Friday, 28 November 2008

St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales

St Davids is Britain's smallest city, perched right on the edge of the ocean at the westernmost peninsula of Pembrokeshire. It is a city by virtue of having a spectacular cathedral, which would dominate the whole area if it were not located down in a little valley. Next to the cathedral is an equally splendid but somewhat more ruinous Bishops Palace. I will post pictures of these places separately. Although it is a city, it is quite a small place and feels like a small town or even a large village. The streets in the town centre are small, and ahve character, as most of the hosues are old. This street sign sums the whole place up for me - it is written in the two iofficial languages of Wales - Welsh & English. It is about religion, which is why St Davids exists, and it tells you that it is a city.

Many many visitors come to St Davids each year, and the small town can get very crowded, with places to park cars very hard to find. there are many interesting small gift shops and galleries, and lovely places to eat and drink. I had a fantastic meal in a small restaurant called 'Cwtch' a couple of nights ago, it's right up there in my top 20 places with great food and lovely atmosphere. 'Cwtch' is the Welsh word for a cuddle or a hug, or a 'safe place', or even a small place or hideaway hole to store things safely, like a cupboard under the stairs...

The city is surrouinded by beautiful countryside, and the quality of light in pembriokeshire is such that artists have been flocking to the area for years to capture it in paintings and photgraphs (which is why the town is full of galleries!).

The city is within the boundaries of the Pembriokeshire Coast National Park, andt the PCNP have just built a new visitior centre, called 'Oriel y Parc' (which translates as 'Gallery of the park') on the edge of the city. It has a lovely (if slightly shambolically run) cafe, two galleries filled with artwork form the Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum of Wales, displays, a shop and a tourist information centre. It's also a unique building, as you can see from the picture above. In between Oriel y Parc and the town centre, there is a new sone circle sculpture, seen below. Wales has many stone circles - some built by onknown people in the dim and distant past, soem built more recently as evidence that an Eisteddfod was held in this place. Eisteddfodau are annual festivals of Welsh culture, which are held in a different location each year.

I came across this beautiful door knocker whilst wandering, and saw the characterful ciottage door below in a neighbouring street.

And then I came upon a little mysetery - the mystery of the ladybirds. I saw one or two decorating a wall in a small lane between streets.

And some more adorning a garden gate....

And when I turned the corner into the street at the top of the lane, they were evident on several houses...

And finally, there was this spectacular display, which turned out to be on the home of the artist whose whim it had been to add ladybirds to the neighbourhood. They made me smile, and added a little character to this part of the city.

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