So. This may be the longest I’ve gone without posting on the blog. I’m not entirely sure what happened, except life got in the way. We have some big changes (possibly) coming up — more soon on this, I swear, I just don’t want to share anything with you lot until I know exactly what is happening — which really has impacted my motivation and creativity.
I’ll be doing a whole blog post on this topic, I think. What causes my demotivation, chatting about yours, etc. For now, though, all I have to say is: it’s been a week and a half since I last posted, and I hate it, and I’m sorry (for one the one reader out there going, “WHERE HAVE MY POINTLESS RAMBLINGS BEEN, WOMAN.”)
You want pointless? Well, here you go: a photo diary and description of our (somewhat?) recent weekend in Wales.
I’d been to Wales before, but never the coast, which happens to be where some of Stag’s family lives. He grew up spending summers in Pembrokeshire with his cousins, and it’s become a fond ‘home’ for him, a childhood memory he always harkens back to as defining for his life. I knew, then, that we had to visit there together, one day. And I’m so glad we did.
Here’s how we spent our weekend in Wales.
DAY ONE: ADVENTURES IN CARDIFF
“Are you really going to make me take a train at 8 a.m?” I groaned to my friend Rosie on WhatsApp. “From Paddington?” A series of wailing emojis followed.
“There’ll be coffee, a castle and me!” Rosie quipped back. “Your favourite things!”
Rosie is not wrong — and it was this response that saw me boarding that 8 a.m. train for Cardiff on a Friday morning.
Things I learned about myself by leaving the house at the crack of 7 am: I actually like mornings — if I have a strong reason to get out of bed. A brisk walk in the morning also does me fine. And if there are Hash Browns on a menu, anywhere, I will order them. But I think I figured out that last one already…
Headphones plugged into my ears, eyes glazed out the window, and a scant three hours later, I arrived in Cardiff Central, ready to soak in this new city.
After a green tea (pretending to be healthy) in one of Cardiff’s many arcades, we ventured out to Cardiff Castle, Rosie’s first time visiting. Apparently, I proved a good excuse for Rosie to do touristy things.
While the castle itself was, well, okay (sorry, Cardiff Castle enthusiasts), I absolutely loved exploring the castle perimeter, which was used as a bomb shelter during the war. Empty, echoing and dark, we crept down the long corridors, admiring propaganda art and feeling the claustrophobia people must have felt being there. A wonderful exhibition, and worth visiting the castle for.
That night saw us meeting up with Stag’s cousins for a few* drinks at The Dead Canary, a hidden cocktail bar dedicated to — wait for it — The Mabinogion. Legit, you couldn’t make this Medieval-English-Literature-grad happier with a trip to Wales.
*We may or may not have tried every cocktail they had on offer. I kid you not. Every. One.
Needless, to say, I was feeling a wee bit fragile the next morning. Rosie and I crawled out of bed to meet Stag and his cousin at Cosy Club for brunch, bloody marys and ALL the coffee.
Of course, right outside the restaurant was Cardiff’s Pride parade, which — although lovely– literally was like a sea blocking us from our delicious hangover cure. After standing there awkwardly for a few minutes, wondering how we get around it to delight in our sweet nectar, I literally tip-toed my way into the parade. And then did a weird shuffle to get to the other side. Moments like this make me realise how much more awkward I can become, if I really believe in myself.
After a glooooorious burger that cured me, we said our goodbyes to Rosie, and Stag and I made our way to Pembrokeshire.
DAY TWO: A SLOW STROLL AROUND TENBY
Two hours and one near-fatal highway collision later (!), we found ourselves in Tenby, a quaint fishing village right on the Welsh coast. The smell of fried fish-and-chips lingered everywhere as we ambled our way down the cobblestone streets among a throng of tourists.
However, with just a quick turn to the right, we found ourselves alone on a side street, heading towards the coast. Nothing but the sounds of gulls, bells and waves to keep us company. It was one of those moments that makes you go, “Yep, life is great, isn’t it?”
As we were already quite late to meet Stag’s Auntie at her house, we quickly made our way back to the main drag of the town. Obviously, we had to stop for a fudge break at Roly’s Fudge, because priorities, people.
Minor aside: I have to say, I really do not like British fudge. I know, I know, what heathen thoughts do I speak. However, growing up in South Jersey, our seaside fudge was creamy, dense and smooth, like eating butter. All fudge I’ve ever had in the UK is gritty, crumbly and way too sweet. Fellow American expats, have you noticed this? It drives me crazy!
DAY THREE: BOSHERSTON, BROADHAVEN AND SUNSETS AT FRESHWATER WEST
Our final leg of the trip began with a short car journey to see the lily ponds of Bosherston. “And otters!” I exclaimed with too much enthusiasm for a nearly-30-year-old. “The sign says there are otters. I now cannot be complete until I see them.” Why I know that Stag and his family are perfect: they all thought this was a totally normal thing to say.Hiking around the lilyponds was one of the most peaceful, ‘slow-living’ experiences I’ve had for some time. We took our time just gazing out at the water, watching dragonflies dance in the air, soaking in the sun (and looking for otters, obvs). We were so lucky to have complete sun the entire weekend in Wales — a rarity, or so I’m told.
The lily ponds of Bosherston gives way to the coast of Broadhaven — and what a coast it is. So different from the dark waters and flat landscape of America’s Atlantic that I’m used to. This coast is rocky, rugged and wild. Like something out of an ancient tale.
After dipping our toes in the water — and hiking up to the highest hill to get some epic photos — the sun was really blazing down on us. Our walk back felt slow and sticky. Which then made the pit stop for some Welsh ice cream even more refreshing and delicious.
By the late afternoon, we were trekking over the sand dunes to reach Freshwater West, a little cove that Stag’s family have been visiting for a beach barbecue for years and years. It was a full family affair, complete with every kind of barbecued meat you could ask for. Stag’s cousins showed me the ropes of setting up the barbecue, and I quickly started to feel like this is the life I was meant to lead.
We sat around the fire, drinking (soda for me — still fragile from Cardiff!), eating and chatting, watching the sun go down on the horizon.
That sunset though. Honestly, I didn’t even see such awe-inspiring a sunset when we were in Hawaii. The rugged Welsh landscape adds to it, I think, creating an air of magic that I’ve only rarely experienced (in Ireland, actually, which makes sense).
We drove home the following afternoon — only after Stag’s wonderful Auntie put on a very delectable brunch spread. Which may or may not have seen me eating my weight in Welsh cheese.
If there’s one thing my weekend in Wales taught me, is that if If you haven’t found yourself adventuring in Pembrokeshire yet — you really, really should.
Have you ever been to the Welsh coast? Or, more specifically, Pembrokeshire? Or even Cardiff? What did you think? Share your stories in the comments below!