When I woke up in Llandudno, Wales, the first thing I did was to look out the window to check the weather. I wanted to see if Day One's blue skies were planning a reprise. Instead I was greeted by thick clouds. But it turned out that the gloomy weather added to the atmosphere of the sights I was visiting: a crumbling castle, a courthouse and a prison all in Beaumaris, a town on the Isle of Anglesey. I think Beaumaris must be just as beau on a moody gray day.
We started at Beaumaris Courthouse, which was in use from 1614-1971. The highlight was seeing an old judicial robe that bore a strong resemblance to a Santa Claus's outfit. We also learned that theft carried a harsher punishment than manslaughter. The two worst punishments — execution and being sent to Australia — are completely outdated. The death penalty has been abolished in the UK and now people love Australia.
The next stop was the Beaumaris Gaol (Jail). Gray skies certainly fit the mood for this place, which was used during Victorian times. You could walk into the cells, and there are signs describing prisoners to help you imagine the kind of people who might have been in there. Also striking was seeing the jail's nursery, and the rope that went through the floor so the women working on level below could rock the crib with a rope with one hand while they labored with the other.
Our last sightseeing stop was Beaumaris Castle (pictured above), which many think is the best of Wales's 641 castles. Even though Edward I never finished it, it's still pretty spectacular. It's set right on the Menaii straight, a strategic point that needed to be guarded. And, just like in the fairytales, it has a moat (although it no longer circles the entire castle). You can walk around the inside of the castle and imagine where the rooms once were. You can also climb up the steps for gorgeous views. Check out the photos of Beaumaris Castle below.