Follow in the stars' footsteps on a movie tour of...Wales
Sunday 27 February 2011
Wales is in the spotlight this week, not just because it's St David's Day on Tuesday but for the nationwide release on Friday of the movie Patagonia, starring Matthew Rhys and Duffy.
This tale of two women's lives, which explores the Welsh and Patagonian landscapes, is being tipped as one of the hits of the year. And Visit Wales is grabbing the chance to encourage film fans to blaze a trail of discovery through the Welsh landscapes that feature in the movie, all detailed on a special Google map (bit.ly/hO4kdV) which shows 12 of the film's locations – from Snowdonia to Cardiff.
The journey starts in the capital, where one of the main characters, an Argentine grandmother called Cerys, played by Marta Lubos, begins her Welsh adventure, discovering the homeland her family left long ago for Y Wadlfa, a Welsh community in Patagonia. The focus then turns on St Fagans National History Museum, which has more than 40 original Welsh buildings from different periods. In the film, St Fagans is the workplace of Gwen, played by Nia Roberts, a woman who travels with her husband on an emotional journey around Patagonia.
The next location is the coastal town of Aberystwyth, where Cerys and her young companion, Alejandro (played by Nahuel Perez Biscayart), stop to take in the beauty of Cardigan Bay. Attractions highlighted here include the Iron Age fort on Pen Dinas, which dominates the skyline on the approach from the south, and the Aberystwyth Electric Cliff Railway, which offers passengers views from Snowdonia to Pembrokeshire.
The map reveals that the Ty Newydd Organics smallholding, which offers accommodation, overlooks the farm near Penmachno that features in the movie. And other tourist pursuits given a push in the area include the red-grade Penmachno Trail for mountain bikers and Gwydyr Riding and Trekking Stables.
Blaenau Ffestiniog, the former capital of the slate-mining industry, is more than just a stop on Cerys's journey of discovery; it's also the starting point of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. From April, the two will finally be linked to create a 40-mile narrow gauge railway right through Snowdonia – making it possible to cross the national park without a car.
And the campsite at Llyn Gwynant – the scene of the movie's emotional climax – will reopen to coincide with the film's general release. The site, at the foot of Snowdon, has 400 pitches and stone barns for groups, and it's possible to start a walk up Wales's highest mountain directly from its grounds. This location is no stranger to the camera, having previously featured in Tomb Raider 2 and Merlin.
Whether or not Patagonia is a hit at the box office, this clever trail inspired by it could succeed in attracting more of us to head for Wales on our own journeys of discovery.
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