Visit Wales and its 641 castles – a mixture of gothic, medieval, and Victorian styles

With its rolling hills and numerous royal conquests, there’s no place where history comes alive in such a lush setting as it does in Wales. Everywhere you look, the evidence of kings, queens, conflict and empire call to you. There are more than 600 castles – 641 to be precise – so even without trying you’ll come across a few. Even the country’s young capital has one – right in the heart of the city. Cardiff Castle mixes medieval and Victorian gothic architectural styles to thrilling effect.

These proud battlements are a historical legacy that is testament to a tumultuous past, and to the indomitable spirit of the fighting Welsh – these castles were built for a reason.

When the Romans withdrew, the separate Welsh kingdoms were left to squabble and spar for centuries until the Normans landed in the 11th century. But the Welsh proved unwilling subjects even then. It was not until Edward I – the famous subduer of William “Braveheart” Wallace – launched his war of subjugation two centuries later that Wales finally fell to England’s boot.

Edward consolidated his victory with the impressive castles you can still visit today. Most are in excellent repair, with walls as solid now as when their first stones went in the ground.

Beaumaris – the biggest castle Edward built and a truly imposing military fortress. It is located on the island of Anglesey, separated from mainland Wales by the Menai Strait, which is home to Prince William in his duties as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot.

William is most intimately connected to the most majestic of the Unesco castles, the stunningly preserved Caernarfon Castle. This is where his father, Prince Charles, was invested as the Prince of Wales – and where, one day, William is likely to follow suit.

 

Keep reading: The Guardian – Discover the proud history of Wales

 

 

Continue reading Visit Wales and its 641 castles – a mixture of gothic, medieval, and Victorian styles

Psychology’s five aspects of wisdom

A recent article in the Economist used a complex, but somewhat small in scope, survey to study wisdom. They found that Americans definitely get smarter with age. They scored 45 points at age 25, and 55 by age 75.

In comparison, the Japanese learn wisdom much quicker, scoring 51 in both age groups.

This led to the byline – Americans get wiser with age. Japanese are wise from the start.

Very interesting and thoughtful, but I found it more inspiring to look at how they judged wisdom.

The assessors scored participants’ responses on a scale of one to three. This attempted to capture the degree to which they discussed what psychologists consider five crucial aspects of wise reasoning:

  • Willingness to seek opportunities to resolve conflict;
  • Willingness to search for compromise;
  • Recognition of the limits of personal knowledge;
  • Awareness that more than one perspective on a problem can exist;
  • Appreciation of the fact that things may get worse before they get better.

 

Basically, how good of a – diplomat/negotiator/self-aware/empathetic/realist – are you?

 

// Thx to Kirby Plessas