Go East, Young Man!

Monday, December 06, 2004 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Monmouth, Wales to Swansea, Wales

We finally arose earlier and had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Menus were at the table. Decide what you want and go to the bar and order, stating your table number, and pay. Food is delivered to your table. After breakfast, we visited an internet cafe and the local Waitrose (grocery) to replenish our picnic supplies. Back to the hotel to check out and by the tourist office for brochures. By the time we left Monmouth, it was 11:00.
Following a driving tour in the W&K book, we headed toward Symonds Yat, a promontory from which the Wye Valley can be viewed. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the difference between Symonds Yat East and S.Y. West. We went west, driving up a lane that was becoming increasingly steep and narrow. Finally our way was blocked by the mail truck. At about the same time we were making a severe right turn onto a steep hill, we had to stop for the mail truck and then had no traction on the slick, steep hill to continue up. We had to roll back, involving the left rear tire leaving the ground temporarily before we regained footing enabling us to drive further up, only to discover that the mail truck had stopped, blocking our way yet again.

The gentleman of the house where the mail truck was stopped came outside (bringing a strong smell of boiling cabbage with him), and we asked him whether the view was at the top of the hill. “No,” he replied, “you’re at Symonds Yat West, and you need East.” He very kindly helped us get turned around on this ¾-lane road and head off in the correct direction.
The efforts it took to eventually reach the correct Symonds Yat were well worth it. The views from the top at 500 feet were magnificent. We continue to marvel at how green the fields are in the midst of winter.

Leaving Symonds Yat, we drove to Goodrich Castle, an impressive red sandstone ruin near the River Wye. An interesting tour of the castle included a torturous climb up a narrow circular stairway to the roof.
Leaving the after more than an hour, we realized that we needed to “make tracks” and put down some miles before settling in for the evening.

With Rosie’s help, we drove to the coastal town of Swansea, where we found a room at a Ramada Inn. We made plans to drive to the west coast tomorrow and spend a couple of nights in a self-catering place in Aberystwyth.