Saturday, December 29, 2012


Today we have reached Pen-y-Bryn in Llangorse Wales. It has been a chaotic 24 hours to say the least.

It began yesterday when we (my father, my mother, and myself) left home at approximately 3:32, and we reached Dulles airport at 5:00. We missed the turn for economy parking and so were cast on a brief yet hectic journey to find our way back to the correct parking lot. We arrived at the airport so early (our flight was set to depart at 10:00) because my father and I feared the inevitable commotion and lines of the Christmas holiday season. We rode the escalator up to ground floor while bracing ourselves...but when we turned the corner it was completely empty! We were faced with no line when we checked our  bags in and picked up our boarding passes, and the entire area was eerily quiet and tranquil as we made our easy way to security. Security took us only about 10 minutes to get through, but the experience was slightly traumatizing for me as I had two security officers on two different occasions tell me that I couldn't walk through the scanner because I am apparently "younger than 12". Both of them laughed and thought that I was joking when I said I was 16.

From security we went on the modern underground train, which took us to our gate at C-2. Compared with previous trips, this terminal was microscopic, and very quiet. There was a lovely little Sandwich shop called "Potbelly" which was absolutely fantastic (I got the Mediterranean chicken sandwich), and after that there was very little to do besides working on an essay for my English teacher and to walk around the cheap little kiosk and buy a National Geographic magazine. I was also able to find a Maui-Wowi kiosk, where I ordered a strawberry smoothie (which is a delicacy of theirs that I have long been deprived of ever since the shop near my home closed). When the plane finally began to board we were the last to be allowed on, and we were then forced to wait in our cramped coach seats for the plane to begin moving. We were in the far back of the plane in the three middle seats, and I had the unfortunate task of taking the middle seat where I was cramped between both of my parents. The plane trip overall was horrible, as I was exhausted, cramped, nauseous from the smell of airplane food, and angry from the idiocy of my English essay.
We arrived at the airport this morning at around 9:30 am. We had a very easy time getting from our plane to/through customs, and we found our checked baggage very quickly. Once we had our bags we boarded a bus (we were the only passengers) to Alamo car rental, and from there our journey truly began.

In the car I was to sit in the front seat and stay awake, while my mother fell asleep in the back seat. Getting out from Heathrow airport was a bit of an adventure, but eventually we found ourselves on the M4 highway (which is very easy to drive). As we drove and as I stared out of my small window, I noticed how green the grass is in England, and how many lush fields cover the land. I was struck with the quaint tudor homes we passed, and the sheep near the numerous mist covered lakes. It's just so inexplicably different from America, in a way that I can't help but adore.

The master plan of the day was to drive to Hay on Wye by 3:00, and then head over to Penn-y-Bryn (which was only 12 miles away). We were fine for a while as we left the M4 and made our way down the A17 and A 49, but soon we found ourselves so hopelessly lost that my father made an "executive decision" to skip Hay and head directly to our B&B. The whole thing involved an abundance of four letter swearing and accusations, and when we finally reached Llangorse we all breathed a great sigh of relief. Of course, we soon found ourselves attempting to drive down a one lane road with two way traffic, and once again we were tossed into another bout of swearing and near misses of driving off the road. We had to pull into a small pub called "The Castle Inn" to ask for directions, and when we all finally did reach our B&B we all three collapsed onto the beds.

We were perfectly content relaxing on our beds and groaning about the roads of Wales, but soon our stomaches began to roar and we gradually grew increasingly restless. We donned our coats and walked in the drizzling rain to the Red Lion pub, but we didn't like the slick atmosphere of the place and so went to Castle Inn. We all ordered meat pies (I had the mushroom and venison pie) and I can now comfortably say that it is the best pub food that I have ever eaten. The pub didn't have paper menus, and so instead its customers had to walk about the perimeter and stare at the various chalk board menus that were posted about the walls. It was fun at the time, but in retrospect it was a bit like a chaotic scavenger hunt. A musician was to play there later on tonight and he was there enjoying a coffee at the table next to us. We chatted with him about his music and the abhorrent Welsh roads until he eventually had to leave and warm up with his guitar. My father didn't want to stay and listen to him and so we quickly paid and walked back to Penn-y-Bryn.

We are now back in the warmth of our room and have since been showering and reading and attempting to relax. I have spent the past few minutes looking through all of the photos that I've taken in the past few days, and I apologize now as I realize that I didn't really take very many...and the ones that I did take aren't really any good. Despite the roads however I can say that I adore Wales and the scenery and the endless green vistas, and I also love the sheep that dot the mountains and the lakes that stretch over the countryside.

 My grainy, crappy photo of Dulles
 The modern looking train at Dulles airport

 Imagine our's raining in the UK!
The quaint and lovely town of Abergavenny that we drove through on our way to Penn-y-Brynn 
The quaint and lovely town of Abergavenny that we drove through on our way to Penn-y-Brynn 

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