Three days in Wales

This item appears on page 28 of the August 2010 issue.

My wife, Rose, and I along with our English friends Betty and Allan Madden spent a few days in Wales in May ’09.

In Llanthony, located in the Black Mountains, we visited the sixth-century Church of St. David, Wales’ patron saint. This little stone church has ties back to some of the other Celtic saints as well.

Food in the UK is different from what it used to be. The old “pub grub” that I remember from our visit in 1990 is largely gone. Today pubs have switched to offering excellent food in the hopes of luring customers in to eat who will also do some drinking.

We especially enjoyed the Three Salmons Hotel (Bridge St., Usk; phone 01291 672133). We had sandwiches and “real ale” (locally brewed ale rather than brand name). Lunch for the four of us cost £32 (near $48). Over the fireplace were old fly-fishing rods and on other walls hung mounted fish, landing nets and lures.

The Bear Hotel (Crickhowell, Powys, NPB 1BW; phone 01873 810408) has won the “Best Pub in Britain” award twice and we could see why. The darkened heavy oak beams overhead contrasted sharply with the tie and crisp white shirt of the bartender. On the wall there was still a sign with the schedule for stagecoaches.

Full from a large breakfast, we ordered only some local ale and fresh salmon sandwiches or soup. The tab came to about $30 per couple. The hotel, itself, was beautiful. The inner court was cobblestoned, and baskets of red geraniums hung from the balcony. For anyone wanting to explore the wilderness area of Brecon Beacons from a base, this would be a great choice.

Looking back, we regret our visit to Wales was so short.


Lincoln, CA