Gavin's Adventures on the Mystical Island of Britain -- Part 35

A list of the adventures.

The Birthplace of Merlin

The next day, as I had intended, I drove my wagon along the coast to Aberystwyth, then headed inland and continued south. After many miles of twisty roads and several interesting stops, I eventually came to Carmarthen, the legendary birthplace of the wizard Merlin. He had eluded me before, first at his cave in Tintagel, and then again when I had found his waterfall at Alderley Edge, and I was beginning to suspect that I would not find him on this journey. But I intended to keep looking, just the same.

Carmarthen was, as expected, not an easy place to find, and I spent the entire next day in search of it. I reached it at last as the long shadows of evening were beginning to reach across the road. Not having any idea how to find Merlin, and knowing there was a a Roman amphitheatre in Carmarthen, I decided to make that my destination for the day. An amphitheatre, I thought, could not be difficult to find. I was wrong. I drove around the winding streets for some time, to no avail.

It occurred to me then that this was the first unfriendly town I had found so far in Wales. No one wanted to speak to me, or even to share the street with me, though I felt their eyes on me as they gazed from windows and doorways. Clearly this was a town that guarded secrets.

I came at last, just after five thirty -- but the streets were already dark -- to a Tourist Information Centre. I had seen such buildings before, and usually they were staffed with friendly people and supplied with useful information. This one was the exception. A sign on the door informed me that it had closed at five thirty, and although I could clearly see the woman inside, tidying up, and she could see me, she would not open the door. I tried to indicate that I was seeking the amphitheatre, thinking that perhaps it was the mention of Merlin that caused these people to shut their doors and windows against me, but she would not open the door, nor speak to me, only imperiously order me away with hand-gestures. She had no intention of helping me to find anything.

I continued to travel the twisting byways as the night drew on. Eventually I thought of my ordnance survey map, and peered at it in the last of the daylight. I found that I had driven past the area of the amphitheatre several times without being aware of it. Trusting the marks on the map, I pulled my wagon to the side of the road, and headed towards the trees.

I followed a trail between the trees. I came out in a park, and as I descended the hill, I found the stone wall which marked the outer edge of the amphitheatre. This amphitheatre was smaller than the one I had explored in Chester. It was built into the side of a grassy hill, or perhaps the hill had grown up over it. I explored the ruins that remained, but it was too dark for me to stay long.

Reluctantly I left Carmarthen, for I had seen nowhere that welcomed travellers to stay the night.

Mail comments and contributions to Gavin.

- The previous adventure: Arthur's Labyrinth.
- Visit the theatre.
- Go back to the front gate.

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