The last folks to visit us in Worcester were already seasoned travelers. Kim Jirik accompanied me as a chaperone on several european student tours in the 90’s. John Jirik moved about and lived in several countries as the son of a military man. During their visit they rode the rails and returned to John’s former home and primary school in Cheltenham. Other solo outings included Bath and Oxford.
Kim and John joined us for day trips to Ludlow and Hereford as well as an excursion to the Welsh coast. We rented an automatic Toyota and for 3 days John drove on the left side of the road, meeting the challenges of countless roundabouts, narrow and twisting country roads, slow-moving farm equipment, parked cars in small villages forcing single lane traffic, unfamiliar road signs, and road construction. We (and the Toyota) returned to Worcester, unscathed!
During our holiday in Wales we set up “home” in a charming, self-accommodating cottage in Star, a hamlet not far from Cardigan. We enjoyed homemade, hearty breakfasts and gourmet dinners while listening to the small stream that powered the former mill.
Our coastal journey to Wales took us to Pembrokeshire, specifically the coastal cities of St. Dogmael’s and St. David’s. We took off our shoes and strolled along Pebble Beach, soaking in the sun and the waves. The following day we hiked the coastal paths leading up to Dinas Head for an unforgettable view. The weather was lovely! So sunny and warm, in fact, I went looking for sunscreen and a hat.
The city of St. Dogmael’s is famous for the 12th century ruins of St. Dogmael’s Abbey. We scrambled over rock foundations and under arches to better appreciate the size and scope of this massive site. The adjoining, more modern church is a showcase of several standing stones, one reputed to hold the oldest known example of Welsh writing. This city is more than just abbeys and stones. We’d also like to point out we had the most FABULOUS fish and chip lunch at a shop called Bowen’s.
While the cities were lovely it was the coastline that literally took our breath away. Well-maintained and well-traveled paths stretch for mile after mile along the Pembrokeshire Coast. Indeed this type of hiking is not for the faint of heart. The paths are steep and there are very few handrails. But the views, oh those views!!!!!
Having access to a vehicle made it quite easy to visit the out-of-the-way jewels like Cilgerran Castle! This 13th century ruin stands guard over the River Teifi. We parked the car at the river’s edge and hiked up a footpath through a lush forest to reach the castle.