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June 12, 2012 / Stephanie Vermillion

Wandering through Wales

Tintern, Wales

To round out a perfect weekend exploring England and Wales, Amy, my mom and I decided to spend our Saturday evening through Sunday in the small Welsh town of Tintern, situated right along the River Wye.

All my dreams of having a countryside adventure in England/Wales had come true.  With our taxi driver giving us town history on our drive in, the most quaint, adorable and relaxing B&B  I’ve ever stayed in (Tintern Old Rectory B&B), and acres upon acres of river, countryside and vineyard mixed in, it was a definite recipe for countryside perfection.

And the fact that our B&B family’s dog (a Bolognese, similar to Cubby!) just gave birth to five four-day-old puppies didn’t hurt, either.

Four-day-old puppies at Tintern Old Rectory B&B

So, seeing as memories of plush, green countryside send me into nonstop day dreams, I’ll spare you the rambling and organize my thoughts in the easiest, most efficient and perhaps least creative way possible: chronologically.

Upon arriving into Chepstow, we called the first visible taxi number on the station billboard to take us to Tintern, our B&B destination. Within two minutes of the drive, we realized our lucky stars needed a thanking, because our taxi driver not only got us from point A to point B, but he went out of his way to give us a (free!) tour of the entire city, as well as a tour up the mountains later that evening after an incredible Indian dinner. (Yes, stranger driving you up to mountaintop in dark sounds sketchy, but in Wales no one’s a stranger, and, more importantly, we got to see Sporty Spice’s house out of it!).

Tintern, Wales

After driving into the sun shining over an unbelievable setting of mountains, river and grazing sheep, we knew we needed to go on a long, peaceful walk. While I love the city life, most of you who know me well know that – be it “Outdoor Adventure Club,” climbing Mt. Meru, or sleeping in the Sahara– when it comes to nature, I’m in heaven. And, trust me, those hours in Tinturn were heaven on Welsh earth.

On our walk back to town, we stopped by the Tintern abbey, a Cistercian abbey built by monks in ­­­1131, which was ceased during Henry VIII’s reign and is now a site of historical ruins. I’ll go more into that later (with photographs, of course), but for now let me leave you with Amy’s beautiful abbey experience as she became one with her favorite spotted creatures:

Tintern Abbey, Tintern, Wales

When I said Tintern is a small town, I meant it. Every restaurant stopped serving food at 8 p.m., so we had to call up our good old friend Patrick from Abbey Taxis, at which point he took us to the Indian restaurant I mentioned and drove us up to the serene mountainside where wildlife and Sporty Spice live. (Yes, Sporty Spice gets two blog shout outs today … the girls were an influential part of my childhood, I must pay my respects).

When Sunday morning rolled around and it – gasp – wasn’t raining, it was the sign of a great day to come. And when homemade breakfast, jams and honey appeared at the B&B breakfast table, I knew my perfect-day predictions were right. What I didn’t know was that in less than 20 minutes I would be face-to-face with a beautiful litter of four-day-old tiny puppies. Does life get any better than this?

Parva Farm Vineyard, Tintern, Wales

Yes, actually it does, when the following hours are filled with walking amongst ancient abbey ruins and a hike through the Parva Farm vineyard (free wine samples included) that overlooks the entire, beautiful town of Tintern.

Leaving that evening was difficult, and it’s a place I’ll never forget. But, at the end of the day it’s probably a good thing I got out of there, because had I stayed two months longer, you can bet I’d be taking a new little four-legged friend home with me.

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