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The Honeymoon, or Maybe We’re Both Druids Now?

For our honeymoon, husband and I did a two week trip to Europe. We went to London, Paris, and Wales. London was nice, I was surprised to find I hated Paris, and Wales was THE BEST.

Okay, in order, here goes:

London: We pretty much just did regular tourist things in London. We stayed in a really nice hotel while we were there. London was a lovely city, with a pace that seemed like it would be nice to live in.

My husband, being adorable with some snugglebears:

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Obligatory London phone booth photo:

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Did I mention my husband is adorable?
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One of the things I really liked about London, and Europe in general was walking around a corner and discovering some ancient relic. This was the rosary from a medieval Great Hall in a castle.

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One of the few pictures of both of us from the honeymoon, at Trafalgar Square. SAM_1104

Paris:

At the recommendation of one of my coworkers, we went to La Refuge des Fondues. They serve you wine in baby bottles. They say it’s to avoid a tax on wine by the glass, because then they sell it as wine by the bottle. Ba dum ching! I don’t think that’s really it. I think it’s just a gimmick. But it was fun, and there was a couple from Seattle next to us we had a great time talking to.
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Later that night, I was drunk from all the baby bottles of wine, and we decided to mix some juice and sprite so we could hydrate. What follows is my drunken midnight time of going around the apartment with the juice saying “Je suis dangereuse!”SAM_1145 SAM_1146 SAM_1151 SAM_1157

And the obligatory Eiffel Tower picture. 
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My favorite piece of art we saw. It was at the Musee de Quai Branly. It’s called “L’Aurore” by Dennis Pierre Puech. It was in an exhibit on hair and its cultural meanings.

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We had lunch with our high school French teacher, who was flabbergasted we had married each other. We were already dating when we were in her class together. 
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And I danced in front of the Paris Opera just because I’m still upset that I didn’t get to study abroad there in college due to my school’s policy of discouraging study abroad.
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Our last day in Paris, we went just outside the city to La Defense. We saw the Grande Arche. La Defense was actually my favorite thing in Paris. There was so much interesting and new architecture, and the people spoke slower than the Parisians. 
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Wales:

Wales was the BEST. We left London on a Virgin train then transferred to a Welsh local train and were surprised to see all of the signs on the train in both Welsh and English. And then the train ride over, we joked about all the silly ways that he conductor’s announcements of cities sounded absolutely nothing like how the stops names were spelled. When we got to Wales, our hosts were very nice, and told us a bit about the local history. Turned out we were staying near a lake of Lady of the Lake fame, and mountains were Merlin was said to have lived. We of course went to see those one day:

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And seriously, I cannot stress enough that Wales is the most beautiful:

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Also, there was slate everywhere. Here is a picket fence made out of slate:

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And here is a tree eating a piece of slate:

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We also spent a day going around the Isle of Anglesey, which was nearby seeing Neolithic Druid monuments. In one of them, Bryn Celli Ddu, a henge-turned burial mound, there was evidence of druid prayer. I found myself wondering whether these offerings were left by locals or visiting pagans.

A candle, a flower, and a heart-shaped stone:

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A dried bouquet of flowers:

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Some coins left in between the stones on the walls

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Some runes scratched into a stone near the ceiling:

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I prayed outside the entrance. It was nice. :

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We went to Barclodiad y Gawres, which is another monument right on the Irish Sea. The name translates to “The Giantess’ Apronful.” They have the only example of painted standing stones in a monument in Wales, except for a single stone at Bryn Celli Ddu, which you can see in the previous picture. Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to see them because the mound is only open on weekends. But we did get to walk around.SAM_1392

It’s so windy there. The tree in this picture is not actually blowing in the wind. It grew that way.

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And we went to Llanfairpwllgyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which is a town with an absurd name. Silly Welshmen. According to a book at our cabin, a Welshman named the town that to make fun of the English and their difficulty pronouncing Welsh words.

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According to this book about Wales that was at our cabin, the ancient Celts used to throw hazlenuts at the bride and groom while they were in the middle of getting married. We thought that was an interesting bit of information, considering the nut pelted at us during our marriage ceremony. The “maybe we’re both Druids now” part of the title of this post comes from the Welsh part of our trip. Wales was just so beautiful everywhere you went.  Even the path to town was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Welsh is a beautiful language, and it was so wonderful to be in a place with such history. Davin and I got a book on Welsh and tried to pick up as much as we could while we were there. So far I can pretty much say “Y cacen yn y caban.” Which means “The cake is in the cabin.” I told my husband what I know about druidry, and he liked it. He said that he could almost see himself exploring druidry. So we came home and kept talking about it, and then at Yule we went to the celebration of our local Druid grove. It was wonderful! My husband was happy because we showed up in the middle of a ritual that was pretty much sumbel–everyone was passing a mug of spiked hot chocolate and making toasts. Pretty much as soon as we got there, one of the grove members said that she’s just as happy in the church as she is in the grove, and that she likes the grove because noone there makes her feel weird about it, whereas when she’s at Church as says she feels comfortable in a Druid grove, people are always demanding explanations. That put my husband’s fears away that he would be rejected for his Christian faith quite quickly. We spent the weekend having an overnight vigil for the sun, and a joyous sunrise singing and toast. I loved that the ceremonies were so simple and moving. There was ritual to it, but nothing so complicated as to leave anyone confused or lost. I really liked it. There were a few people there for sure we are looking forward to seeing again this weekend at the Imbolc celebration.

So, yeah. My honeymoon might have turned us into druids. And that makes me happy!

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