May 4, 2023
OK, so no penguins this trip. However, we did see a lot of animals today. We docked in Holyhead (pronounced Hollyhead), Wales this morning. This is a cute coastal city on an island located off the northwestern tip of Wales. The Roman influence is seen across this region, from standing stones to the remains of Roman forts. Wales is part of the United Kingdom, and also has its own government to deal with local matters. Most signs are in English and Welsh, as most residents speak English but some only speak Welsh. Welsh is very different from English, with a different alphabet and pronunciation. Here are a few examples:
Good morning: Bore da (borr-eh-dah)
Thanks: Diolch (dee-olch)
Wales: Cymru (kum-ree)
We boarded our coach to go to the neighboring island of Anglesey, which is connected to mainland Wales by a bridge. We were lucky with weather; it was clear and nice, except for a lot of wind. This island is green and beautiful.
The number 2 industry here is sheep farming. (#1 is tourism.) There are 3 times as many sheep as people living here, which means there are 9 million sheep. Most of the sheep are Welsh Mountain Sheep, these sheep generally are not sheared for wool, but sold as lambs. We also saw cows, horses, and birds during our excursion. We did not get a chance to visit the wildlife refuge...maybe next time!
Some interesting facts about Wales:
The harp is the musical instrument of Wales
The national emblem of Wales was originally the leek, but not everyone thought that was a good idea so eventually they added the daffodil as the national flower and it has unofficially taken over as the national symbol.
Wales has a large number of windmill farms, both on land and offshore, with a goal of wind eventually supplying at least 50% of their power.
And Wales has a town with the longest name in Great Britain, and the second longest in the world:
So, those are the highlights from our excursion today. We are also enjoying our time on the Viking Venus, enjoying afternoon tea, fun musical performances, and lots of good food!
Tomorrow we are in Liverpool with two excursions planned, so we may be posting tomorrow's blog late in the day, or not until the next day.
And for those of you who are missing penguin pictures, here are a few to make you smile.