Friday, September 21, 2012

Wales: A Road Trip

We departed Dublin early to catch the morning ferry to Wales. A really good family friend of mine, Jim, very graciously offered to drive Angelina and I all around the country on a mini two-day road trip and show us some sites. Wales wasn't originally on our list of places to go, but I couldn't be happier that we got to explore it. 

The ferry over was windy as FUCK. I have never experienced anything like it! But as fate would have it, I ended up (literally) bumping into another fellow traveler named Mark. We started talking and long story short, he, Angelina and I have all become bros. You'll probably see him in some upcoming blog posts. 

First off all - Wales is absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous.  Everywhere you look there are ancient castles, rolling hills, waterfalls, lakes - like, if Game Of Thrones and Lord Of The Rings had a mutant love child, it would be Wales. Jim drove us through tons of cities, all of which were extremely quaint. We toured castles, walked across gorgeous old bridges, indulged in the seaside, saw an absolute fuck load of sheep (there are three million people in Wales and six million sheep!)  and took way to many pictures. 

(View from the Menai Bridge)

(Caernafron Castle)

Wales has no big malls or big brand name stores. It's basically all scenic, with the exception of the bigger towns that consist of mostly stone houses and a block worth of shops. A lot of people appear to grow and cook their own food, although there are local restaurants and pubs.  We didn't see any clubs or nightlife - actually, we didn't see many young people in general. Everyone is friendly and says hello to each other, and everyone seems to know everyone else. 

I just need to take a second to talk about the native Welsh language, because it literally looks like what would happen if you slammed your fists down on an American keyboard. We went to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll - the city with the longest name in the world. Don't ask me to pronounce it because I have no fucking idea. 

(A sample of Welsh text. Lol wut.)

Being there is kind of like going back in time. In a good way. Life in Wales is very relaxing.  You are surrounded by so much natural beauty and simplicity that it's hard to feel anything but happiness and relaxation. 

(Italian-inspired town in Portmeirion, Wales) 

That being said, there's some killer outdoorsy shit to do in Wales. Hiking and boating appear to be especially popular. This is a nature lovers paradise. 

Jim was the best host ever. He put us up in the "princess room" at an adorable bed and breakfast. We were verrrrry thankful for this after sleeping on my brother's cold cement-like floor in Ireland. 

(Jim and I) 

A lot of people overlook Wales as a tourist destination (" My life dream is to go to Wales!" - said no one ever) because to be honest, there's not a ton to do there. But if you love nature and being outdoors, I could not reccomend it more. Simply put - it's incredible. 

*** 2017 Edit: Fun Fact: Angelina and I met a guy named Mark while we were on the ferry to Wales - he and Angelina ended up falling in love and they're still together today! 

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