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[personal profile] life_of_glamour
While packing up this morning I noticed some of the art in our cottage had a rather...unusual subject matter. I'm not really sure what's going on here, but the horse doesn't seem into it, and the dog is kind of being a jerk about gloating. The man is...well I don't know what he's doing but I also don't know why the artist thought this moment in particular seemed worth memorializing in a painting.


Today we had to get from Llandudno to Lamphey (near Pembroke), which according to yahoo maps is 170 miles, and that it should have taken us about 3 hours and 41 minutes. Clearly yahoo maps has absolutely no understanding of the roads in Wales. It took us about 10 hours. That's including stops, but we didn't dawdle, as we knew we had a long journey on our plate. Heck, we didn't even stop for lunch, we had a picnic in the car of fruits and cheese we'd picked up last night. Getting out to have a picnic was not an option due to the pounding, storming, torrential rains we experienced all morning long. The rains were so severe that there was no point in stopping for any pictures all through Snowdonia, as visibility was practically zero for any kind of scenic landscape shots.

The rain finally started to slacken in the afternoon after we hit Aberystwyth or thereabouts. Around 2:30pm we decided we needed a stop because neither of us could stand being in the car any longer. We picked a nearby site that seemed interesting, according to our trusty Lonely Planet guide, and checked out the Llanerchaeron outside Aberaeron. Lonely Planet describes it as a, "lovingly restored 18th Century country estate" that "offers a fascinating insight into the life of the Welsh gentry and their staff 200 years ago." The villa was designed by John Nash, and apparently on days that aren't Sundays they have staff in 18th century attire doing period staff-y things like tending the fruits and veg in the walled garden, baking 18th-century bread, and tending the period breeds of animals in the yards and stables. This is not what we actually experienced, as we saw nobody in period clothing. Yes, I'm sure the building is 18th century, however many of the furnishings were not, so the rooms just seemed like visiting your slightly fancy older aunt's house.



The one aspect I did find illuminating was that they had rooms for everything - a kitchen, obviously, but since the manor had been self-sufficient, they also had a dairy, cheese room, laundry, game room, meat smoking room, brewery, bakery, etc. It really drove home for me just how much you have to do for yourself if you can't pop down to the supermarket to get whatever you need. As we were checking out the game room an ancient little man with a Volunteer name tag came in and informed us that actually the National Trust had gotten the room wrong, and described for us how it was actually used (as opposed to what the info sheet in the room said), and then showed us where the National Trust people had put a giant crack in the stone counter when they took over and generally slagged on them pretty hard for several minutes. It was adorable.

Outside there was a lovely lake which we took a stroll around because the point was to stretch our legs so we walked all over the estate. After walking around the lake we went through the door in the stone wall to the garden and were greeted by our escort for the gardens.


This little kitty walked right up to us and asked to be petted and then led us on a tour of the gardens. When we'd get ahead of her she'd follow along at our heels. This tree in particular impressed us both, as it clearly has been growing there for hundreds of years. We think it might be a cherry tree? But we're not sure. Some kind of fruit tree.


Our little guide finally left us to join another party in one of the greenhouses and we moved on to the stables and barns. Again, very impressive in the variety of livestock and livestock handling equipment and tools required for self-sufficiency. Also, there were cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, ducks, and geese.


After that we hit the road again for several more hours until we saw a sign for the Siambr Gladdu Burial Chamber. I couldn't find it anywhere in my book, and it was just a little brown sign with an arrow off the main road, but we pulled off the road and started following the signs to the Siambr Gladdu Burial Chamber. The signs led us far enough off the road down narrow one-lane roads, sometimes gravel, that we were starting to wonder if we were into Welsh Deliverance Country. Finally after several miles we got to the parking area and walked along a path to the Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber - which WAS in my book. And then I realized that Siambr Gladdu wasn't the name of this particular burial chamber, it was burial chamber in Welsh. ALL the burial chamber signs say Siambr Gladdu Burial Chamber, because it's a bilingual country. Duh.

Anyway, this spur of the moment decision was the highlight of the day for us!



Seriously one of the coolest things I've seen.



And after that it was straight on until Pembroke. We're staying just outside Pembroke. We had a little trouble finding our hotel because the itinerary we got from the travel company just said, Lamphey Court Hotel and Spa, in Lamphey (near Tenby). So we drove into Lamphey (which is actually nearer to Pembroke, which we had to drive through to get here, so we got to cruise past the castle and say "soon" under our breaths to it) around 7pm and looked for signs to it. There was one sign, and we started down the road but the next sign indicated that the hotel down that road was a Best Western, and after the last place we figured NO WAY would they have us booked into a Best Western, so we turned around and headed back out to the main road and cruised down that to the end of town and beyond without finding the nice place we should be so we finally went back down the road with the Best Western and what do you know, apparently in Wales the Best Western runs the hotel that was made out of a Georgian Manor House. So that's all right.

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