We walk on cobblestone streets through a village that could be an illustration in a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Legend has it that this northern mountain town of Beddgelert derives its name from an Irish Wolfhound, by the name of “Gelert“, a dog of medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great.
Glaciers carved out passes for raging rivers, surrounded by mountains in Snowdonia National Park.
The sound of rushing water echoes through a canyon trail of sharp-cut rocks. I take deep breaths of scentless, fresh air in an attempt to keep up with Marilynn. It is a common theme. She flies uphill and I fly downhill. We balance each other out.
Of course, our modus operandi includes getting lost. The bright side being that when lost, one finds unexpected sights that would otherwise remain unseen.
“We appreciate a certain number of tourists for our economy,” the proprietor of our guest house says. “But don’t tell too many people about this place.”
As the summer season winds down, many shops and restaurants have either reduced their hours or have closed. Fortunately, we have natural talents for finding a place to get a beer.
Finding food presents more of a challenge. Just when it looks like bread and cheese from the local general store will dominate our menu, Marilynn finds a tiny restaurant that sneaks us a table without a reservation. The tender, pink, lamb shanks melt in our mouth, along with crispy topped scalloped potatoes.
We would like to stay here longer for more luscious walking, but our future non-refundable hotel booking demands a drive across the length of Wales, to the southern beach town of Swansea.
Quite a stunning, scenic drive, when you can see it.
Often, shrubbery covers high rock walls that line narrow roadways along the way, making the road ahead your only view. The walls present a challenge when negotiating with oncoming traffic around twisty bends.
Viola! Time to wrap-up our final weeks of traveling from the Scottish Highlands, to the beaches in southern Wales, with a bit of luxury (and a kitchen) in an eleventh-floor condo. A room with a view.
We look forward to cooking fresh food, and walking along the beaches and cliffs.
While exploring the largest indoor market in all of Wales, we come upon a curious food called Faggots.
This extremely offensive word back in the United States carries a much different meaning here in Wales. This revered “meatball” dish is formed from ground internal organs such as pig liver, lamb heart, kidneys, snout and tail. Butchers do not care to throw anything away. Tonight, we sit on the balcony and dine on Faggots with mashed potatoes and peas, followed by Welsh cakes, a traditional sweet that goes well with tea and of course, wine.
In the morning, Marilynn spreads Laverbread on toast. This stuff is an edible seaweed. Neither photogenic nor particularly tasty, it holds extreme amounts of iron and protein, and is primarily eaten as a sauce for lamb, crab, or as part of a Welsh breakfast.
All of that caloric intake beckons some exercise. On one of the rare sunny days, we walk on the other side of the Gower Peninsula.
“Worm’s Head Island” sits at the end of Rhossili’s Bay, and is accessible by trail only during low tide.
Our favorite walk shoots straight up the cliffs above Rhossili Bay, to the highest point on the Peninsula.
The more adventurous souls fly and float off the cliffs in the fresh air for bird’s eye views.
On most days, we pull ourselves out of this wonderful condo to walk along the sea, near the bay to the bustling town of Mumbles, home of Oystermouth Castle.
While this dog-friendly town of Swansea does not necessarily steal our hearts, we find appreciation in the different culture and picturesque surroundings.
Our ongoing, complex travel plans to the African countries of Uganda and Rwanda, where we booked a trek to spot Gorilla families, is in jeopardy. An outbreak of the Ebola virus results in official warnings to reconsider travel to Uganda, possible quarantines in Rwanda, and rerouting of our return flight to the USA to specific airports for extensive health screenings. For now, it is one day at a time. Travel is always an adventure.
Thank you, Abundant Universe!