Day 7: We walked across Pontcysllyte Aqueduct in Wales.
We drove through Snowdonia National Park (we came to claim our land!) and, wow, it did not disappoint. Splendor around every curve.
We stayed in a little bunk hut in a forest across from a lake. I thought it was awesome, but some others thought it was creepy, especially after finding a spider in a bed. Rob then slept in his full clothes, including belt…just in case. They all still not-so-fondly remember it as “The Spider Hut”. I thought it was darling and a treat.
I struggled a bit today with feelings that I’m pushing the kids too far out of their comfort zone and ruining their vacation because it’s not an easy, relaxing time. We are driving and hiking and exploring and it’s often quite tiring. But, If I think of this time not as a vacation, but as an adventure, then somehow I feel a little less guilty.
They are enjoying themselves, but I definitely see a completely chill vacation next time. One that doesn’t include laundromats, miles of walking, and different beds each night. Maybe I was a bit selfish when planning all of this. They are learning and growing and seeing and experiencing a ton, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. At least I know they’ll grow to be hardy travelers. Heck, they already are! I hope that’s good enough.
We love hearing the Welsh language! It’s really cool sounding and impossible to impersonate. We tried and couldn’t get even close. One reason we specifically chose to visit the northwest of the country was because it’s still very Welsh here, not British.
Day 8: We hiked up to a little lake behind our cottage in Snowdonia. Ooh La La!! The views! The hills are alive, people! Climb every mountain, everyone!
One funny thing, we had to walk through a meadow where all sorts of herded beasts roam. Madeleine didn’t enjoy this part. She called it Pooplandia.
We played at Squeaky Beach (actually called Whistling Sands). The kids really thought this was great. In fact, they all said it was one of their favorite things of the entire British Isles. When you walk on the sand, it literally squeaks! This is due to the unique shape of the sand particles. Such a silly little thing brought so much joy. Funny. I guess this also happens at a beach in Alabama. Shhh! Don’t tell the kids!
Cara decided she absolutely HATES the feel of being wet and sandy. She stood here for 45 minutes refusing to budge because of the wet sand that wouldn’t brush off of her legs. Fun times.
We slept in a camper van surrounded by sheep and cows. Luckily, the breeze must be in our favor because we don’t smell them. We woke up to birds chirping and sheep bleating.
Day 9: We tried to do a beach again, but the one close by wasn’t nice so we drove to Caernarfon to go crabbing. This is very much a working class town on an inlet to the sea. Both men and women are pretty burly and not much here is prettified for tourists, so that was kinda cool to feel this side of Wales.
We were definitely clueless when it came to trying our hand at fishing for crabs so a local who was walking by stopped to get us going. He was very broad and tough looking but very kind. He hopped right over the dockside ladder and climbed 20 feet down to fill our bucket with water. He showed us what to do and right away Nate caught a big one. He ended up also catching a small one but the rest of them fell off each time he tried to bring up the line.
Next up was Conwy castle. Definitely imposing. Very nice view. Cara did fine here even though she hates castles. She got through it by talking about how she is glad we aren’t royalty because then we’d have to live there. Besides, how did the princesses walk up and down the small, windy staircases in their poofy dresses? That’s what she wanted to know.
The middle part of the day was rough. When packing, I assumed Rob brought his debit card. He assumed we didn’t need one.
We’ve never used our credit cards for a cash advance before so we had no idea what any of our PIN numbers are for them. One bank let us get cash out anyway and we got a little out thinking we’d be able to get more whenever we needed it. However, when the time came, none of the other banks would let us get money out.
Our internet has been super spotty so accessing online stuff and email has also been super spotty. We called two of our credit card banks and one didn’t help us. The other finally did. Also, doing laundry is so annoying because laundromats are not conveniently located.
Another annoying thing is that it seems like we are feeding these little buzzards every hour on the hour. They’re so hungry all the time. It seems like we just drive, eat, drive, eat, drive, eat. They can’t seem to keep their bellies full!
Next vacation = short flight, one big suitcase, no laundry, easy easy easy!! Although I did tell this to Nate and he said, “Why?” I replied “Because I work more on vacation than at home. If we do an easier trip, we’d have way less stress.” He said, “Yeah, and way less fun.”
At the end of the long day we experienced a tender mercy when we needed to find a grocery store. The one in Maps ended up just being a tiny gas station convenience store. We drove away, turning around the wrong corner to get back on the main road. Lo and behold, a giant super market sat right in front of us (NOT the one on the map. In fact, it didn’t even show up on my map when I searched a couple of minutes earlier).
We felt grateful and relaxed for the rest of the night in a cute little apartment.