Saturday, December 29, 2012


Today the alarm clock went off at around 7:16 am, and my Mother and I quickly jumped from bed and changed. The sky outside was a solemn dark blue, yet quickly brightening to the clear morning blue that I adore in the golden hour. From our foggy hotel window we could just barely make out that the tide was very in, but we both saw a small sliver of beach that extended along the seawall. With the hope of the small patch of sand in our minds we woke my father and ventured down to the beach, but as we descended down the stairs (which were soaked with shining pools of water) we saw that the patch of sand was inaccessible, and that at the moment it was only a small island. I was disappointed to say the least,  and now in retrospect I'm horrified with how dreadfully I behaved towards my mother . My mood was saved slightly as we were walking back up the stairs and met my father, who was just coming outside, and he suggested that we take a short walk. We went all along the short yet muddy path that bordered the ocean's side, and we then dared to follow the increasingly precarious, increasingly narrow path that cut through the woods. My mother was not pleased. The trail was covered with leaves and sporadic stretches of treacherous mud; both of which my father and I handled with ease, but she found to be horrific. It began to rain even harder (before it had just been a slight drizzle) and once we found our way back to the safe, paved path we raced to return to the comfort of the hotel. We changed and rested very briefly, and then went down to breakfast. We had hot drinks (I had a hot chocolate) as we sat at our normal table next to the large window that reached its arms to the ceiling, and my mother and I ordered the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, while my father ordered the full breakfast. The food was orgasmic, though perhaps my judgment is biased because of the presence of black pudding, which is a rare and special food for me.
After breakfast we went into the tea room  and read for a while, which was very nice, yet I'm sorry to say I was extremely irritated with my mother for no explicable reason that I can remember.  We then went back to our room to open presents- I gave my father two converted DVD's of the old family VHS tapes, and my mother gave me a black skirt and a peculiar pair of white socks that I think might be suitable for a giraffe. I became utterly absorbed in editing photos,  and so as a result was not particularly responsive to the outside world. Suddenly however, my father, who had been standing serenely at the window watching the tide twirl and dance against the sand, turned and announced that the pouring rain had ceased. My mother and I leapt into action, thrilled that our plans of going to Borth-Y-Gest might prevail against the weather, and in a matter of minutes we had all changed and piled like clowns into the car. We drove blindly, guessing the way, to Borth-y-Gest, and I'm proud to say that I was a partial contributor in getting us there. When we arrived in Borth-Y-Gest my heart began to sink at the sight of an ugly cove, which might at certain times of the day look quaint, but at the moment looked naked. Boats sat on the sand, forlornly awaiting the return of the tide, and gulls made temporary homes of their decks. I was horrified that this was the place that I had made such a big deal about, but we kept of driving and soon as we rounded the little loop of the desolate town, my worries fell away.
THE VIEW!  There were cliff rocks and islands and coves dotting the shore, boulders that sat like monuments of history, trees that twisted to the water, the faint drizzling sound of waterfalls in the distance. I had my father click the shutter of my camera (I had set it up on a tripod) as I stood and twirled about on the very first rocky cliff I saw, and as I did so a small little audience gathered around me. There was a husband and wife, hand and hand; there was a man with his congenial brute of a dog; there was a woman squinting at the face of a phone. I noticed these people only after I had finished my photos, for as I twirled I was immersed in the beauty of this Utopia I had discovered. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been in my entire life. When we finished taking pictures there we called out to a kind looking Welsh woman who told us how to get around, and pointed vaguely in the direction of a hole in a rock wall that I had seen online. We began walking and I couldn't stop gasping at the stretching sea and the land and the snaking strands of sandy beaches in the middle of the water. For once in Wales it wasn't raining, and there was a patch of very slight blue sky (which was surrounded by threatening looking grey clouds) right above our heads. After walking for several minutes we were about to descend onto the beach itself, when the same Welsh woman as caught up to us and offered to personally lead the way. We walked down a large flight of stairs and across a sturdy, beautiful beach that had a view of moss covered rocks and water that stretched for miles. We walked up a sandy hill and then through a sandy path to a suddenly rocky cliff-like edge, and it was there that she pointed to a small little hole cut into the cliff. Light was filtering through the hole, rocks sat jaggedly in our path, the water crashed violently below, a mossy flat peeked through on the other side. My father and I didn't know how we could get there with all of my camera equipment (we needed to go down a flat, steep drop), and so we stood puzzled for a while planning the best route. The Welsh woman was very kind but at that point she was in the way, which I think she realized as she soon left us with a lofty "Good Luck" and a warm smile. My mother had left us a little farther back as she was tired of climbing the sandy hills, so it was just my father and I together with all of the beauty.  Eventually we climbed down a rocky portion of the drop, which required a few limber maneuvers and trusting leaps, but once our feet touched the bottom we were free. Soon we realized that we were running out of time if we wanted to make it to Christmas lunch in time (it was at 2:00) and so we climbed back up the hill and walked along the beach back to our car. I'll say it again…Borth-y-gest is the most beautiful place that I have ever been.
We went back to the hotel room and quickly changed into our finest clothes, and then made our way down the restaurant to have our fantastical Christmas Lunch. To put it was grand, elegant, exquisite. For my appetizer I ordered the squash ravioli with sage and spinach, and for my meal I ordered the most wonderful goose and vegetables dish that I have ever had in my enter life. It came with a delectable Juniper jus and both my father and my mother made sounds of pure ecstasy when they tried it (they both ordered the steak). For desert I ordered the cheese platter once again and enjoyed my chutney, and after that we all three went back to the hotel room complaining gleefully of how horribly ill we felt. My father and I went outside and I took the picture that I had wanted to take earlier in the morning, and we stood on the beach and watched as the sun (which made a very brief appearance) set behind the lighthouse. We were quickly losing light and I struggled with the settings on my camera, but all in all it was a gorgeous experience to watch the sun setting beyond the lighthouse. After I was finished I then changed on the beach into a pair of blue skinny jeans (I was wearing a dress so all that I really had to do was slide them on) and my father and I then stupidly went for a walk through the woods. The light betrayed is when we were in the middle of the woods and disappeared completely, so we were suddenly walking in practical darkness, only barely able to make out the puddles and rocks and steps in our way. We were looking for a small tower structure that we had seen during the day, but eventually we had to admit defeat and navigate our way blindly back the paved path. The warmth of the hotel was a relief, and it felt extremely cozy with its Christmas tree and lights and crackling fire, and so I quickly ran upstairs to change into a warmer shirt and warmer socks, and then back downstairs to sit next to the fireplace. As the fire spat its embers I edited pictures and my father read his map, and at 7:15 my mother came down and we all chatted comfortably for a while with a kind man named Glywn who worked there and was extremely passionate about scenic views and salmon fishing. At 8:00 we wandered back into the restaurant to partake in a grand looking buffet style dinner, and I tried to take as little as possible (I was still ridiculously full from lunch) but ended up with a rather substantial plate. I didn't care for the Waldorf salad, but I adored the pilaf and bean sprout salad and the smoked salmon. I had a small handful of grapes for desert. After we finished eating I began to feel extremely ill and as though I would be sick at any moment, so for a little while I was very short tempered and admittedly rude to my parents, which they both did not deserve (though my Mother was being very nagging), but I soon felt much better and we had a delightful time. When we returned to the hotel room we packed our bags and chatted while I continued to edit pictures, and at around 10:00 we attempted our first Skype video chat with cousin Ally back in Maryland. The chat did not go particularly well due to the fact that many people were still eating, but nonetheless we decided to schedule yet another conference in approximately 50 minutes for figgy pudding. I showered and we then all chatted for a little while longer, and when the time came Ally dutifully instigated the conference (which I was actually rather surprised about). The conference went considerably better this time and we actually managed to have a few decent conversation, along with also being able to partake in the atrocious singing of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", which my Father was not particularly pleased to hear. When the call was over we chatted for a brief minute and my father then bid us both a merry Christmas and a good night, and gradually my mother and I both drifted to bed. I am extremely upset at the prospect of leaving Wales tomorrow, which during this trip has quickly risen to one of my favorite places. The sheer beauty of Wales is simple astounding, and I can't help but gasp and swoon at virtually every valley and cloud covered mountain that I see. The sea here is fantastic and the woods that surround the valley are just as stunning, and I can't help but love the feeling that the pure silence brings…as though you have fallen off of the face of the earth into a fantastical oblivion. Merry Christmas. 

I was so relieved when we turned the corner and I saw this at Borth-Y-Gest
Moss covered rocks at Borth-Y-Gest
It's so quiet there...the only sound you hear is that of the waves and the wind
The fantastic Welsh woman who helped us
Looking back as we walked

We all agreed that this should be our future house once we win the lottery
Family picture!
The mountain across the way
The wine my parents had for dinner
My parents apparently don't believe in smiling for pictures
The moon at Portmeirion
Watching the sun set behind the lighthouse 

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