July 12, Sunday
Whereas Ireland and Scotland can be regarded as English speaking, Wales is English tolerant. That applies to both the language and the people. There’s an odd feeling of disorder that goes beyond driving on the “left side” of a curvy roads barely wide enough for one car. It is the sign work.
All signs are in both Welsh and English, but unlike countries that consistently put one at the top and the other below, Welsh sign makers use a (probably British) coin to make the selection both random and roughly even. Not only are you expected to untangle Aberaeron from Aberavon or Llanfyllin from Llangefni, but you must also scan through these unfamiliar names at full speed to determine which is the English. In a country where finding a citizen with a driver’s license who speaks only Welsh is more challenging than interviewing Yeti in a summer heat wave, the insistence of language equality is akin to a southern’s attachment to the Confederate flag, but without the belligerence and absence of humor.
Sometime during our stay in Edinburgh, we discovered that our travel planner (yours truly) had hired overlapping hotel stays in Dublin and Edinburgh which must mean that elsewhere in the trip, there was to be a night without an assigned bed. This was corrected in a most agreeable way.
Our booking at Brynarth Country Guest House was serendipity on a performance-enhancing vibrator. This impossible-to-find country guest house is run by two youngish guys who moved from England to find peace among the sheep. Stuart is a landscape gardener; James, a hotelier extraordinaire, or as the Welsh would say, extraordinary. The place is spotless. James gave us some great advice on places to eat in Wales, both in the wonderful town of New Quay, nearby, and in Beddgelert, where we were headed next. [I have discovered that the bleating of sheep, whose plaintive cries are discontented and pessimistic, make the most insipid life seem more bearable. That’s how the Welsh have tolerated the English—by comparison with a desolate creature whose coat is hot and scratchy.]
The local pronunciation is not as I say on the video “new quay” but “nooky,” probably a joke on the gullible tourist. Just as Lancaster County, Pennsylvania depicts boys on the road to [the town of] Intercourse, I imagine the Welsh have a similar joke of young people searching the winding coastal roads in search of nooky.
We found a fine restaurant with a harbor view and excellent seafood.
Our appetizers were a vision of more good food to come, a promise well kept.
2 thoughts on “Lledrod and New Quay”
Very clear to me during our visit to Wales last October, was the signs. The difference is that I made no mention of them, even to my wife, who sat to my left as we drove in and out of Cardiff. We didn’t take the time to appreciate the nuances of this unique country. It was raining and damp when we arrived and dark. You guys, on the other hand, took the time to search out sun and flowers, good food, and unique accommodations. Some of the pictures you graciously shared reminded me of Nova Scotia.
There are so many places I’ve not been on this planet so I doubt if I’ll return to Wales, even though I didn’t see it properly the first time.
Thanks for sharing.
It is hard to explain Wales. It feels both inviting and aloof. The Welsh are detached hosts. The tourist is just part of life, but not to be taken too seriously. You are going to leave and they are going to stay. The Welsh are convinced they have the better deal. Probably right, too.