St. David’s is technically a city, because it has a cathedral (a stunning cathedral, in fact). But it is a very small city, full of tourist schlock, ice cream vendors and cream tea peddlers (not to hate on ice cream or cream tea). We spent a happy afternoon there, although I think I got the most excited about the bougie deli with loads of local beer and cider and snacks. There was also a restaurant called Cwtch. That’s pronounced “cootch.” That was pretty funny, as was the polite notice on the espresso bar bicycle (see below).
I took a lot of photos while in Wales – which, despite my griping about the weather, really is a fantastically beautiful place. I wanted to share some of my favorite images from the summer.
Our first day in Wales was a fantastic, sunny, perfect (if brisk) day, and I rallied the six of us to a strike out on an all-day hike – one leg of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, or about 12 (surprisingly rigorous) miles from Newport to Fishguard. I would love to go back and do a larger chunk of it (minus the days that take you past the big industrial sections); I think it would be so fun to go from town to town along the Welsh coast, which is beautiful, and finish each night in a pub.
My walking companions were unfailingly good sports, although I think we all got a little more than we bargained for. I have often earned the reputation for being a slave driver and its almost always unwarranted. But in this case there’s at least a kernel of truth to it (but I mean seriously. Look at that coastline! Look at it!)
In July, Ian and I went to Ireland and then Wales with some friends from the states (and some new friends from the UK) for our first taste of a typical British seaside holiday, which involved bundling up to go to the beach, serious sand-castle building, and incredibly competitive couples bocce and sandal-wanging followed by some seriously unhealthy fish and chips, plus some excitement when Ian tried to ford a stream and ended up being rescued by the coast guard. You can tell ts a typical British seaside holiday from the photos because we’re all bundled up above the waist but wearing sandals and swimsuits on the bottom – the triumph of hope over common sense.
Anyway. We picked a stretch of sand and started sand-castleing, but the tide was coming in faster than we realised, and so we dug frantically for an hour and then spent 20 sad minutes watching our hard work get washed away (and peed on by a passing dog). Shortlived though it may have been, its safe to say that our sand-castle was the most magnificent piece of architecture on the beach that day, thanks largely to the quick thinking of our chief engineer, Dom (pictured above next to his creation).
When the castle had completely disappeared, we sandal-wanged (Sandal-wanging is derived from wellie wanging, which I think I’ve mentioned here before. It is a classic English garden-party game involving throwing Wellington boots as far as you possibly can. Whoever throws furthest, wins. That’s the whole game. It’s kind of awesome) before trying the more staid game of bocce, and while the game may have been low-key, the victory dances were not:
How have I fallen off the wagon again? After my friend Georgiana told me she checks Snacks & Adventures religiously, I promised myself I’d step up the posting and recommit to my quest to become internet-famous (it still might happen!) (Hi, Georgiana!). Summer 2012 is drawing to a close, but in 2011 England had a terrible summer followed by an incredible autumn. Since we’ve already had a terrible summer, here’s hoping for a repeat performance! Its a little early for a retrospective, but now is as good a time as any to reflect on the last two and a half months…
Anyway. There have been many things that haven’t warranted a blog post but have been pretty great: a lazy day in London with my friend Robert; a stroll across the lawn at King’s on my birthday (those are my feet on the grass!), many breakfasts of challah and fruit (I particularly love challah for two reasons: 1. its delicious and 2. the cute bread vendor at the market always smiles at me and makes small talk when I buy it). Its been too cold to have leisurely drinks in pub gardens very often, but I have still managed to make the rounds and do some indoor drinking.
The Mr. Kipling biscuits in the photo are so weird even English people laugh at them (I mean, someone must buy them, but no one I know). But I had my first tea cake yesterday, and those are no laughing matter.
The last couple weeks have been dedicated to having All The Fun: Oxford, the Cotswalds, Ireland, and now Wales. I’m racking up an impressive number of photos and am lucky to have blog collaborators/partners in crime (beyond my stoic, long-suffering husband) to do things like march 12 miles along the Welsh coast. The photo below is about 10 miles in, during our banana break. Its all just nauseatingly beautiful.
Realistically, I will probably not post until we get home this weekend. Try not to miss me too much, and know that I’ll be back with all sorts of good posts in August.
The best part about living in England is also sometimes the most frustrating and overwhelming: there is so much to explore its sometimes hard to know where to start. Europe is so easy to get to (I can take the train to Switzerland, for crying out loud. I can buy a $22 flight to Ireland. Morocco is a frequent holiday spot for Brits. I mean seriously). But the number of amazing travel options can be paralyzing: when you have an entire unexplored continent at your fingertips, how do you choose?
So I’ve decided that I’m going to start proposing vacations here, so I’ll have a backlog of good ideas the next time I decide to go somewhere. I’m starting with the UK because I just discovered a company that sold me on the name alone: The Dapper Camping Club, a “luxury camping experience” in Wales.
It turns out that luxury camping is a thing. It is also known “glamping” (I’m not making this up).
This is just one of many luxury camping opportunities in the UK. Yurts and tipis are very popular; there are at least two companies offering geodesic domes; and there are a few bona fide tree house options, as well:
Most are located in fairly rural areas, with hiking and outdoor activities nearby.
Sign me up please and thank you.