TJ generously decided to use his R&R to come visit me, so I decided maybe he should get to see some sights besides my London living room. As a result, we made good on an R&R plan we had dreamed up but never did while we were in Pakistan: a week in Wales.
After a train ride into Cardiff (and a minor detour due to a non-dog-friendly car-rental company), we drove into our first base: Brecon, a town in the middle of the Brecon Beacons (top). We checked into our hotel, the Markets Tavern, then got the lay of the land, stopping by the actual Brecon Market right before closing time (bottom left). Then, after a long day of travel, we unwound with some Welsh lamb at The Bank (bottom right).
The national park is known for its waterfalls, and even in the middle of Brecon, the River Usk provided a few rapids (top). Overlooking the waterway is the remnants of Brecon Castle, a Norman structure whose adjoining house has been turned into a hotel (bottom left). In the 11th century, the Normans also built a house of worship on the foundations of a Celtic church; in the early 20th century, it became the Brecon Cathedral (bottom right).circular walk in the park. We thought we might have to turn around not far from the start when the route crossed some paddocks, which contained some intimidating long-horned cattle (top left) and some friendly donkeys (top right). After we managed to corral Sage past both (and over some turnstiles) without incident, we skirted a creek as we climbed up a wooded hillside (bottom).
Table Mountain hillfort (top left). As we scaled the last few meters, we were supposed to be able to see nearby Sugar Loaf Mountain, but unfortunately, the fog wasn't cooperating (top right). That didn't stop us from taking a break to survey the valley once we reached the footprints of the Iron Age fortress (bottom).
Crickhowell, the Black Mountain town from which we had started. The seats by the actual fire in "The Snug" were full (left), so we found a spot by the fake woodstove in Britannia Inn. We feasted on a bit of Welsh rarebit -- and the best-tasting hot chocolate ever -- while Sage paused his paws (right).
Abergavenny. While watching a community rugby match, we shared some pastries we had bought in Crickhowell's market. Then we walked over to Abergavenny Market, which offered more crafts than croissants (left). On offer at Abergavenny Castle were views of the surrounding Monmouthshire countryside (right).
TJ and I each picked one last stop as we circled back to Brecon. I chose Hay-on-Wye, but sadly, the many bookstores of the literary town were shuttered for the night. TJ chose Ty Gwyn cidery, where he got to try a few samples and meet the owner before it closed (bottom).