. Lleucy Llwyd (Lucy Lloyd), the Welsh "Juliet", was buried in the church in 1390, under the altar.

5. Pennal became a parish church in its own right in 1683, the first rector was Maurice Jones. The longest surviving incumbent was Lewis Thomas, scholar, 1726-1780.

6. In its 300 years as a parish, the church has been rebuilt four times. In 1700, 1761, 1810 and 1873. The cost of rebuilding in 1761 was £1,270.

7. One person buried in the Oval Churchyard is a gentleman of Warwick, William Shakespeare!

8. The church retains much of its sixteenth century character, including some of its original roof timbers, the oak pews and handsome carved pulpit.

9. Thirteen years after the death of Llewelyn the Great whose wife Joan was daughter of King John, Pennal church was mentioned in the 1253 TAXATIO along with eight other Merionethshire churches.

10. During Lent 1406 Pennal Church was Prince Owain Glyndwr's Chapel Royal. The Pennal Letter was probably signed in the church.

11. Throughout the Middle Ages, Pennal was one of three chapels-of-ease that came under the care of Tywyn Church, the other two being Llanfihangel-y-Pennant and Llanfair (Tal-y-Llyn).

12. The Green Man in the East Window is the only stained glass version of this ancient figure in any church or chapel in Wales, and probably also in England.

13.The church also has links with the Syrian Oriental Orthodox Church and monastery of St Mark's in Jerusalem (site of the "Upper Room"), the house that St Peter went to after being liberated from his chains.

The Floral Displays were provided by local groups and Ysgol Pennal, with the theme of St Peter.

The church has an unusual and I think attractive feature in that it has a Gallery, which was being used for Refreshments. Of course my sister, cousin and I had some!

    The final interior photo is taken from the Gallery.

We then went outside to visit The Heritage Garden, also known as The Princes' Garden, which is based on a medieval monastic garden. A place of peace and tranquility which also acknowledges the role of the princes and clerics of Gwynedd and Owain Glyndwrs family in its history. 

It had been raining but somehow I think it adds to the beauty of slate when it is wet, don't you?

With thanks to the following sites and the Festival Leaflet for the background information included in this post.

Wikipedia - Pennal    St Peter Ad Vincula Church (Featured on Castles of Wales)
 All photos are my own taken on August 2nd 2014

More photos of the event and Pennal Village can be found on Flickr in My Album entitled Weekend Visit - August 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mandalay - Part Three - Impressions of Myanmar - Burma

On our third day in Mandalay we took the morning ferry to the ancient city of Mingun on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River about 11km(7 miles) upstream from Mandalay. Just under an hour on the public service ferry boats especially laid on for tourists, which leave the Mayanchan jetty early every morning.

The first photo at the top of the post was taken from the ticket office for the ferry to Mingun and shows the tourist area for the jetty. The people wearing the yellow jackets were the 'Tourist Police' there to supervise. My daughter and I had our photo taken with two of them and I will use this photo today and the one in the office on my photography blog for 'World at Work' and 'Faces on Friday' LindyLouMac's World in Photos  The jetty was actually very busy apart from the tourist boats as shown in the next photo.

We did wonder if we were going to be travelling on a ferry like this one above, but there were special boats for the tourists, which was just as well I think! However to get to our boat we did still have to walk a very precarious plank which was fun.

Approaching Mingun even from a distance the view of the enormous ruins of the Mingun Phato Pagoda towers over everything is impressive. Built by King Bodawpaya it was intended to be the largest pagoda in the world, only a third of it was ever completed, but it is still a spectacular sight.  At the time of our visit it was closed to the public due to the state it is in, but maybe one day it will once again be possible to climb this amazing structure.

On arrival we explored the village and I took loads of photos of which I have selected just a few to share here. We did not use the taxi's we walked!

 Pondaw Pagoda 

 Hsinbyume Pagoda (Myatheindan Pagoda) was built by King Bagyidaw in 1816, in memory of his favorite wife. Its unusual architecture is quite striking. It is based on the Sulamani Pagoda on the peak of the mythical golden mountain of Meru, which is the center of the universe in Buddhist-Hindu cosmology. Seven terraces with with undulating rails - representing the seven mountain ranges around Mount Meru - lead up the stupa, and all the way along are niches in which mythical monsters such as Nats, orgres and Nagas (mythical serpents) stand guard.

The Mingun Bell, with a height of 3.7 metres,  is said to be the largest working bell in the world. The Kremlin bell in Moscow is actually bigger but it is cracked and therefore not in use. Weighing 90 metric tons, the Mingun Bell was cast in bronze in 1808, and once it was completed the master craftsman was executed in order to stop him making anything similar!  These young ladies asked to have their photos taken with my daughter, we were such a novelty to them.

After lunch we took the ferry back to Mayanchan jetty and returned to our hotel for a few hours relaxation before meeting up again in the early evening with our friendly guide, Poonya to have a drink together and enjoy the sunset at the 'Dagon Beer Station' 

We returned to our hotel for supper and an early night as Poonya was collecting us the next morning at 5.30am. We were catching a ferry to Bagan, a ten hour trip on the Ayeyarwady River, which will be the subject of my next Myanamar post.

If you have missed my earlier posts about Our Myanmar Trip and want to catch up, here are the links.

Yangon - First Impressions of Myanmar

Yangon - Further First Impressions of Myanmar
Mandalay - Part One - Impressions of Myanmar
Mandalay - Part Two - Impressions of Myanmar - Burma
You can also find reviews of some of the places mentioned today on my Trip Advisor - LindyLouMac account.

With thanks to the following sites for some of the background information included in this post. The links will take you directly to the official websites if you are interested in learning more about Mandalay. I also used my Insight Guide to Myanmar for reference.

Myanmar Travel Information    Mandalay Region - Wikipedia    

Mandalay - The City - Wikipedia   Mandalay Poem - Wikipedia   Words to Mandalay - Kipling Society

Facebook - Ilikemyanmar - Information Channel    

Mingun - Wikipedia    Trip Advisor - Mingun Paya


                  All photos are my own taken in December 2013 unless otherwise mentioned.

More Mandalay photos can be found on Flickr in My Album entitled Mandalay, Myanmar. which contains over 500 photos just from our three days!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Corpus Christi Celebrations - Marta - Italy

Marta may only be a small participant when it comes to Corpus Christi Celebrations, for me that makes it even more poignant that the locals rally around to work together and decorate the road outside their own neighbourhoods in preparation for the Annual Corpus Christi Procession. This year it took place on Sunday June 22nd, it is an event which is celebrated all over Italy with Infiorate/flower displays on the streets made with petals, from fresh flowers where possible but augmented with paper and coloured wood chippings.  Whilst Marta’s celebration of the event may not be one of the larger events that take place in Italy, it is still something that many people in our little town are proud to take part in.

I am not a Catholic so am unable to comment on the significance of the event but I am able to share my photos with you, which I hope will tell the story of how seriously even a small village takes this event. 

On Sunday morning just a few hours before the procession was due to begin, the area was suddenly a hive of activity, as everyone prepared their displays.

                          An altar was set up ready for the service.

                                             The Procession

 I previously wrote about this event on my blog News From Italy back in 2011.
  1. The Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ), also known as Corpus Domini, is a Latin Rite liturgical solemnity celebrating the tradition and belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ and his Real Presence in the Eucharist.  Wikipedia