by Kay

In July, Tom and his brother and I flew to London and then took a train to Wales. We rented a car and drove this beautiful country for about a week. The whole of Wales is about the size of New Jersey.

  • Cardiff: We rented a car in Cardiff. David and I programmed the GPS and Tom practiced driving from the right side of the car. We ate porridge for breakfast at the Trade Street Cafe.
  • Swansea: We visited the birthplace and boyhood home of Dylan Thomas. Matthew, the curator, gave us a 3-hour private tour and told Thomas family stories. Florence gave birth to Dylan in the front bedroom. That room was warmer. Her daughter, Nancy, lay sick in the next room with the measles while her husband, David, was drunk at the pub.
  • Fishguard: We visited St. David’s Cathedral and walked the Pembrokeshire Coastal Pathway. We met Michael and Jeanette. They invited us to share their table in the little pub on High Street. Michael taught us about unpastureurized beers and talked about the recent Brexit vote. They like the Great British Baking Show as much as we do. The UK is several seasons ahead of us so Jeanette already knew about Mr. Hollywood running off with someone from the show.
  • Laugharne: Dylan Thomas wrote some of his later works in a boathouse. The coastline is beautiful here.
  • Brecon Beacons: Parts of the castle in Brecon still stand. We stayed in the Castle Hotel. We drank beer on the rooftop and watched the sun set over Brecon Beacons, a national park.
  • Hay-on-Wye: The village of Hay is known for its second hand book shops. Our favorite, down a little side street, was Belle Books. The owner showed us photos of his dog, Belle. She died last year and he mourns her still.
  • Cowbridge: After lunch in Cowbridge, we returned the car and flew to Edinburgh.

The car’s GPS routed us using the shortest possible distance. Sometimes this meant one-lane roads lined with hedges. This seemed not to bother the onlooking sheep as much as it bothered our driver. Tom drew the line at taking the grassy lane, however, so we backtracked a bit.