Exciting and breathtaking Wales
When we arrived in the UK, we asked around to see where we should plan our first trip to. There are so many places to go, it can be a bit overwhelming! When we asked where to go for great hiking, several people told us to go to Wales. We’re so glad we listened!
Wales was absolutely beautiful. Verdant landscapes spotted with ruins, castles and lakes beg you to hop out of your car and start hiking. So, our first day there, we did just that, and hiked up Mount Snowdon.
Our guesthouse was in the town of Betws-y-Coed (I’m still not sure how to pronounce that), meaning, “prayer house in the wood.” I think you can see why:
The guesthouse was called Coed-y-Fron (“church in the wood”). It was very comfortable and quaint. The garden was beautiful as well. They served a full English breakfast in the morning. That includes tea or coffee, brown or white toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, beans, and a grilled tomato. They also had juice and cereal to begin with while waiting for your hot breakfast. Needless to say, we were well fed!
Both nights that we were in Betws-y-Coed we ate dinner at The Stables, just down the road. The food was excellent, a definite step up from pub grub. They had football, tennis and rugby playing, and one of the young servers kept ducking behind a wall by our table to catch glimpses of the Chelsea game. Then he’d lean back and walk forward from behind the wall with faked momentum to make it look like he’d just been tidying outside. Hilarious.
Our main reason for staying in this town was the proximity to Snowdonia National Park and the summit of Mount Snowdon. We drove over to the car park and found it full so Sam dropped me off and drove a mile down the mountain to park. He then ran back up to the top before we even began our 9 mile hike. He’s quite a guy isn’t he? 🙂
If you ever go to Wales, I HIGHLY recommend hiking Mount Snowdon. It was a difficult hike, I will admit, but there are easier trails that offer sweeping views as well. Go. And if you don’t like it, then let me know, and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.
We started off on the Miners Path which leads you by old copper mine ruins and large patina-green lakes. You walk along wide, gentle paths with incredible views of summit, then you realize, “I suppose we have to walk up at some point, don’t we?” and the path turns to rugged rock and stairs and you begin to ascend. There were a few points where my calves and quads screamed, “We can’t do this!” but I told them to shut up and pressed on. I didn’t go all that way for nothing!
The view from the top was worth the shaky legs and freezing face, because let me tell you, it was chilly! It was probably in the low 40’s, maybe even 30’s at the peak. Buuurrrr! Now, some of you may disagree with this on principle, but I greatly appreciated the cafe at the top of the mountain offering snacks and warm drinks. “Oh you just climbed a mountain? Would you care for some coffee?” Um, YES! The cafe was almost camouflaged into the mountain side so there was no flashy neon signage or rubbish everywhere to indicate its presence. Really, the only reason I knew it was there was because I saw people holding paper cups that contained warm beverages. “Where did they get that?!”
Our one fear about hiking to the summit was that it would be cloudy and foggy and we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the view. At first, it looked like we wouldn’t be able to see much, so we sat down to have a snack.
As we sat, the clouds shifted, opening up the expansive views of Snowdonia. Such beautiful creation. Well worth the hike. These views remind me of the omnipotence of God and make me so thankful!
After resting, we headed back. We took the low road up and the high road back down. We were able to look down on where we hiked on the way up, which was neat to see. The picture below shows both of them.
It was a beautiful hike down, spotted with lots of sheep. Or, “sherp” as we began to call them. They were everywhere!
The hike back down was hard on my knees. (Afterwards, the stairs up to our 3rd floor room about made me cry). Sam and I were thankful that we had invested in good hiking boots before this trip. You definitely need ankle support. Overall, someone in good shape could do this hike without a problem, but if you have bad knees take your time on the way back down. And don’t plan much else for the day. We were exhausted!
During this same trip we also visited the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Cardiff Castle, and Conwy Castle. I’ll post about the rest later on.