Next up, Newport, Wales, and a housesit with the most adorable German Shepherd, Freddi. Newport is in Southern Wales, not far from Cardiff. (Cardiff gets it’s own post, it was so cool.)
We happened to be in Newport for King Charles III’s coronation. Everything from chocolate bars to brunch got the coronation treatment. We happened to see part of the ceremony when we dropped by the Ye Olde Bull Inn for lunch. We did not participate in the pledge of allegiance to the new king.
Guess What? They have Roman Stuff in Wales Too
Actually quite few Roman sites are in Wales. A very nicely preserved Roman bath is located in Caerleon. (Conveniently next to Ye Olde Bull Inn.) The 2nd Legion used the baths here from about 74 AD to 287 AD. Nearby are the remains of a Roman fortress and amphitheater, but we didn’t see those. https://cadw.gov.wales/more-about-caerleon
And, There’s a Castle
There’s not much left of the castle. It was built in the 14th century, was sacked by the “Last native-born Welshman named the Prince of Wales” Owain Glyndŵr in 1402, and it was later taken by Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1648. There is a small model at the site that shows what the full castle would have looked like. The remains are very close to the Friar’s Walk shopping center and the River Walk, so we passed by it numerous times.
Several Interesting Sites Along the River USK
There’s a lovely walk along the river that starts (or ends) at the castle. An art installation called the Steel Wave, by Peter Fink pays homage to Newport’s history in the steel industry. And one of the wackiest bridges I’ve ever seen crosses the Usk at this point. It won a British Constructional Steelwork Association award and the 2007 George Gibby Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers in Wales. Details about the bridge are here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newport_City_footbridge
Speaking of Bridges
Newport is also home to one of the six remaining transporter bridges in the world. What’s a transporter bridge? Kind of a cross between a ferry, a railway, and a ski lift. You load the cars and people into a gondola that rises up and runs across the bridge/track to the other side and lowers back down. The extreme tides of the river made a traditional ferry impractical, so the transporter bridge was chosen as it would still allow for the tall ships of the early 1900s to pass beneath. The Newport bridge is 645 feet across the main span and 592 feet above the surface of the water.
Mark was gutted that it was closed while we were there. They plan to re-open it in 2024 after completing repairs. It was built in 1906, so I would guess they have quite a bit of maintenance to do. (I had no intension of going up on that thing — 592 feet! Built in 1906! A big Nope from me.) Get all the details here: https://www.newport.gov.uk/heritage/en/Transporter-Bridge/Transporter-Bridge.aspx
What’s This? Another Castle?
When we were at the Forest Feastival (https://idealcaretech.com/feasting-in-the-forest/) near Bridgend, we came across Ogmore Castle. Basically a ruin today it was built in the early 12th century. There’s a path of stepping stones (Stepsau Teilo) across the River Ewenny someone told us that supposedly the Romans used then they had a camp here. Not sure if that’s true, couldn’t confirm. We watched many people wading into the cold water to try the slippery stones. Watched, did not attempt. Read more here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogmore_Castle
Random Cool Things in Newport
We enjoyed our stay in Newport. It’s close to many interesting places in Wales and it has it’s own history and charm. We enjoyed visiting the Tiny Rebel brewery, Mark had possibly the best grilled cheese sandwich ever at Holy Cheezus, and we had our first Nando’s visit. (How have we missed Nando’s??)