The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 23, Betws-y-Coed, Wales to Yr Hafan, Porthgain, Wales

Saturday, May 23, Day 109 - Betws-y-Coed, Wales to Yr Hafan, Porthgain, Wales

One should be a little suspicious when the GPS says the next destination on this odyssey is only 135 miles down the road but that it will take 3:45 to get there! OK, after checking we confirm that there are no ferries or known wait times. Something must be wrong with the little electronic marvel.

Carolyn fixes our usual breakfast...the Co-operative, a chain grocery has a wonderful bakery... and makes our picnic lunch. Then we clean up our lodgings (we want to be able to come back here in the future), load the car and bid Wendy and Geoffrey a farewell about 11AM. We have enjoyed them, their constant stream of friends, especially John. and their beautiful property. 

We begin our journey by stopping in Betws-y-Coed so Carolyn can toss a few shops and take pictures of Swallow Falls while Dick grumbles!

Dick shows Carolyn the map thrown up by the GPS and gets her approval of the route. So, when we are about 15 minutes down the road and she starts questioning where the GPS is taking us and why is it going that way, etc., Dick has a minor meltdown. Steam released, we move on down the road in silence. Carolyn doesn’t have a paper map to follow, a big mistake, and she won’t make it again! The road signs in Wales are not too helpful as to where the road goes.

We are basically following the crooked A437 down toward Fishguard, the port for the ferry to Dublin. This is the first day of a three day "Bank Holiday" and the roads are filled with campers, caravans (trailers and small RV’s to us Yanks), cars, motorcycles and the ever present and inconsiderate bicycles. It is Dick’s opinion that if a few of them were run off the road, it might induce them to ride single file and let backed up traffic pass by pulling off the road every now and again. As it is, they are allowed to back up traffic and slow the world down as they see fit. "If Dick were King, ...............!" Anyway, we work our way from the mountainous Snowdonia area to the rolling hills and small harbors along the southern coast.

Three hours into our 3:45 trip, we are about half way as mileage goes so we pull over for a bite to eat and a leg stretch.

Then back into the traffic and we finally arrive at Fishguard. The approach to this coastal village is down a wide, four-lane road with a new surface; one of the best road stretches of the day. At the bottom of the hill, the road becomes one-lane as it turns a hard 90 degrees right and passes between two houses; one could reach out and touch each house! Traffic comes to a screeching halt as the two-way traffic also has to negotiate a one-lane bridge and then a 50 yard stretch on one-lane street before widening out again. Now, mind you, this is a major, coastal, north-south highway in this part of the world. Insanity!! We later learn from our hostess that a few days ago a big truck got stuck in the right angle turn between the two houses and blocked the road all day while they figured out how to get it moved!  And, for good measure, this one-lane stretch floods at extreme high tides; 3-4 times a year!

Once through, we miss a turn but correct that quickly and then are led off onto increasingly narrow farm lanes until the "trusty" GPS plops us at the gate to our new home exactly 4:25 after staring out. Allowing for our picnic stop and the shopping stop, it called it right on. But, Carolyn still does not trust it!

The place we are now staying is known as Yr Hafan or "The Haven" and is a 200 plus year old historic property in the Penbrokeshire Coast National Park. Our hosts bought it as a derelict property in 2007 and took two years to restore it and turn it into this beautiful spot. Our room is a large bedroom and sitting area combined with a large bath.

No cooking facilities here so we will have to go out to dinner and we have reservations for each night at one of the seafood places down the road in the little harbor of Porthgain.

After unloading we sit for awhile out in the yard and enjoy the bright sunny day and view of the village of Trefin and the sea. We have 7:30PM reservations but we are hungry so we head into Porthgain at 7:00PM and hope they can seat us early. We are in luck and our table waits.

The Sloop Inn is very informal and very busy on this Saturday evening. Fortunately, our table is inside the old inn by the bar as it is on the verge of cold outside and a breeze is blowing to boot. You sit down, look at the menu and then go and order at the bar. You pay when you place your order. There is a big sign that proclaims, "NO TABS!" which is very pushy for an English sign but, hey, this is Wales.

Dick has a whole Dover Sole with new potatoes, asparagus and a pint of Guinness while Carolyn has a hamburger with an on-tap lemonade with "a slice and cubes." The sole is excellent but Carolyn does not think her burger is done enough so Dick eats what she doesn’t and pronounces it good. We each have a serving of Bread and Butter Pudding with Vanilla Sauce. This meal costs £45.50 or about $72US. We told you food is expensive here!!

After dinner we explore the village a little. It was once an active mining town with a working harbor, but now only small boats use the harbor.

On our way home, we stop at an old mill in a cove near Trefin and take some sunset pictures and then check out a local craft fair that will be open tomorrow.

It is pushing 9PM by now and the sun sets here at 9:21PM. It is time for a hot shower and a good night’s rest. Tomorrow is Sunday and we have no particular plans.

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