Wandering in Wales

I haven’t done a travel blog in quite a while… I suppose a pandemic and a baby will put a stop to such things! But we got back from a week in South Wales last week and we had a lovely time. After a job move and our first full clergy couple Christmas with a child, we were well in need of a break!

Our friends have a cottage and kindly said we could have a holiday, so we booked the dates for our post-Christmas leave and made our plans. The cottage is Ty Uchaf Cottage in Strumble Head on the Welsh coast. The nearest town is Fishguard but it’s within half an hour of St David’s and Haverfordwest as well.

We knew it was a rural area and great for walking. We have a toddler though so we suspected we wouldn’t do too much walking and we were right! But we love a good mooch around a town and a pub lunch so we weren’t deterred.

For me, the first highlight was visiting Lampeter on the way down. Nathan went to University in this little Welsh town and I’d always been intrigued to see it but as it is a bit of a trek we have never managed it before. And when I say a bit of a trek, after three hours of driving, the words that came out of my mouth might have been something along the lines of ‘who goes to Uni down a dirt track?!’.

Anyway, we did arrive eventually and I have to say that I think it’s gorgeous. No wonder we spend so many holidays in little towns with cute shops and warm pubs! Lampeter much have been just what Nathan needed. I loved him showing us round campus and regaling us with some of his antics! We enjoyed our visit so much that we called in on the way back as well. Nathan even bumped into a couple of people he knew and had a catch up!

Anyway, by the time we got to the cottage it was dark. We’ve done this on a few holidays and it’s always interesting negotiating key safes and parking spaces and suitcases in the dark but it does mean that when you wake up in the morning there is normally a nice surprise waiting out of the window! The views from this cottage did not disappoint.

We spent the week exploring the area, looking around Goodwick, Fishguard, Haverfordwest and St David’s. We ate lots of cake and sampled many a babyccino, cappuccino and americano (our standard order). It turns out that there isn’t a lot open in Wales in January. I think this piece of information was buried deep in my brain somewhere but I had completely forgotten! We did find some nice things to do though. A personal highlight was the Cathedral at St David’s which is absolutely beautiful. I took this picture of Mary in the Lady Chapel because I love how Jesus is snuggling into her.

We had various lovely moments as a family as well. At one point, Nathan had ran a bath for Sophia and she was wandering around as we got her clothes ready. Suddenly she was squealing with delight and she had dipped her monkey, Amber, into the water and she had bubbles all up her legs! I don’t think Nathan ever imagined a time when he would find himself hair drying a toy monkey, but he did!

We also spent a bit of time at various soft play centers. Sophia liked the trampoline park but hasn’t really mastered the art of jumping yet. She also likes the ball pits and she is very good at finding the sit on rides that you have to pay for, fetching her Daddy and letting him dig in his pocket because she knows he can be prevailed upon to make the machine work!

Annual leave is interesting as a Vicar. Are you ever off, really? Yes and no. I came away with a funeral very much on my mind and there was another bereavement in my church congregation part way through our trip. I sent lots of messages and very much felt the pain in the community even though I wasn’t there physically, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. By the time we were coming home I was ready to be back.

So that was our week wandering in Wales! It was great to get away to such a beautiful part of the world and to have such a warm and comfy base. It felt like a long way away, but sometimes I think that’s just what you need.