I feel like every time I write about one of my mini-breaks I tell you of how stressed we were beforehand. This one is no different, but rather than dwell on the bad I’m going to start after that, in the car on our way to Snowdonia, Wales.
It takes roughly 6 hours to travel by car to Wales from South East London. I’ve done it a handful of times throughout my life – a few with my parents and once with Sam. I have family in Llandudno and Sam’s uncle lives in Llanberis but neither of us have visited in over 5 years. We’d booked the trip all but a week earlier, so it was spontaneous as ever.
Unlike most of our holidays, this time we weren’t alone. Sam’s younger brother Jess joined us and half-way through our stay his older brother, Chris, and his girlfriend would also join us. Luckily there was plenty of room for us all, as we’d booked a studio apartment that sleeps 6.
We left at 5:30am. I took the back seat, letting Jess get in front to help with directions. I got comfy while Sam loaded the car up with our bags and within minutes of him turning the engine on I fell into a deep, deep sleep.
When I woke up, we were past Birmingham. I’d been asleep for 2 and a half hours, and desperately needed a wee! We made our first pit stop of the day and grabbed some food from Subway (well, at least I did) before setting off. The second half of the journey was just as uneventful for me as the first, as I spent it lend up against a pile of coats drifting in and out of sleep, occasionally checking my phone.
“We’re here babes!” Sam said, as we pulled into the driveway of our accommodation.
Rubbing my eyes and straightening up my outfit, I soon realised the beauty of my surroundings. We were on a quiet, leafy road, with just a handful of houses nicely spread out between each other. In front of the driveway was a path leading to the front door of a converted mill. We were super early but too eager and tired not to at least try to check in.
Unsurprisingly, we got turned away. The apartment wasn’t ready and wouldn’t be for over 4 hours. We bundled back in the car and drove off, aimlessly looking for something to do or somewhere to go. After a short drive we found a car park close to a canal. We parked up and went to stretch our legs.
It was a cold, crisp but beautiful day. The sun was shining and people were making the most of it. There were couples running together, people fishing and narrow boat owners lapping it up on their sterns. We walked for 20 minutes before even discussing whether or not to attempt the entire footpath, which was 4 miles long and brought you out to an aquaduct. For once I was in sensible shoes and warm attire, which meant I was actually able to enjoy the walk and not be in pain or discomfort.
Somewhat energised, we all agreed to stick on the path and not turn back until we reached the aqucaduct. But an hour later and the pace started to drop. We only had 4 hours on the car metre and began to realise that we wouldn’t be able to walk it back in time. Getting a ticket or being towed is the last thing we wanted for the start of our holiday, but we were soooo close! Then Jess, the lifesaver, suggested getting a cab back once we reached the aquaduct and all was solved.
When we did finally reach the aquaduct, it felt like a real achievement, especially for me who is a city girl at heart. I hardly ever walk for that long, and even though I had blisters the view made it all worthwhile.
After a 5 hour drive and a super early start, there was no way any of us expected to take on such an activity when the day begun but again, it was spontaneous and that’s what made it so refreshing!
The hight of the aquaduct was impressive (and scary). There was a handrail on the footpath side, but a sheer drop on the canal side. Narrow boats were travelling through and their owners sat on top looking like they had no care in the world! For me a rail was necessary, but I guess some people are different…
We couldn’t have come all that way without properly appreciating the structure and design of the acquaduct, so we headed down to the bottom to see it from another angle.
We sat for a while, resting our feet and taking it all in. Getting back up was a struggle, but it helped that we had spotted a pub at the top beforehand, as by this point food and beer were massive motivations for me!
When we got to the pub we plotted up at a table and stripped down to our jumpers before looking at the menu. Jess is gluten free, so only once we checked there was something suitable on the menu for us all did we order. I had a burger and Sam had a wrap, but we halved them both and shared because we can never decide on what we actually want.
Once we’d stuffed ourselves silly we got the waitress to order us a cab. It came within minutes and soon we were back in our Audi pulling into the driveway of our accommodation for the second time. This time our apartment was ready. We were welcomed in and showed around the grounds, which were absolutely stunning.
There were two apartments – one on the top floor and one of the bottom, and a separate cottage that sleeps 4 also on-site. We were very kindly offered the option of either apartment, but opted for the top after some consideration (I think it was mainly the exposed beam and open-plan living space that swayed us).
Getting settled in was easy once the bags were up the stairs and in the apartment, as everything was super homely yet orderly. We chilled on the sofa for a bit before heading to the local supermarket to pick up some dinner.
Sam cooked some pork chops and mash, which was delicious, and then set up the fire for a cosy night in. It was a long but successful day, and the next was set to be even better!
Come back tomorrow for entry 2!
Thanks for reading 🙂