A holiday with abundant sunshine. This simple thing is a great thing to ask for in this part of the world. When the sun decided to shine brightly on Good Friday, we decided to make the most out of the day. So we decided to go to Cymru. Don't worry. I have no idea to pronounce that word. So I go for the simpler name which we can understand. Wales. Cymru is how Wales is written in Welsh. We had packed a lot of activities in this short, blessed day. The first stop was Tintern Abbey. Before you ask, the answer is yes. I noticed the likeliness to Tintin.
I am not a Christian. But I lived near a monastery for a few years in Ernakulam. The road was named Monastery Road. I remember the friends talking about buying milk directly from the monastery because it was much tastier and healthier than what was available in the shops. Eventually, I equated a monastery to abundantfood. While reading Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose," the association of a monastery to food deepened. Even though I was not able to finish the book, Umberto Eco describes a monastery which is self-sufficient and situated in the folds of a mountain. I was attracted to the quiet, peaceful life in the skies.
My mind wondered and wandered around the monastery. But I was in Wales a few miles off Chepstow to visit an abbey. The train of thought finally rested a question. What is the difference between an abbey and a monastery? I found the simplest answer to this issue with the help of internet. A monastery is a more premature version of an abbey because the latter needs to have more religious dwellers or worshippers than in a monastery.
A visitor to Tintern Abbey sees the ruins of the former abbey. The abbey was active during the years 1131 AD and 1536 AD. It has been nearly 500 years since the way of life ended in the abbey. What was the way of life? Even on a warm spring day, it was cold inside the ruins. In one of the may information boards sprinkled all across the ruins, it was stated that there was only one room where the monks could get heat. As a result, they used it for drying their clothes. Before we ruminate on that point, it is comparatively easier to reach the abbey. Imagine 500 years back. How did man enter this part of the world? What would drive men to travel all this way and live such hard life? Who does the recruitment for God?
While we search for the answers, it is the same man who has preserved this ruins. But why do they want to preserve the ruins? Do they want to show these were the hardships encountered by man? Even for a novice like me, the architecture is beautiful and breathtaking. I may be ignorant about the usage of science in creating the abbey. The visual aspects are what it captures my attention. For a bright day, the light falling on the ruins painted a nice picture.