Following our fabulous morning in Caerleon, we met up with Glyn and Claire and we started walking back along the main road looking for a place to eat, until we reached the East Gate. The East Gate was the original point of entry of the Roman Fortress; on the other side, behind the wall (picture below), there are the remains of what used to be Caerleon’s Castle.
Going through the gate we entered the ever so original Ffwrwm (believe it or not, I wrote it without checking the spelling :))
The Ffwrwm (approximately pronounced f3:’ r3:m – from the Latin word forum) is a very characteristic, cobbled narrow road that leads to a walled garden.
On our left of the road there are some shops and a café (for more information on the shops, check out this website).
On our right, a patio that belongs to the café with some beautiful, modern statues that blend in perfectly with the surrounding walls. There’s also a statue of a bull, which is believed to have magical powers…I touched it, just in case.
The road leads to the garden, which contains more unusual statues depicting some of the Arthurian stories.I have never seen anything so original.
Then we decided to have a light lunch at The Snug.
There aren’t many places where to eat in Caerleon, it’s not a big village after all, but there is some choice. In the end we decided to stop at the Snug. But why?
Well…we couldn’t really miss the AWESOME cakes and cupcakes on display inside near the door.
From inside the café I get this young “vibe” despite the wood, the simple bichromatic walls and a massive antique fireplace. There’s also a gallery of paintings from local artists which are indeed on sale.
The menu and food were simple yet delicious, and the “chef specials” on the board. The 2 members of staff were very nice and friendly (one of them is half Italian :))
We all had cake and ate it too. Were they nice? Here’s your answer…
Moving out of The Snug & back to sightseeing after a very long break, we traced our steps back to the Museum and turned left at the end of the road, to see what we really came for: The Roman Barracks and the Amphitheatre.
The Roman Barracks
Remember the room -turned-barrack in the Museum of the Legion? Squared rooms, with bunk beds, fireplaces, little kitchens with rats in them..?
This was the real deal..
It’s a real pity that, like for the roman Baths, there’s so little left. But the ruins still give a pretty good idea of how the barracks were laid out, with the waterholes, the kitchen, and the bedroom walls. I cannot stop thinking that there is still a lot to dig underneath those green mounds…
Just across the road from the Barracks we found the Amphitheatre.
The Amphitheatre was a smaller version of the Colosseum in Rome. It is also thought that the round shape of the ruins fuelled the “Round Table” legend linked to King Arthur.
I am not too convinced of this to be honest, but it does not take away the beauty of this place.
We could still see some of the corridors, the archways partially showing from the mud and the grass, and we could climb up and down the stairs. I wonder, in 2000 years, is this what San Siro Stadium is going to look like?
The effect is amazing nonetheless.
Our day is finally over; we have along drive back. I came to Caerleon to find King Arthur and instead I have found out more about the Romans (I am not complaining, it’s a GOOD thing!).
I loved Caerleon, it’s a very pretty fortress-turned-village, simple in many ways but effective, and very welcoming. I highly recommend it.
A little thought before I go… What happened to Caerleon’s Castle? I am saving this for another post….
PS: I have taken over 400 pictures; I cannot post them all here but if you follow the link to my Flickr page you can see the best of them.