If I should be, where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from they wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence, wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together
From Lines Written A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, William Wordsworth
Not the Sunday just gone, but the one before, J and I went out on a little explore. We spent most of that day exploring Monmouth, which I'll tell you more about another day- but I decided that on our way back to Cardiff, we would detour via Tintern for a peek at the Abbey and the village, as my aunt is getting married there in the autumn.
As we drove through the village along the banks of the river, we turned a corner and both gasped. The Abbey is huge, and unbelievably beautiful. I can completely and utterly see why monks would have spent 400 years here- the setting is almost as beautiful as the Abbey itself. In case your history is a little rusty, like J's ("Why was the Abbey destroyed?". The one question that makes any former history student shake their head in disbelief)- in very simplified terms, when Henry VIII split with the Roman Catholic church in order to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn (and we all know how well that turned out), monasteries were also dissolved to raise revenue for the king. And that's what happened here.
As we'd spent so long pottering in Monmouth, we decided against paying to go in to the ruins of the Abbey, and instead sat outside The Anchor, the pub/ restaurant/ tearoom in the grounds of the Abbey. And it turns out, my aunt's fiance was sat inside the restaurant at the same time- we just didn't see him. Small world, eh!?
I treated the two of us to tea and cake- mine is the chocolate monstrosity (which was incredible- which is a big thing, considering how often chocolate cake in cafes is disappointing), while J went for the caramel pecan cake. I stole a bite, it was also delicious.
I'm planning to head back here for a picnic at some point soon. It was just idyllic, and I'd love to go and explore inside the ruins. And apparently at Christmas, they do carols by candlelight here too- wouldn't that be amazing?!