As America and France are still closed to us, it looks like we’ll have to settle for a Staycation in the UK.
This time it’s a trip to one of our National Parks, we’re going to use this imprisonment to visit all of our NP’s. So we’ll have to grin and bear yet another trip to Wales.
Two choices of how to get there. Option 1 via motorway about 5 hours. Option 2 drive down the middle of Wales on 2nd rate Welsh roads, also 5 hours and a lot shorter. Go for option 2 as I’d rather drive a dump truck full of nitro-glycerine down rock field than suffer yet more motorways and traffic jams. Oh the joys of UK roads.Well it takes a good 5 hours with only one 10 minute hold up, but 5 hours of driving on these roads built for horse and carts is really no fun. For some bizarre reason the satnav uses its’s initiative and takes us down the coastal road through Aberystwyth – not a place to go on my must visit list.
Arrive at our VRBO. It’s delightful, modern, spacious, quality fittings, comfortable and best of all good wifi. The best VRBO we’ve ever stayed in within the UK.
There’s wine, red and white, plus beer, and basic foods. Greeted by our friendly hosts with a refreshing draught lager.
Trip to Tesco for tea.
Quiet night in with a bottle of Italien wine from the Piemont region – it’s awesome, must ry more of these wines even though in the EU. Try and stay awake through Mosquito Coast, that good wine has its effect and these settees are so comfortable; it’s got Wendy whining on about a new settee again.
Difficult to be positive after such a journey but our rental and the greeting from our hosts has to be the delight of the day and makes it all worthwhile.
Thankfully the National Park is quite compact. It’s only 15 miles up to Solva and then about 20 miles winding our way down the single track coast roads. Have a wander around Solva, nothing to hyperventilate about. Has the remnants of some Lime Kilns, a not very picturesque seaweed infested harbour and a dilapidated main street with the usual touristy grot shops full of STUFF that no one needs but may think they want for a short time – soon to be in the trash bin where they belong.
Then drive down the coast and stop off at most of the little beaches. The roads are single track, would be easier to drive a car through the Kaaba doors, but fortunately there are plenty of passing places. One plus point is that most of the car parks are free for the first 30 minutes. Just enough time to saunter down to the beach, explore, be glad we didn’t have to pay to park and move on.
Finally end up at Milford Haven Marina. It’s been recommended to us but pretty dismal and most of the shops and cafes are shut, not even worthy of a coffee stop. Back home for afternoon tea, followed by some of the beer provided and the rest of that lovely wine.
Some great beaches and and coastline. Very beautiful.
Off out early. Well, 10:30 is quite a record for us. Heading down to Stacks Rock – no chance, you would end up with a 9mm round in the backside or wiped out by a mortar round, the Army firing range is in use. No chance of visiting the Govan Chapel – built into the cliff face – red flags flying there too. Next head for a walk around the Lilly Ponds – no chance car park full. Let’s drive down to Staypole – no chance the road is closed for repairs. Please, please, pretty please get me out of here and back to Park City with its wide roads; plenty of free spacious parking; no chance of being shot, at least not by the Army; good weather; so much to see and do.Yet more narrow single track Roads some of them tighter than a ducks arse. Visit a few beaches and then decide to give up the ghost and drive on to Tenby.
Tenby is a classic Victorian seaside resort infested with coffin dodgers and zimmer frames. To be fair it does have some spectacular beaches but there again we’re not into sitting on a beach. Wendy has lunch overlooking castle beach and then we have a saunter around the town. Been there done that I won’t be bothering going again.
Call in at Pembroke. A dissapoining and tired market town with very little to offer. Aldi has to be the highlight of the visit. How sad is that.Set off back home with a little stock at Aldi call for our tea.
Fortunately the weather turned out better than forecast with a mixture of sun and cloud. Quite pleasant although very windy on the headlands.
Afternoon tea sat out on the patio and then a quiet evening in watching yet more Netflix.
I suppose the best I can say here is be grateful we can get away and enjoy a National park. There seems to be some awesome coastal footpath walks.
First stop St Davids. We’re lucky enough to get the last parking space. It seems that the Welsh tourist industry is founded on the basis of “Early bird catches the worm”. Have a saunter around and mange to get two Oggies – see rant below.Then we drive onto White Sands bay. Lovely beach with facilities but £4 to just park your car for a 30 minute saunter round and lunch causes my plastic to go into a catatonic state – we pass. Drive onto Abereiddi beach, which is recommended in one of the tour guides, another car park that would gives my plastic an epileptic fit – eating Leeks must cause greed. A grey sandy and rock strewn beach – I’d rather pitch my chair and eat lunch in the middle of a mine field. Find a little cove with some “free” parking nearby. Sit and have lunch overlooking the cove and an old mill.
Drive onto Stumble head and then Fishguard – nothing to have an orgasm about. Finally get to Castell Henllys, a recreated Iron Age hill fort built on the exact location where roundhouses would have stood 2,500 years ago. It’s a tad disappointing but I really wanted to visit. There are some amazing roundhouse re-creations and interesting talks from Iron Age villagers.Then, on the way home, to my great delight we come across the signs to Pentre Afan Dolmen (burial chamber). A dolmen (/ˈdɒlmɛn/) is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more vertical megaliths supporting a large flat horizontal capstone or “table”. Most date from the early Neolithic (4000–3000 BC) and were sometimes covered with earth or smaller stones to form a tumulus.. I just have to take a detour to visit it. Wendy gives it a miss, to her it has all the appeal of a visit to the power tool department in a DIY shop..
Then the perfect end to a glorious, sunny, open top drive day as we sit out on the patio, me with a beer and Wendy with a tea. Our hosts pop out for a chat and a draught beer.
Finally, a well earned Oggie for tea. It is awesome. So much better than a Cornish pasty. Filling is tastier, the Leeks are really good and pastry is so much lighter.
The highlight of my day has to be coming across the Pentre Afan Dolmen. Don’t ask me why but these ancient burial sights just fascinate me.
Let’s talk about Enterprise.
St Davids main claims to fame are: the cathedral; because it has cathedral it is the smallest city in the Uk; the Welsh Oggie – Like the Cornish pasty evolved for tin miners, who, unable to return to the surface at lunchtime had a hearty, easy to hold and eat, lunch, the Oggie was born from the same premise. Oggies are much, much larger (hence the name Giant Oggie), with the crimp on the top and a slightly lighter pastry and contain ingredients more familiar to Wales – lamb and leeks. .
As always I love to try the local delicacies so I’m like a guided missile searching for Oggies. The first shop just sells Cornih pasties, not an Oggie in sight, how un-patriotic and typical. Then the only other shop is a delicatessen with a 15 minute Covid compliance queue. But I’m determined. Finally get in and zoom to the distant deli counter where surprise there’s yet another queue but at least my sensors have spotted just two Oggies. Finally get to order them and are told how lucky I am as they are the last two. On interrogation it seems that they sell out most days about 11:00 but haven’t yet had the wit to figure out to provide more – lost opportunity cost. You really cannot make this dozy apathy up. Just typical of the lack of enterprise in the UK. Get me back to the good old USA where at least the mighty dollar, the American dream and capitalism reign supreme.
Up for a lazy breakfast. Chuck all the clothes back in the suit case, pack the food and we’re off. It’s a 5 hour drive whether via the motorway or up the middle of Wales. Go for the scenic route up the middle and make sure the satnav doesn’t unilaterally decide on an alternate route. Slow and tortuous but at least it’s not as boring as a motorway. Six hour and a lot of cussing later we get home. Our roads are really a disgrace. Temporary traffic lights seem to spread more than Covid and sadly most of them seem to be for no other reason than the lights obstruct the road. Does no one assess the need and remove them when not needed.
Finally getting home.
There’s some amazing and really clever software out there but in nearly every case it is spoilt by a poor Human Computer Interface (HCI), bugs and a lack of common sense.