‘Llan…fair….gobbleledook.’ I surmised mirthly as I read out the longest place-name in Europe. I don’t think my many years of speech therapy as a kid, thanks to my deafness, could make me read out this. Yes, we were in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. A mouthful isn’t it?
Loosely translated from Welsh, it means ‘The Church of Mary in the Hollow of the White Hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilio by the Red Cave.’ I mean, who makes this up? It’s almost as if you are giving directions to the place! For me, I would have said ‘Once you get over the Menai Bridge, turn left, follow the road and just before you get to the expressway, turn off and bingo, you’re there.’
But fair play to the village, they have made a name for themselves as the place with the longest name in Europe.
Roaring with tourism trade, this obscure corner of Anglesey (as we passed through our travels on this island) proved to be utterly charming and immensely practical. Why practical? I was fit to burst for a pee and the first sign of this village had a toilet right next to it. I’m sorted. Sighing with relief as I zipped up my pants, I stared agog with Tom of Tomarhawk at the many signs that plastered this name thusly receiving brain pain from trying to figure out how to pronounce it.
We recovered in the tourist shop instead while I amused myself whether to buy a teatowel for my mum. You can never have too many teatowels. I should know after the amount my mum thrown a wet one at me to get drying the pots. But again, the longest place-name in europe appeared in every corner of my eyes and my sight became like this:
Rushing out, I heaved a breath on a post at the train station right next to the tourist shop. Oh…there’s a post? And what does a post at a train station usually have on top? The place-name. I stared up and yes indeed, it was the longest place name in Europe.
But this is good. Because this sign tells you how to pronounce it. Successfully, I did and much to my surprise, a woman approached me warily, asking ‘excuse me, do you speak English?’ What? Did she think I spoke Welsh fluently? I replied yes and she fell over with relief. ‘I thought you might be Welsh because you look like one.’ This pleased me brightly. Wait, did she think I looked like that I like sheep in a special way? Confused, Tom came up to me and saw I was waiting on the platform after being stunned by this revelation, and he amusedly asked me,
‘So, you want to catch the train to Holyhead?‘
I glared at him. ‘Get back in the car, we’re leaving!‘
No longer do I want to look like a man with a sheep fetish and heading back to Holyhead. So back to mainland Wales I go.
Can you pronounce the longest place name in Europe?