Yesterday had been a day of rest, speaking in whispers …
Monday, we were refreshed and our chosen destination was Dinbych-y-Pysgod … harking back to It’s OK, they speak English, I really have no idea how to pronounce that but the good thing is it is well-known by the name of Tenby. This was the day, it turned out, that had the most annoyances – all travel has its little hiccups and petty annoyances, some one’s own fault, some not. Monday was our day …
One. Neither of us being good in the morning, it was 10.30 before we headed out to the car, barely out of sluggish mode. I opened the trunk to stow a few things, we settled ourselves into our seats … no key. I locked the keys in the trunk. Oh crap. Can we get through via the back seat? Nope. Oh crap. Now what?!, as Deb scanned through the manual. There had to be a lever somewhere in the car, didn’t there? Apparently not. Oh crap. However, the manual did say that it was not possible to lock the keys in the trunk—??—well, yeah, it is. I climbed out of the car yet again to prove my point … they’re right, the trunk doesn’t lock if the key is inside. Now that’s a really cool feature. I calmed down from my initial oh-crap-how-are-we-going-to-deal-with-this sense of panic and we shuffled off on the road towards Dinbych-y-Pysgod.
The drive to Tenby was mapped at 34 miles and about 50 minutes driving time. Well, it took these two old(er) ladies three and a half hours. Of course, that included a stop in Newgale, looking for coffee, which we never found … Newgale is about seven miles from St-David’s … about 17 minutes … but for some reason we were already in need of a coffee.
Two. I was stopped in a line of traffic at a light. It was just starting to move ahead of me when we heard and felt a rather loud THUMP! from behind. Deb and I turned to each other and said, “That didn’t sound good?!” Oh my, foreign country, rented vehicle, Oh my. Driver One had bumped into Driver Two thus pushing Driver Two into us and effectively sandwiching Driver Two. We all pulled off into a parking lot, Driver One acknowledged culpability, Driver Two was noticeably shaken and had a sore neck; we were unharmed and surprisingly unshaken. Driver One offered to call the police, which I was grateful for because I wanted to be sure we had all our bases covered. I’d never been involved in an accident in my 40 years of driving. Driver Two requested an ambulance. Ambulance and police both responded. Officer completed the necessary paper work; paramedics checked out Driver Two and took her to hospital just as a precautionary measure. Our vehicle had sustained damage to the tune of two slight vertical scratches about one inch long on the back bumper. No dents. No crumples. Thank heavens. We called Hertz to be sure we had done everything necessary, and then we were off again on the road to Dinbych-y-Pysgod.
Dinbych-y-Pysgod, meaning “little town of the fishes” or “little fortress of the fish”, is a delightful town but probably one of those that you would not want to visit in high season due to its popularity with tourists. But in October this quintessential Welsh seaside village was a pleasure to explore. It is a walled town in Pembrokeshire, lying on Carmarthen Bay with beautiful stretches of sandy beach that we had all to ourselves.
On arrival the first order of business was finding the car park noted in the guidebook. I needed somewhere to easily stow the car … easily, as in not having to parallel park, which I avoid as much as possible. Once parked and out of the vehicle we took in the view of the beach and decided to sit on the grass and have the lunch we had packed.
Three. A single seagull joined us and stood just a few feet away – we told him we weren’t going to feed him but he wouldn’t leave. Instead, he gave a loud and long call … it must have translated as “Hey! Coupla dummies with prime stuff over here boys”, because almost immediately a swarm was circling and one swooped down on the sandwich in Deb’s hand. With me laughing at her misfortune, another swooped in, sunk his talons and tried to abscond with my lunch. Enough of that, we discarded the remains and rose to leave. Nearby a woman who had been privy to the scene was quietly laughing at our expense.
We strolled towards the 13th century medieval city walls and passed through the Five Arches into the town centre for a general poke-about. After our necessary cuppa tea we headed car-wards … and found our navigational skills somewhat lacking. “I didn’t watch where we came from, didn’t you?!” We ended up on the beach. My travelling companion recovered and impressed me with her ability to find exactly the right stairs that took us up to our car park. Good job! That’s why she was navigator and I was driver. After a couple of wrong turns and a couple of ‘U’-ys we found the road homeward, leaving Tenby about 5 p.m.
Remember those 34 miles, 50 minutes? We headed straight home … well, not straight because you can’t do that in Britain, but straight as in no stops, and it still took us one and a half hours. We were home by 6.30, just before sunset. I really hadn’t wanted to be on the roads after sundown.
Supper that night was a bowl of cawl (cow·ell) partaken at The Old Cross Hotel. This is a Welsh stew with lamb and a large piece of cheese on the side that is to be crumbled into the cawl, we were told, with fresh bread on the side. And of course, a glass of wine. A fine meal, engaged in conversation with the bartender and the one other couple present. The bartender was not a Welshman and I asked him how he had ended up in Wales … set out in 1974 to walk the coastal path, he said, and just never made it past St-Davids. On departing I asked him if I could have a bit of ice. “For medicinal purposes?” he asked, and proceeded to provide a rather large bag of ice from the bucket. His parting remark as we left, “You can come back and get more … go ahead, use me, it’s OK.” We must have looked in need of that rye and ginger.