A road trip to Wales
John explores Wales and gorgeous Snowdonia on a roadtrip with his family.
When the weather is good it can be absolutely glorious in the UK. A few months ago on such a day it was a mandatory duty for us to take the kids out of the city into the countryside. But where to go? Living in Birmingham is kind'a good that you are smack dab in the middle of England, but all the cool and interesting stuff is at least two hours drive away.
I decided that we were going to drive towards the middle of Wales and see what we came across. However when you are travelling with two young kids you know you are not going to make it too far before they start getting agitated and express their desire to do something other than sit in a moving vehicle.
Not too far past the Welsh border we came across a pleasant looking area near an old novelty steam train engine railroad station where we stopped and let the kids loose. There was a large stream about 100 feet from the station and there was a decent pathway along side the stream where we could walk for a little bit and show the kids how to skip stones. They were more interested in lobbing mini boulders into the water to watch them make a splash and hear the 'kaplunk' sound.
After an hour or so we loaded back up and headed off deeper into the belly of Wales. Until the kids got hungry that is. We found a self proclaimed 'cafe' just off the road we were travelling down and stopped. The food was more expensive than I would have thought and not very good, but none the less did the job. 23.50 GBP for two battered Cods, a kid's chicken nuggets meal and two drinks really does seem rather over the top.
Eventually we came across some dramatic landscapes that one probably does not typically associate with Wales - well, people who are not from the UK anyway.
I'm not trying to make it out like these were some huge mountains or anything but as you can see if you look closely in the photo there were cars stopping at that parking area solely because their cars were overheating! Well maybe only the one in the photo did that because it was a BMW…
This particular area is called Snowdonia and there were quite a few people trekking up the hills here. I mean, all the parking spots were filled but there wasn't really anyone around so I figure that they had all walked to the top somewhere. I would have really liked to climb up there, but I don't think my pregnant wife and two young ones would have appreciated it too much.
We got back into the car and after not long at all we came to the coast. As warm as it was outside I figured there would have been a lot more people at the beach, but I soon figured out why there was not more of a crowd. It seems that all the sharpest rocks that the seas have to offer decided to wash themselves up on this particular beach in Criccieth, Wales. Nice...
The kids played in the surf for a few hours before we started our journey back to the 'land of terraced houses' but it took us much longer than expected to return. It appears we weren't the only ones who went to Wales that weekend as the roads were jammed almost as if border control had started to do checks at the English - Welsh border.
Reprinted with permission of 10 Years and Running.
John is an American in his late 20's who resides in Birmingham, England. He is married and has three children. John grew up in the Boston metro area and left America for good when he was 18 years old on April 8 1999. Read more from him at his blog 10 Years and Running.
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