ISLANDS editor Robert Stephens and photographer Jon Whittle filed this latest Dispatch from their trip through Wales.
Confession time. I've lost count of how many pub doors we've passed through. It's not a big deal, really, because pubs in Wales are as common as Starbucks in the States. Each one is small and has its own local beer selection. Not like deciding between Coors and Michelob. But of all the limb-inspired pubs along the route (The Watermans Arms, The Huntsmans Arms, The Farmers Arms, Trewern Arms), the most memorable is this one in Cwm Gwyne: Bessie's. That's Bessie herself, snoozing in a chair by the door. And what you see here is the definition of a traditional pub - an old parlor in a 150-year-old house where maybe 10 farmers sit on uncomfortable chairs in a semi-circle of and talk about what's going on. You have two choices, pint or half pint. The beer brand is a mystery. So is getting here. Our directions were something like, "Turn left onto 'the lane' and go up to the big rock. Turn left. Keep going until you see the cattle pen. It's right there. Watch out for sheep in the lane." And don't disturb Bessie.
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