We're just back from a weekend away in Wales, still clinging to the complete sense of relaxation we had while there. I think what brought the most peace to me that weekend was the cottage we rented and its immediate surroundings. Which is ironic because our accommodations were a bit of a headache to plan.
I had originally thought we'd camp that weekend, but my husband had the good sense of questioning whether it would really be warm enough for that. (He's a smart guy... it rained about 75% of our trip and was quite cold... we would have been miserable in a tent!) I then struggled to find a self-catering property suitable for us. Big Arrow is becoming ever more allergic to dogs and cats and so I'm now trying to avoid staying in any property that accepts pets. Yet Wales is a popular area to bring dogs along since it's a great spot for hiking. I was also trying to stay within a 4-hour drive of our house, which meant we were limited to the Snowdonia area. At the last minute, I booked a small cottage I found through the National Trust's website. (Link to the exact cottage near Bets-y-Coed here.)
We had been quite busy leading up to the trip. Lots of commitments, busy schedules, visitors, etc. Something all families can relate to, I'm sure. I was craving time just with just the four of us more than I have since we moved abroad. What better place to cozy up for a few nights than an old, tiny cottage.
It had a bit of history, considering Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest once stayed there. But more than that, it was extremely isolated aside from a couple of neighbors and lots of sheep and lambs.
That's our cottage at the top of that hill.
If time with just "my guys" as I like to say was what I was after, that's definitely what I got. We were 20 minutes from even the smallest of grocery stores or restaurants. The only sounds were that of the sheep braying and the occasional tractor driving by. We didn't have Wifi, so our cell phones weren't constantly humming with texts and emails. And what I appreciated most was the footpath right outside our door. My favorite moment of the trip was the hour or two we spent one afternoon climbing the hillside behind our cottage and looking out at the gorgeous Welsh landscape.
The boys yelled and screamed as they ran up and down those hills. There was no need to shush them. They found sticks and had amazing sword fights. We laughed about all the sheep poop. When we got to the top, they marveled at how far we could see all around us. There were no strollers or snacks, just the key to our cottage and my camera. We looked at bugs, squished our wellies into the mud, and had no idea what time it was. What parent doesn't dream of their kids getting to experience that sort of freedom in the great outdoors? It's the kind of upbringing we all imagine in our heads when we become parents. If it's not what everyone hopes for, maybe it should be. And yet, it's so rare during the course of a normal week, month, even year.
Our time in Wales was brief. But certainly very, very full of just the type of memory with which I want to fill my life.
I'll write more about some places to see in Snowdonia, Wales next week. Because surprisingly we did drag ourselves away from that charming cottage a few times.
This post is a part of Friday Postcards at Walking on Travels.