Monday 5 January 2015


Happy New Year's people. Another year, another holiday season behind us…are you as tired as I am? Yes, I am back in the land of the living, and somewhat ready to face another year (although when traveling with children, one is never vacationing, one is on a ‘trip’). This holiday, like many before, we went to Wales for a little country retreat. Our main goal for going is to breathe clean air, be as remote as possible (although I’m reevaluating this decision) and give the King a taste of non-city life. And usually our mission is definitely accomplished. 

We usually rent somewhere in North Wales near Snowdownia. If you haven’t been, it’s worth the trek, I can assure you. What you can expect from said surroundings….rolling hills, snow capped mountains, Welsh cakes (yum), a ton of sheep and road signs you can’t decipher for the life of you. The Welsh language is an utter mystery to me and appears to have more consonants in a word than the Polish language. Which is a hard feat. Basically a car conversation with my husband goes like this, him: ‘Look at all those sheep...Wow, there is a lot of sheep here….So, where are we? Um….Dgonelllynennnwmetlllen. I think? I can’t read the road signs….Whoa, look out for the sheep!’

The house we rented was a lovely stone and wood beamed house in the middle of the nowhere. And I mean nowhere. It was on a working farm, up a 3-mile mountain traverse with roads smaller than a pavement. How we managed to navigate up there in the pitch black (street lamps are not a Welsh indulgence) is beyond me. After several wrong attempts and having to be rescued by Farmer Rob, we finally managed to find the house. We went up with another family with two kids, and with three kids under the age of 5 in one small house, let’s just say, we took ample opportunity to run them outside like dogs (and yes, young children scare the crap out of sheep). Barring a few hiccups (a few broken glasses, and a potential house fire thanks to the children and their desire to cover the lamps with stuffed animals) we got the lay of the land quick enough. 

What does one do in Wales you ask? Well, we always manage to slip into country life with city ferocity of course. My husband channels his best camp counselor (whilst baking every twenty minutes… the man loves to bake) and organizes our days like a military commander. Then we wrap the little people up like they’re going to the tundra and head out for adventure walks (as my husband calls them; my best summation, the adventure is trying to avoid all the cow and sheep sh*t), forest hikes, beach runs (this is Wales people, you hit the beach in full snow gear not a bikini in site) and food of course. Being Wales, (and being Londoners) this isn’t always the easiest feat. After eating a meal in the local town we decided cooking in for the rest of the trip was the wisest option. Not to mention, the only large supermarket was 45 miles away and of course the one day we set out to do our shop, after an hour drive with kids in tow, we showed up at the market to be told it had closed at 4. Yes, I had a true Chevy Chase (in Vacation) moment when I was told that bit of information.

Needless to say, after 8 days of no internet (sublime), plenty of board games, being well fed by the husband, kids running around like maniacs and fresh Welsh air, we were very sad to return to the city. Although this said, something tells me that the sheep were very happy to see us leave.  

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