Wales

BRECHFA, WALES

After Worms Head, we made our way up to visit another friend from our days at Little Creatures, Osian. Osian lives deep (real deep) in the countryside of West Wales. He’s a woodsy carpenter who lives with his sweet Irish girlfriend in a charming and romantic little chalet in the absolute middle of nowhere. The closest village (25 minutes away) is Brechfa which has existed in the Cothi Valley in Carmarthenshire since the 6th century and currently has a population of 300. 

Osian, Joe and myself in the countryside of Wales, 5 years after slinging pales ales in Western Australia. It's a small, nice little world sometimes. 

Osian, Joe and myself in the countryside of Wales, 5 years after slinging pales ales in Western Australia. It's a small, nice little world sometimes. 

Brechfa was opening it’s only pub, the Forest Arms for the first time in 6 years and we attended the grand opening. There are so few people in the village, that they’ve had to shut down the church and the school so they’re re-opening the pub in an effort to have a community meeting place. I’m pretty sure all 300 residents came for the opening night as the place was PACKED. Eighty-percent were over the age of 60 as well, so it was quite the crowd. 

They preserved the steps outside that folks would use to mount their horses (after a quick stop at the pub) back in the day

They preserved the steps outside that folks would use to mount their horses (after a quick stop at the pub) back in the day

They served Welsh ales on tap, the Welsh Men’s Choir sang and I had an absolute ball experiencing a seriously authentic night in a Welsh pub. Everyone joked that I was the only Bostonian to ever set-foot in Brechfa and I was thrilled to be there. 

Driving back on the insanely narrow, dark and winding roads we listened to Willy Mason and then had a big sleep over at the chalet. In the morning, Osian broke out his carpenter tools and the boys carved a spatula. It was the most productive thing I’ve ever witnessed before 11 AM and I encouraged them while lazily enjoying my coffee.  

Heading back to Cardiff, it was a gorgeous warm and clear day (very uncharacteristic of Wales) so Joe and I stopped at the Dryslwyn Castle to take in some lovely views of the expansive, green countryside. The castle has ties to Lord Rhys (a prince who reigned until 1197), changed hands between various Welsh princes (as castles tend to do) and was a fortress before falling to the English Crown in 1287. History like this makes the USA sound like pre-teen. 

I quite enjoyed sitting on a castle on a Sunday morning. I'll have to make that into a regular thing. 

WORM'S HEAD, RHOSSILI

On a little road-trip to West Wales, Joe and I stopped at Worm's Head to check out views over the massive cliffs. 

Here I am psyched to be in a traffic jam in Wales. As a local, Joe was understandably less amused. 

Here I am psyched to be in a traffic jam in Wales. As a local, Joe was understandably less amused. 

IMG_0339.JPG
This rock-climber was killing it/is out of her goddamn mind. 

This rock-climber was killing it/is out of her goddamn mind. 

IMG_0346.JPG

It was windy and foggy (I’m told this is the general demeanor of Wales) and it was beautiful. We got a meat pie, fish and chips (from the "chippy") and enjoyed wandering amongst the sheep and the WILD HORSES. 

CARDIFF, WALES

After London, I hopped on a bus to Cardiff, Wales to visit my friend Joe. The first night was filled with authentic Welsh food (sausage and mash) and ales while watching the Scottish Independence Referendum at a bar that was celebrating the occasion. The party bit was a little premature as by the time we woke up the next day Scotland had voted against independence… but it was still a fun night with Joe and his friends teaching me necessary Welsh phrases such as:

“Fy enw I yw Rachel.” (My name is Rachel)

“Syt da chi?” (How are you?)

“Ble mae’r cwrw?” (Where’s the beer?)

This is Joe. We worked together at  Little Creatures  in Perth and then roamed around Melbourne together for a few months after. Now he makes marvelous videos as a Creative Lead at  Fixers UK . 

This is Joe. We worked together at Little Creatures in Perth and then roamed around Melbourne together for a few months after. Now he makes marvelous videos as a Creative Lead at Fixers UK

The following day we headed to a tiny town in the countryside and toured a coal mine called “The Big Pit” and I learned that:

a) there is not an actual enormous pit to be found there (false advertising)

b) being a coal miner seems terrible

Wales Street Style

Wales Street Style

We weren't allowed to bring cameras or phones into the 300 feet deep into the earth mine (something about magnets and safety or something) hence these exterior shots. 

We weren't allowed to bring cameras or phones into the 300 feet deep into the earth mine (something about magnets and safety or something) hence these exterior shots. 

IMG_0229_2.JPG

Wales is super lush, very green, foggy and full of sheep. We ate a late lunch at a gorgeous misty overlook and tried to trick a sheep into taking a photo with me (this was unsuccessful). 

Later that night, Joe took me to a quirky little bar called Milgi where I got the most delicious cocktail of my life, the Berry Collins. I sucked that thing down like it was Gatorade after a 10K. 

Not the yurt. The yurt was too exquisite to photograph. 

Not the yurt. The yurt was too exquisite to photograph. 

If you ever find yourself in Cardiff… get over to Milgi, get a Berry Collins and you can drink it in the YURT they have in the back patio. A yurt! In Wales!