My 69th birthday celebration in Wales

My name is Joop and I am a retired geologist living in Haarlem, Netherlands. On the occasion of my 69th birthday I decided to give a party for some Dutch friends and enjoy the Wales experience.

Selecting a suitable house was not a problem, as a friend of mine had built a grand mansion shortly before and I had stayed in it as his guest. Therefore I asked if “The Anchorage” was available for the end of May and on hearing that it was, I booked it immediately.

The house takes ten people and has excellent facilities, including no less than four bathrooms. One of these is situated next to the front door, ideal for if you come in wet and cold and need a hot shower to revive. We did not, for the weather was perfect the whole week. “The Anchorage” is situated near a tidal creek, right on the Pembrokeshire coast path. The surroundings are gorgeous, even for a national park.

Our party consisted of eight people, including three married couples. We knew each other from our common interest which is bridge. We travelled from several places in Holland to Wales in cars separately. My route was from Haarlem via Belgium to Calais, in France and then by train car transporter to Folkestone where I detrained and drove on to south England where I spent the night. Next day I drove on to the M4 motorway to Bristol, Cardiff and Carmarthen and finally to Pembrokeshire.

We (all adults) had a grand time walking parts of the coast path to Monks Haven and Dale and exploring the beach at Lindsway Bay. With its lovely cathedral, St Davids is the town to visit; we had a meal at the cathedral restaurant and toured the town with its shops. Of course we did not forget the castles, particularly Carew Castle with its Celtic cross and herb garden; afterwards we visited Pembroke Castle.

Hugo (an amateur photographer) made sure that we will remember all this by means of his excellent photos which were afterwards bundled in a book. Some are included here with his permission.

The evenings we very pleasantly passed on the terrace with the raised flower beds (the Monk’s Garden) which proved to be surprisingly comfortable, shielded from wind from all sides.

Several of us would wander to the creek (Sandy Haven) and observe the difference the tide would make from full of water at flood tide to nearly empty at ebb, when the causeway with the crabbing bridge would be visible. For coastal path walkers to Milford Haven this cuts off four and a half miles.

The high point of the stay was my birthday dinner at Tafarn Sinc, a very traditional Welsh pub situated 20 miles towards the northern ridge of the Preseli Mountains. It was originally a railway station as can be seen from its garden where we were able to enjoy an outside drink. We had a good dinner in the annex (try the faggots) while the pub was used by the local farmers. It still has sawdust on the floor.

All in all it was an excellent stay.

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