We left Chester today and headed further west to the Welsh coastline. Our target was Aberystwyth, and when the road signs and place names started to have more Ls and Ys, we knew we were headed in the right direction. It sounds silly, but it hadn't really ever clicked with me that Welsh as a language is still in ongoing use. I figured the places would obviously keep their names, and there is obviously an accent that prevails, but it had never really registered that it was still a living, spoken language. The more you know.
After stopping for lunch, and another stop for Sam to get a green tea, we arrived in the coastal town in what was probably the strongest rain we'd yet encountered. It had been drizzly all week, but nothing too serious. When we got to Aberystwyth, though, a strong wind was blowing off the sea and bringing a lot of rain along with it. We pulled up roughly where the bed and breakfast was meant to be, and I dashed out into the wet to find it. It turned out to be a lovely little three storey cottage that was mostly empty. We'd passed all the returning bank holiday traffic on the way down.
The host was really pleasant, and his wife is apparently Australian. She is apparently eager to meet us in the morning because she enjoys slagging off the Welsh and their weather! They've been married for thirty years, mind you. We have probably the best views we've had on the trip, from the second floor with wide bay windows overlooking the esplanade and the ocean. While Sam went to do washing, I sat there, looking out at the weather, sipping a cup of tea and enjoying the sound of the waves.
For dinner, I wandered around to the centre of town and found myself on the main beachfront. There was an artisan bread restaurant on the corner with a brilliant view of the sunset. The menu had something I just couldn't resist: a red curry, crab, cockles and rocket pizza. I must admit it was mostly for the novelty, not because I was overwhelmed with a craving for it. When it came out, I was right. It was an odd mix. The pizza had the traditional tomato and cheese base, but the crab was marinated in curry and left a spicy tang. I didn't regret ordering it, but it wouldn't be something that I felt the urge to make myself when I'm home.
I had a banana, toffee and cream cake for dessert, which was rather sweet and thus left me feeling slightly unsettled thanks to the jumble of pizza, beer, curry, seafood and sponge in my stomach. With the sun now below the horizon and the clouds rolling out, I strode out into the night and admired the evening. The waves were crashing rhythmically, the sky had cleared, and in the brisk wind I made my way along the coast and back round to our cottage. It is quite a stunning little town, and I imagine it gets incredibly busy in the summer months. Thankfully, I think we're mostly past it now, with all the kids back at school and only the elderly campervanners out on the roads.
Tomorrow is our last day with the car, and our final leg in to Cardiff. After some pretty lovely bed and breakfast rooms and hotels, we're back in the hostel circuit for a while. We haven't been in a true hostel since Paris. We've stayed in other places we've found on HostelBookers.com, as well as private rooms, home stays and more, but Paris was the last time we were truly in amongst the crowd. Cardiff's accommodation looks nice, then we do the same in London and Canada too. When we drop the car off tomorrow, it will well and truly feel like the last leg is beginning, not least because the 28th marks two months since we left.