Wednesday, June 26, 2019

to Wales!

It's an ambitious day! Traveling en famille, suitcases, stroller and all, from Glasgow Scotland, through a good chunk of England all the way down to a small coastal town in Wales, all by train is, well, ambitious! Still, we've picked up a travel rhythm. The kids are no longer surprised when we pack up everything, when we check and cross check for things left behind, when normal routines are forgotten in favor of something new.

But, some things remain the same. A morning snuggle in a big bed...


Grandma, heading out in search of breakfast foods.

I'm a bit more tired, as I had been tracking news of another grandchild back home who was having a bit of a rough day. I have grown used to this on European trips -- you want news of the day from home, you need to be up when the evening unfolds for the people you've left behind. Updates on my mom (mostly good), updates on the other young family (in the end, good), updates on Ed and the animals (animals come and go, but really, nothing changes there) -- they come late. Sleep? I'll worry about it another time.

I'm also up earlier. We all are. We have a train at 10:40. We need to tidy the apartment and pack ourselves into a prebooked cab. And before all that, we want breakfast.

(The baker is just bringing in the croissants as I stop by "Whole Foods.")


As I pass one of the many pubs that tries to lure you in for an evening of football, I'm thinking -- both England and the US women's team are doing well, both advancing to the quarter finals. We wont be here for the finals. Will one play against the other? (My other thought is -- this may well be my only trip to Scotland where I didn't have that wee dram. Staying in an AirBnB has its downsides!)


The woman at the cafe where I pick up lemon pound cake for Snowdrop and coffee for myself asks me about "my daughter" and about our travel plans. Four days and they remember you. Is it that easy to be a local here?

(The row of buildings across the road from our flat.)


(The row of buildings containing our flat -- ours is the one with the little fake trees.)




Too young to join us. (Nor does this apartment have a high chair.) That's okay: Sparrow loves exploring the floor space!


The young couple, so adept at attending to the needs of the wee ones.


On the train!


(the views of Scotland I love so much...)



(and now it's England...)


We travel first to Warrington Bank Quay (just outside Liverpool). We were to pause there for a quick lunch, but the local coastal train pulled up just then and we decided to get on and be done with travel for the day.


We disembark at Llandudno Junction. It's almost down to a science by now. If you falter, willing hands will help you out.

We made it! Suitcases, stroller and all. No kids forgotten, no sock left behind.

Still, everyone is very hungry. It's worth detouring into Llandudno Junction proper to get some food. Like maybe fish and chips? For some of us.


Now the trot home. The young couple is picking up a car for a few days. Some of us pack into it with our suitcases, onto the next AirBnB, the rest of us walk.

Conwy is a small, walled market town (less than 15,000) on the northern coast of Wales. An initial view toward the town and the 13th century castle:


... and toward the Irish Sea.


Coming into the town itself:


Dinner? At the Erskine Arms, just around the corner.



And now back to our home.

There are many many things to like about this place of ours. It's one of the freshest,  most well tended flats I'd ever stayed in. It's not luxurious at all, it's just extremely clean and thoughtfully put together. Comfortable to play in for the young ones!


Oh sure, there are problems: on the days when the young parents go off on their own, I cannot possibly get in and out of the place with the stroller and the two kids. You need to climb a steep set of stairs to get to the entrance. The stroller, therefore, will be useless.

Still, when I look out a window on these bright days of late June, I see the church and castle, yes there is that...


... but mostly I see a field of sheep grazing on a hill.


It is one of the most peaceful sights to fall asleep to. Goodnight sheep, goodnight you, back home, with all your troubles and worries. Goodnight sun, good night moon, good night wee ones in the little house in Conwy, Wales.