We set off at around 9:15am for the apparently straightforward journey to Aberystwyth - around 100 familiar miles. All went well for a while and we stopped in Builth Wells, famed for a riverside car park with spotlessly clean toilets. A cup of tea later (we always take flasks) off we set for the second phase of the journey.
Three minutes later “Road Closed - Diversion” blocked the A470, sending us via Llandrindod Wells. The diversion to end all diversions. We set up the SatNav, which shouted in offensive tones about the route. After about 25 miles of following the diversion signage we decided to take notice of the SatNav. We weren’t that far from Newtown - it’s not on any plausible route to Aberystwyth.
The SatNav got it own back and took us along very scenic and very narrow roads (read farm tracks in places) for around 15 miles until we rejoined the A470. We back-tracked for a few miles until we reached the A44 and civilisation.
The weather, however, took sympathy and as we arrived in Aber around 1pm, the sun came out and the breeze dropped away.
What to do at a seaside resort? Find a fish & chip shop. We did and they were really good (absence making the heart grow fonder). It was wonderful (really) to stroll around, mixing (at a bit of a distance) with other people doing ordinary things, taking in wide horizons across Cardigan Bay and doing a little bit of shopping (they re-opened yesterday).
After a couple of hours, we drove the last 30 minutes to our holiday rental. We were greeted by a really lovely host, her dog, her 3 year old daughter, an indifferent cat (typical) and were introduced to goats and sheep, all with names, except for one unfortunate lamb, named “Dinner” - not too long for this world apparently.
We’re going to settle in, watch some TV and enjoy looking at the lovely countryside views surrounding us. We’ve our own private patio and garden!!!
A beautiful morning. Clear skies and a light frost on the ground.
We had a gentle start to the day watching the sun burn off the frost and then set off to Aberaeron - around 15 minutes away. We’d been there back last year, visiting our son who’d taken a holiday rental not far from here. It’s a lovely harbour town where they sell (at a shop called “The Hive”) possibly the best ice-cream on earth (large portions enjoyed). It’s also known for the best fish & chips for miles (“The New Celtic”). Sadly, no room due to ice cream 😢. We strolled around enjoying the sunshine and the views for an hour or so.
Next, we drove down to New Quay. We’ve not been there before. Its claim to fame (apart from massive caravan parks) is the Harbour & Bottle-nose Dolphins that gather in the area. In normal times, dolphin spotting boat trips are available, but they’re not yet allowed. I think they’re a part of the May relaxations.
Our good behaviour with the chips paid dividends. Right on the sea-front a bakery sold authentic Cornish pasties. Can’t say if they were authentic, but they were certainly some of the very best we’ve ever had.
We headed back to our rental for a quiet and relaxing time on the patio. The cats decided it was time to make friends and shared our laps and the sunshine.
Another evening in front of the TV with wine (me) and tea (her).
Another bright, warm (for the time of year) day.
Rural Ceredigion isn’t a densely populated county; a large town has just a few thousand residents, but it has lots of small towns and villages worth visiting. Today we drove a 50 mile circuit, stopping in Tregaron and Lampeter.
Just a few miles along the road we spotted some strange art in a field. Thank goodness for quiet roads; I reversed to take a look. A sign explained they were the result of a local Primary School project called “We’re still here”, investigating the county’s traditions.
We strolled around Tregaron and stumbled across a Craft and Welsh Gold shop. Welsh Gold is extremely rare and prices reflected that. However, there were some really lovely mantlepiece size “sculptures” of sheep. Why not?
Lampeter, home to one of University of Wales’ campuses, although bigger, wasn’t quite as interesting but still was a lovely place to stroll around. Margaret spotted a local bakery with cakes (she has especially tuned radar). Support the local economy?
Another afternoon of warm sunshine and leisure at the rental. The ginger cat’s moved in! Slept all afternoon on the underfloor heating. First law of thermodynamics: All heat flows to a cat.
Tagliatelle, pesto and wine for dinner.
Another bright and sunny day so we decided to travel home via the National Botanic Gardens, around an hour’s drive from Gwarffynnon.
Only outdoor attractions are open, so the Tropical Dome and a few other indoor exhibitions were closed. Also, it seemed that they were catching up with planting so it wasn’t at its best. However, it’s as much a Country Park as formal gardens and so there are miles of woodland and lakesides to explore.
We’d bought picnic food en route. A simple sandwich roll tastes so much better with glorious views and warm sunshine.
In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much, we converted our day ticket to an annual pass; we’re planning many a return visit. It’s just over an hour from home.
We’ve also rebooked the Gwarffynnon rental again for next month. The whole 4 days are well worth repeating.