Long story, but I have a very dear friend in Chicago who is planning a trip to the UK. His wife has been very ill and part of the recuperation is planning this trip, so he’s asked me for suggestions of places to see on a ‘road trip’ (I think as a therapeutic activity for his wife). She’s got a long way to go, so we don’t have a timescale - it’s very much a wishlist at the moment.
So far, I’ve promised him a trip to a pub on top of a mountain, and the Glaswegian next to us at the bar when we were drinking Margharitas in downtown Chicago promised him a pub full of Welsh people singing. (That was pretty surreal - it got worse as my friend started telling me about the food he ate on his trip to Finland, only to find that the two people sitting on the other side were Finnish and were visiting the USA to film a cookery series…)
Anyway! He’s definitely coming here to Cardiff, and we’ll go to Snowdon, and we have family in Criccieth so we’re going there. Where else would be your 'must see’s in Wales? I don’t think distance is an issue (they’re American - they’re used to driving lots). I want to give them plenty of ideas to really whet their appetite (and hopefully help my friend’s wife get better). As I said, there isn’t a timescale yet but if something happens at a particular time (e.g. international eisteddfod at Llangollen) I’ll mention it in case they want to plan around something specific.
Thanks in advance!
Helo Sara - I guess it depends a lot on the sorts of things they’re interested in, but some quick suggestions might be St Fagans, Strada Florida Abbey, Portmeirion, Ty Coch pub at Porthdinllaen, Hay-on-Wye/Y Gelli, Blaenavon Big Pit, Plas Newyyd in Llangollen, Ffestiniog/Welsh Highland Railways - but probably John Davies book “Wales: the 100 places to see before you die”/“Cymru: y 100 lle i’w gweld cyn marw” will have some good ideas.
Hwyl fawr, John
PS Of course, there’s a good chance there’ll be at least a local Eisteddfod happening somewhere
When some American friends came to visit me on Gower, to my surprise, the thing which most amazed them and had them taking photographs were our roads! The first thing that caused a problem on their arrival in UK was the fact that they had not thought to specify an automatic car. Only one of them could actually drive with gears, so they couldn’t share the burden. When they found that, on Gower, many roads are only single-track with passing places, they were out taking pictures to send to the USA, of their ‘little British hire car’ filling up the entire width of the road! Add the winding nature of most of the roads and even the 2 lane ones seemed exciting to them! I am not suggesting that you send them all over Gower, although it has beauty, archaeology and charm, but be sure to warn them about gears and narrow winding lanes! The worst I met were actually in mid-Wales and Scotland!
Some fantastic ideas, John - thanks. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what they want to see either, but I’m just hoping to dangle a load of different tempting things in front of them (a) as therapeutic encouragement to my friend’s wife, and (b) to get them over here (as it would be so brilliant to be able to spend more time with them).
The JD book is a brilliant idea! I’m knitting some ‘get well’ socks, and I was going to post them off with a package of other Welsh goodies, so perhaps I could put a copy of the book in as well (if it’s not too heavy…)
Good point! They are both very well travelled, so I’m hoping it won’t be too much of a shock to them, but I will be sure to mention it - especially the bit about specifying an automatic. We hire cars fairly regularly (as we don’t own one), and I witnessed the poor woman at the Avis office here in Cardiff getting a right earful from an American visitor when she had her paperwork muddled up and it looked as though she was about to give him a non-automatic.
If you wanted to send them a copy you could perhaps order it for them online from Amazon in the US or similar - I’ve done that for family in Canada using Canadian Amazon
Ah - that’ll be your famous ‘sense of humour’ again, won’t it?
Good idea, but I try to avoid Amazon wherever possible. But let’s see - that might be the best solution.
No! I want to know. I know of no pubs on tops of mountains!
Ah - sorry - “licensed cafe” on Snowdon. (Anywhere you can get a proper drink is a pub, in my world…)
This kind of wilfully cavalier attitude to a perfectly serviceable language leads directly to the rise of fascist dictators.
closest to the top - highest pubs in UK. not sure how up to date this list is
How about a SSiW pop-up-pub at the top of a mountain, for one day only!
Yes, so do I, but sometimes… An alternative might be Chapters (aka Indigo) in Canada which I’m pretty sure ships also to the US, but there must be others
How about the Book Depository then?
It’s where I’ve got several of my books in and about Welsh from – they deliver to quite a large part of the world, including Germany (yay for me), Canada, and the US – free of charge!
(i.e. I imagine that postage is baked into their prices – which nevertheless seem quite reasonable to me)
One little quirk of theirs is that they (nearly?) always send out books individually, so if you order five books in one go, you’ll have five separate envelopes in your letter box eventually. No idea how they make that work with postage prices but I suppose economy of scale kicks in at some point and they may have custom agreements with the postal service given the volume of post they must generate daily.
The book depository is owned by Amazon, as is Abebooks. I used to own a bookshop, hard work with the onslaught on Amazon so we closed 5 years ago.
I think that Alibris and Biblio are still independent of Amazon
I see, I was not aware of that. Thanks.
Are you looking for hidden gems, off the beaten track, or the usual, must see tourist destinations? Or a mix of the best of both, maybe?