James and I spent the last 5 days in Wales. We've been here many times before as his parents own a summer home here but it has been two and a half years since we last went! Everyone goes to Wales to get their fill of camping, hiking and outdoor adventures. Its absolutely stunning, a lot of people speak Welsh (think lots of consonants) and most drive like maniacs on roads only wide enough for one car. The food aint bad--similiar to traditional English food and sheep are absolutely everywhere. If you don't see these balls of fluff--you are guaranteed to walk in their remnants if you know what I mean. We went to the ocean, Portmeirion and did two amazing hikes where the views kicked ass. There is absolutely no way that I could post all my pictures (WAY TOO MANY!)--so these are my absolute favorites and then if you are desperate to see more you can check them out on my Flickr account.

This is one of many views from the cottage we were staying at. The mountains in the background included "Cader Idris" (on right hand side--tallest peak). I had the bright idea to hike this thing and I am still sore two days later from it. The total time hiking this peak (up & down) not including time at the top was 4 hours and I believe its about 3,000 ft which is a lot considering everything in the surrounding area is at sea level. The top was quite a challenge as it was incredibly rocky and it felt more of a climb than hiking. I am not a professional hiker or anything but I have done more than a lot of people. Anytime I ever do any hiking though I am a bit of a wimp on the descent. It really challenges my confidence and I always prefer going up because you can hug the mountain a bit more, etc. etc. It felt great getting to the top though and the views were well worth the pain.

Here is a very horrible picture of me on the other hike we did up behind the cottage. If you look in the background beyond the mountains, that is the Atlantic ocean!!
Sheep!!! (yes it really is this green too)

This is part of Portmeirion (built I believe between 1920-1970). Its a coastal village in Mid Wales that's really strange because its done in the Italian/Mediterranean style complete with palm trees. There are swanky hotels here and they are world famous for their pottery. It has great views of the sea and really good icecream.

Views of the Atlantic Ocean!
Harlech Castle, which is right next to the ocean. Wales has many many castles in order to offer coastal protection on the West Coast from any invaders in the past. I've been to this castle on previous trips as well as Caernarfon Castle.
I hated leaving Wales but it was nice to get away from the stress of London for a few days especially at the moment. We also got a chance to see James' niece and nephew and spend time with his parents. Its amazing how fast the little rugrats grow and I had a good time playing with them and their collection of my little ponies and reading stories. Its a bit of a bummer being back in London but unfortunately nice things have to come to an end I guess. At least we have another break to Morocco in I believe about 6 weeks to look forward to!!!


sherrie said...

good for you for doing the hike! that's a lot of elevation to gain, no wonder you were still sore.

great shots you got here. i especially like the one of Portmeirion. great colors against that blue sky!

Peter Stewart said...

what a great trip! the pictures are fantastic. glad you enjoyed being away from the big city.

Peter Stewart said...

this is michelle, by the way, not peter (my hubby)

Anonymous said...

What delightful pictures! Now I've really-really-really got to go. Soon, I hope. Janene says I must come for the wedding.
Auntie G.

sherrie said...

i noticed you are reading anna karenina. first of all props to you for reading such a large book and second how do you like it? i've heard mixed reviews of the book. i read doctor zhivago a few years back and swore i would never read another russian novel. so many names and they all sound the same. ha! you'll have to let me know how you like it.

christine said...

Sherrie--Anna Karenina, yes I'm half way through on page 400 something. I find myself drifting off a lot because Tolstoy starts talking about some random thing like peasants revolting or something similiar. Its quite amusing though because it really is like a Danielle Steele or Jackie Collins novel--romance, tragedy and scandal. Anna Karenina is apparently one of the staples of Russian lit. I don't know how much more I could handle after this though cause I agree after a while the names start blurring together. Although this book is a bit long winded so far I'd recommend it. I'll let you know how I feel by the end of the book though--my mind could change :0)

Anonymous said...

I would love to go and see all of those sites you have been to. I think this would be my favorite you have posted so far! Maybe someday I will be rich and able to travel to Europe. :) Erika

Kristine said...

Oh I absolutely love looking at all your pictures of that beautiful country. I am dying to go to Europe. For many, many reasons. Those castles are one of them!

I've read Anna Karenina. One reason I wanted to read it is b/c I read somewhere that the character of Anna was likely inspired by the eldest daughter of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (whom I LOVE!!!). I won't say much about how I feel about the novel since those feelings are based on the ending of it. But don't give up on Russian work. Find Pushkin! :)

LucindaF said...

Beautiful Christine, I also admire your ambition for all of your hikes and runs. I must come to Europe, there is so much I have not seen.