We’ve all heard of fairy tales when we were kids. The stories of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Beauty and the Beast, and many others. They were stories of princesses, princes, kings, queens, dragons, witches, castles and little old towns around them. As a child I’ve seen almost every Disney fairy tale animated movie from our school’s audio-visual room, which turns into a free movie house during lunch break, and from those movies I’ve always pictured medieval towns as walled villages with a castle somewhere inside. I’ve always pictured it in my mind in a “cartoonish” way, where white walls and bright orange roofs make the town stand out.
And then, I saw Conwy, a small town in North Wales that had exactly what the fairy tale towns had, minus the princesses, princes, and certainly no dragons nor witches. Conwy is a walled town set along the banks of a river, and in the foot of the mountains of the Snowdonia region, Wales’ most famous national park. Enclosed within the walls of Conwy is a small town that looked like the setting of the fight between Belle, Gaston and the Beast. Walking along the town’s very narrow roads felt like walking in the centuries past when everything moved by push carts and horses, and people’s daily clothing looked funny or shabby by current standards. And on one corner of the town lies the castle, a mandatory element of every fairy tale. Built during the 13th century, the castle has an imposing presence over the town, and it is relatively intact, considering it’s eight centuries old.
Though it’s walls are not white, and the castle is an old ruin – nothing like a princess’ castle in Disneyland – the beautiful little town of Conwy has all the magical elements, that make a fairy tale.