A Travellerspoint blog

Travel Day: Tenby to Oxford

overcast 36 °F

Today was quite the travel day! We started the day off by getting up much earlier than usual so that we could hit the road and make sure we get to Cardiff in time to turn in our rental car. Tenby is about an hour and a half away from Cardiff and we wanted to leave a little after 7:30 to ensure that we would make our 10:00 deadline to turn the car in. The majority of our drives take slightly longer than calculated so we felt leaving earlier would be the safer option! We all rolled out of bed and, after a few minutes of packing up, we headed down to enjoy another delicious breakfast. The owner of our bed and breakfast was kind enough to let us eat breakfast at 7:00, even though they do not normally start serving until 8:30. We all ordered the same traditional english breakfast consisting of bacon, sausage, toast, a fried egg, and even hash browns this time! We all ate our meal and ended up chatting with the owner for a half hour about how long he has been running a bed and breakfast and about what his kids are currently up to. It turns out that one of them is serving in the armored division, which is the same one where La'akea served (granted, for different countries). Once we saw that it was already 7:40 we excused ourselves and thanked the owner for a fantastic breakfast before heading back up to our room to finish checking out and pack up the car.

We soon pulled away from Tenby, which was remarkably gorgeous during our one night stay (we had a fantastic evening on the beach yesterday), and headed off in the direction of Cardiff! It was a fairly simple drive but it did end up taking us around 2 hours to reach Cardiff. We had another beautiful drive through the welsh countryside full of rolling grass hills littered with sheep as far as the eye can see. We were fortunate not to get stuck behind a truck this time as well! I was in and out of sleep in the back seat of the car for the last half hour of the drive and I fully woke up just in time to see that we were pulling into our final destination: a Morrisons Supermarket. Lucky for us, there was a gas station right there so we topped off the tank before going inside to where Europcar's main office was oddly placed. We turned in the car, to make sure we beat the 10:00 deadline (we did by around 10 minutes), and then asked if we could pick up some snacks in the store before they took us back to Cardiff Central train station. La'akea picked up a few bags of trail mix while Kaela and I got some conditioner, since Kaela has been desperately wanting it for the past several days. After we checked out we headed back over to the Europcar counter and had a quick ten minute ride over to the main train station.

Once we arrived at Cardiff Central, we weren't sure what to do because it was only 10:15, but our train wasn't scheduled to leave until 11:55. We decided to head into the train station to see if we could hop on an earlier train but it turns out, because we bought these tickets for a discounted fair ahead of time, that it would cost us a fairly significant amount of money. We decided to just walk through the main shopping area looking for small souvenirs relating to Wales. We originally decided to do this because La'akea was looking for some gifts for friends; Kaela and I ended up getting a few things as well! After shopping around for an hour we headed back over to the train station to wait for our train. We got to our platform 20 minutes early and patiently awaited for our train's arrival. Once our train arrived we found our seats with no problem and the train ended up being around 20% full so we had plenty of room to spread out. Kaela napped on and off for the majority of the ride while I watched the Welsh and English country sides flash by our window. Our ticket was scheduled to take us all the way back to London Paddington Station but we got off a few stops early to take another train to Oxford. However, upon doing this, problems quickly arose.

We tried to exit the train station but the turnstile would not accept our ticket! The guards soon saw what was happening and came up to La'akea to find out what was wrong. It turns out, since we had a special fare ticket, we were not allowed to exit until we got all the way back to London! I guess the guards took pity on us and they printed us out three tickets and let us pay from them within the terminal. We walked up the platform and were able to make a train that left one minute later! I guess it worked out perfectly. Once we arrived in Oxford, La'akea's homeland, we quickly grabbed a taxi and headed over to our apartment! We got to our apartment and, after we rang the bell a few times, the day manager came out and welcomed us into and showed us around the apartment. Our apartment is absolutely amazing! We have a sun room off of the bedroom that leads into a fairly spacious (and green) backyard for staying in the city. We all agreed that we have to have a few friends over during our stay to make the best use of the space we have available.

We relaxed at our new bed and breakfast for only a few minutes before heading out to meet Pipa and Pan for lunch; they are friend's of La'akea's from his time at Oxford, yet are still here studying. We met outside one of their favorite local restaurants but we just missed the lunch window! We headed over to another restaurant, Cleaver, and we all settled for burgers. Unfortunately, the waiter mixed up a few of our orders but the food was still delicious! We enjoyed getting to know each other over a delicious meal, and Pan was glad to hear that I played American Football since he plays on Oxford's team, and agreed to meet up again later in the night for a few pints. We took another taxi back to the apartment and relaxed for a few hours. La'akea went for a run, since he is trying to make sure he is in shape for his soccer game on saturday, which Kaela and I are both very excited to attend! He scored two goals last weekend and we are excited to see if he can replicate his latest form. Around 19:00 we started to get ready to head out again. We were planning on having a full "Oxford" night that consists of visiting various pubs and ending with a street kebab like no other.

We started the night off by heading over to one of the more famous pubs in Oxford: the Turf Tavern. This pub is extremely difficult to find unless you already know what it is! You have to walk through a very skinny alley and pass several dumpsters and trash cans before finally arriving at the front door. The foundations of the building date back to the 13th century and the front bar area dates back to the 17th century. Since this building is incredibly old, the ceilings are quite low. Kaela and I could not stand up fully straight without hitting our head! It was impossible. We all ordered a local pint and took it out to the back deck to enjoy, since there weren't any seats inside at the time. Within 10 minutes or so Pipa came to join us and we finished our round together until we decided that it was simply too cold to stay outside at this particular pub any longer! When we left we went to go meet up with Pan at the Kings Arms pub. We decided to head inside and get a pint here, even though it was rather early (considering that this pub is open the latest), so that we could warm up. We headed inside and we all got the same christmas special beer and we had a great time hanging out inside. Pan and I spent a large majority of the time talking American Football strategy and I enjoyed discussing the various intricacies of the Run-n-Shoot with him, since it is something that I am extremely passionate about. After we finished our round, we headed out and decided to go to the next place on the docket for tonight: The House. At this particular pub, they specialize in mixed drinks. Kaela was able to get a tropical drink that was very tasty while I copied La'akea and got his favorite drink, the Sazerac. It involves a bourbon based drink while having the glass washed in absinthe. It was quite delicious and different than anything I have had before. We bounced around at this location as well, since seats at the various pubs seemed to come at a premium tonight, until we eventually found a location where we could all sit down. We all had another great time catching up and discussing various topics that came up. Once we left The House, we said goodbye to Pipa and Pan before heading back to the Kings Arms for one more pint to finish the night off.

Back at Kings Arms we had one of La'akea's favorite beers, which shall remain nameless for the time being since I simply tell him to order another one of whatever he is having (since he is quite the beer connoisseur). We enjoyed our round sitting at a back table and we happened to run into one of La'akea's old friends from his time at Oxford! They causally referred to him as "the Hawaiian guy" since he was the only one that went to Saint John's (and he seemed to be OK with it). A short while later, La'akea's friend came back and informed us that he is currently working at the Lamb and Flag, which is the local Saint John's pub where the proceeds are actually used for scholarships to assist individuals from lower income families. Drinking for a positive change! We promised that we would go visit him during shift tomorrow and, after finishing our round, we headed out for the night and started walking home.

However, what night in Oxford would be complete without a Kebab to finish it. We stopped by La'akea's favorite Kebab stand that he visited multiple times weekly during his time here. We made the five minute walk over to the kebab stand and we made it simple and all ordered the same chicken kebab plate with garlic and chile sauce. Immediately after getting our food we hopped in a taxi and headed back to our apartment to relax. We started watching the movie "Real Geniuses" while devouring our midnight snack. After 20 minutes or so, it became apparent that we would not be able to make it through the conclusion of the film (Kaela was half asleep at this point) and we decided to pick it up at a later date. Both Kaela and La'akea are both fast asleep right now and I plan on being close behind them! Tomorrow will be a full day of sightseeing around Oxford with none other than an Oxford man as our personal tour guide. Until then!

Love,

Justin and Kaela

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La'akea and the "Panda" the he drove coast to coast in Wales!

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Scenic pictures of the frozen Welsh countryside on our drive from Tenby to Cardiff

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Sleepy Kaela on the train from Cardiff

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Our awesome apartment in Oxford!

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The Lamb and Flag...We will be seeing you tomorrow

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First pint of the night! And, historically speaking, quite the location to have it in

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At the Turf Tavern? I guess we'll never know for sure...

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The Kings Arms

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Need to make a phone call?

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Kebab time!

Posted by JK_Adventures 10:20 Archived in England Comments (0)

Travel Day: Conwy to Tenby

sunny 39 °F

Today, we had another incredibly beautiful travel day driving through the Welsh countryside. We started our morning right as the sun was rising around 8:15. I woke up to an amazing orange sky and laid in bed past my alarm until the boys woke up. We all did some last minute packing then headed downstairs to have our breakfast. We all ordered the same coffee and traditional fry plate that consisted of two pieces of thick cut bacon, a grilled tomato, beans, fried toast, and a delectable sausage; all complemented perfectly with a fried egg. Our morning was nice and relaxing and we all just enjoyed each others company until we had to leave. We left our b&b around 10:00 and set off on our long drive down the west coast of Wales. Our final destination in Wales was Tenby, which is a beach town by Pembrokeshire National Park. 

We packed up the car and jumped in to save us from the bitter cold weather outside! It was a chilly morning so we tried to heat up the car as quickly as possible. The drive was just as beautiful as our drive up to the area from Cardiff. We passed through the same towns in the Snowdonia region before setting off on a new path along the coast. The entire drive was very easy and mellow. Once we moved past all of the winding roads in Snowdonia, we had straightaways with beautiful views of the ocean. We only stopped once about halfway through to fill up the car and take a bathroom break. We got to see more amazing scenery and plenty more fields filled with sheep! The entire drive took about five hours total. Part of the reason for it taking so long was because a big truck transporting a portable home was directly in front of us for literally two hours. It wasn't too bad because the truck paved the way for us on all of the narrow roads (all of the cars on the other side moved out of the way for us!), but it also made a lot of stops to let oncoming traffic pass. Finally, after two hours of following the massive vehicle, the driver pulled over to let other cars pass. We felt like we had so much freedom on the open road! 

It didn't take too much longer to get to Tenby once we passed the truck. Justin made all of us some pb&j sandwiches for the last 45 minutes of our drive and soon we arrived at our next b&b in Tenby. We are staying at a cute b&b called The Strathmore. Everyone has been very nice here and the man who checked us in recommended a great pub for dinner. We were only at the b&b long enough to check in and drop off our belongings. We wanted to take full advantage of the few remaining hours of daylight so we could see as much as possible in the cute little town! We walked around the Tenby and went in to some of the cools shops in the town center. La said that the town reminded him of a Welsh version of the Cinque Terre because the town is right on the beach and many of the buildings and apartments are very colorful like the towns in Italy. We saw pretty much all of Tenby before we walked down to South Beach to go shell hunting! I recruited the boys to help me out when they weren't taking pictures of the beautiful along the beach. We came back with pockets full of amazing shells and plenty of pictures of the bright orange sunset. We were freezing by the time we got back to the b&b. I thawed out my hands and started cleaning the shells right away and we all spent about an hour resting in our room. I snuck in a quick catnap on Justin before he woke me up for dinner.

We wandered over to the pub that the landlord recommended called The Buccaneer. We each ordered a pint and some food right away and enjoyed the atmosphere of the local pub. We all ordered amazing food again and had a fantastic meal. Justin and I split a fresh turkey sandwich and a full plate of ribs that came with a baked potato, while La had the surf and turf platter with steak and prawns. Everything was delicious! Once we finished our meals we headed across the street to another local pub to watch the Arsenal soccer match. La is a big Arsenal fan so we each ordered another pint and intensely watched the match. Arsenal ended up beating South Hampton at the very end of the match with a final score of 1-0 (a clutch goal by Alexis Sanchez). We briskly walked back to the b&b right after the match because we were all pretty exhausted from all of the driving and exploring. La put on an episode of Archer and we all relaxed and got ready for bed. La was the first one to fall asleep and Justin and I are tucked into bed now. We have a shorter drive back to Cardiff tomorrow morning before we take a train from Cardiff into Oxford! More stories to come :) Until next time.

Love,
Kaela and Justin

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Collecting shells at this amazing beach.

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Exploring the sweet town of Tenby.

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Sunrise in Conwy.

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Leaving Conwy and heading to Tenby.

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Classic Kuku selfies! We really hand to bundle up today.

Posted by JK_Adventures 15:10 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

Chilly Day in Conwy

semi-overcast 41 °F

La'akea started off his morning much earlier than Kaela and me. He had already been awake and working on his various projects for nearly two hours by the time Kaela and I rolled out of bed for breakfast just before 8:30. We told the owner of the bed and breakfast the night before that we would like to have breakfast at 8:30, but we ended up not receiving it until after 9:00! We passed the time by conversing around the table about life events and our plans for the day. Once we received our breakfast, it was delicious! We all had the same plate consisting of bacon, sausage, a fried egg, beans, and a piece of fried bread. We all finished everything that was on our plate! We also finished over a pot of coffee between us over the course of our breakfast. After we finished breakfast, we headed back up to the room to quickly get ready for the day.

Within a few minutes we were packed into our minuscule Fiat Panda and heading out of the driveway towards Conwy. The main site that we were planning on visiting today was Conwy Castle. We had a smooth 15 minute drive over to Conwy and found parking immediately upon entering the castle walls. Kaela and I quickly figured out the parking machine and paid the fee so we could lounge around the city for the next four hours. It was freezing today! We all wore as many layers as we could (I even wore three layers and gloves) but we all couldn't stop shivering! There was a strong wind the whole day today which was freezing. Somehow we made it through the day, possibly because of the copious amount of coffee we had before we left our bed and breakfast. We started our day off by going directly to Conwy Castle! Conwy Castle is an incredibly well preserved castle, originally built between 1283 and 1289. It is considered to be one of "the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe." La'akea was incredibly excited to see this castle and, upon seeing it, we knew exactly why! We were pleased to find out that there were semi-reasonable prices to tour this grand site, and La'akea was nice enough to pick up the bill for the three of us. We took our time walking all around and through the castle grounds, including walking up the the highest points in the lookout towers. La'akea had a fun time using his GoPro to its fullest extent, after receiving a few tips from me. Unfortunately, I think the cold weather zapped the battery on my own GoPro a little bit because I haven't used it for a few days, so I had to be extremely selective with the pictures I wanted to take today. It turns out I had just enough battery power and it wasn't an issue. We walked all through the multiple levels of the castle, but our favorite on had to be the level just under the towers, yet raised above the ground floor. From this level we were able to see out over Conwy Bay and see the inner grounds from a unique perspective. We actually hung out on the top level for nearly an hour talking about La'akea's time spent in the army and various weaponry and tanks that he was exposed to.

After we finished in the castle we walked down to Conwy and wanted to walk around the city a little bit before we headed back for the day. We walked through several winding streets and Kaela even stopped into a ceramics store, which she has done at every opportunity she has had thus far, but it was fairly expensive and we didn't get anything, even though it was quite nice and the pieces had some unique glazes. We continued walking up the street that the ceramics store and then, all of a sudden, the three of us stop walking at the same time. We all had simultaneously smelled the same delicious smell that was emanating out of a nearby shop. We followed our noses across the street and down a few stores to arrive at a local butchery, which was actually awarded the best butcher shop in Britain the previous year! We walked inside and immediately knew that this is where we wanted to get lunch. After browsing for several minutes; I decided to get a turkey salad gap sandwich, La'akea got a hot pork and onion sandwich, and Kaela got chicken curry with rice. We stopped at a nearby liquor store to pick up some drinks before settling down in one of the main squares of Conwy. All of our food was absolutely delicious. Once we finished lunch we decided to try to walk along the upper wall of the town, since the entire city of Conwy is a walled city. We eventually found steps leading up and were able to walk a few hundred yards of the wall before heading back down. Lucky for us, we finished right where our car was parked! We were all frozen into ice cubes at this point so we piled into the car and headed home to heat up.

Once we got back at the house, we all relaxed in our room for a half hour or so before deciding to go walk around the grounds and see more of the area that we are staying in. La'akea and I, inadvertently, attempted to take better GoPro pictures of the chickens, geese, and other various animals that were wondering around the property. We also walked down the road a few hundred meters, in an attempt to get closer to some sheep, but all of the sheep ran away to the far end of their field immediately once we approached them. At this point we were quite cold once again so we headed back inside the bed and breakfast to head up once more. We spent the rest of the late afternoon and early evening relaxing in our room. I went through all of the GoPro pictures early, which is always a smart thing to do. Kaela eventually saw that the Heads Up game created by Ellen Degeneres was free for today. Once Kaela and La'akea downloaded it we spent the next two hours playing this game and continuously taking turns trygint to set a personal record. Kaela ended up being the most successful, as she was able to get 11 correct answers within the 30 seconds. La'akea and I both got close; we each got 10 right in the allotted minute. Once we finished playing the game I loaded up the Real Madrid game and La'akea and I ended up watching the first half together. At half time, since it was nearly 20:00 at this time, we decided that we had to leave immediately to go get dinner because the kitchen at the local pub we went to yesterday closes at 21:00. We were in for a shock when we arrived, because we were informed that the pub's kitchen was not open tonight! Since we arrived without a backup plan, and all three of us were desperately looking forward to eating the delicious fish and chips that Kaela had the night before tonight, we all piled back into the car and went to the only place where we thought we would stand a chance of finding food at such a late hour: Conwy.

We headed back into Conwy and returned to the same parking lot that we were in earlier. Kaela and I once again returned to the ticket machine yet found several coins jammed within it. We attempted to ajar them free for ten minutes yet soon acknowledged that we would not be able to. We headed to the other machine and quickly bought a two hour ticket only to learn after the fact that parking was free after 18:00! What is weird is that Kaela and I checked for the hours of operation on the other machine and it said 24 hours a day but on this specific machine it said differently. Oh well, I guess. After we parked we spent a good amount of time wandering around Conwy simply looking for restaurants that were open. We learned that there were only a few and we didn't have much of a choice or option. After some initial deliberation we eventually settled on the local Indian food restaurant named: "The Raj." We all ordered different types of curry and shared them with a couple of bowls of rice. It was all incredibly delicious once again! Since silly La'akea forgot his wallet, Kaela and I picked up the tab, which we were planning on doing anyways. It is our treat after him helping us so much with planning this trip, and for him purchasing our tickets to the castle earlier! After we finished dinner, we headed out on the town to search for a local pub so that La'akea could find another fantastic British beer. We each had a pint (La'akea and I had one called "Hank" while Kaela had a Christmas Special) and had a great time hanging out and talking together in the pub over the next hour or so. At this point it was nearly 23:00 so we decided that we should head back to the house since we have to get up early tomorrow for another long driving day back to the South coast of Wales. We should have another beautiful drive along the Western Welsh coastline! We are also looking forward to another delicious breakfast in the morning and, most importantly for La'akea, plenty of coffee. Until then.

Love,

Justin and Kaela

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Pictures around Conwy Castle!

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Britain's best butcher!

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Conwy Bay

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Taking pictures around the grounds of our Bed and Breakfast

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Christmas Tree in Conwy!

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Mmmm....Beer

Posted by JK_Adventures 15:49 Archived in Wales Comments (1)

Travel Day: Cardiff to Conwy

overcast 47 °F

We had a great travel day today! La'akea woke up bright and early around 5:00 this morning so he could get some writing done, but Justin and I slept in until 8:30. La'akea was able to come back and take a quick nap before we all cleaned up and got ready to go. Since he was up so early, La snuck us some food back from breakfast. He surprised us with croissants and Nutella along with some oranges! We all left the Ibis and headed for the train station right after 9:00. It only took us ten minutes to make it back to the train station. Once we arrived we tried looking for rental car signs, but saw absolutely nothing indicating rental cars. I asked several information workers where to go to pick up the car and we were directed to the parking lot in the back of the train station. Unfortunately, there still was nothing regarding rental cars. Luckily, there was another helpful information worker at the back of the station who helped me call the rental car company to see what the heck we were supposed to do. Apparently, the company picks you up in your rental car at the train station then drives you fifteen minutes away to finish the check in process. The rental car offices are under construction at the train station so we were driven all the way to a grocery store on the other side of town! It was all very bizarre.

A nice Polish man picked us up at the train station and sped back to the office. We all agreed that his driving was a little too aggressive for us, so we were happy when we finally made it to the grocery store/office. We followed him into the store and found the Europcar kiosk type office in the front. We went through a very slow check in process with a new employee who was very nice and apologetic. I assured him he was doing a great job and he was very thorough. It took about ten or fifteen minutes to finally check in and get everything settled. We didn't have to pay a young driver fee this time because La was the driver! We saved over 30 pounds a day without that fee! We didn't go back to our car right away because we wanted to shop around for some snacks for our drive. The boys settled on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I picked out an Indian snack mix. Justin and I brought our belongings back to the car while La got a coffee inside, and Justin moved the car to the far end of the parking lot so La could have a few practice runs driving a manual on the opposite side of the road. He said he hadn't driven a manual since he was sixteen so we were all a bit skeptical at first. He ended up doing a great job throughout the entire drive! Luckily, his muscle memory helped him out with the manual part, but he said it was still tough to think about driving on the other side of the rode.

Our drive was very smooth and, for the first time ever, Justin got to nap as much as he wanted, which ended up being almost the entire drive. I navigated and stayed awake the whole drive. La and I chatted pretty much the entire time and listened to the funny stories and DJs on the radio. We stopped a few hours into the drive for a bathroom break, and it also gave us some time to make our sandwiches! We all devoured our yummy treats as quickly as possible, then continued on with our drive. We also broke out our Indian snack and immediately became addicted to the seasoned goodies. Our drive ended up taking close to five hours, which was longer than expected, but still good time. We drove from the south of Wales all the way up to one of the most northern towns of Conwy. We passed by some incredible scenery unlike any country we've been to yet. We decided that the hills were a rusty burnt orange (it was the best way we could describe it!). These hills were an incredible contrast to the countless bright green fields filled with sheep.

We finally made it to our Snowdonia Holidays B&B right before sunset. The landlord was very kind and helpful, but wanted to finish up some yard work before the sun went down. We settled into our room right away and relaxed from an exhausting drive. We started to look up some places for dinner, and instead of going into the city center of Conwy, we decided it would be fun to go to the village pub just a few minutes away. It was pitch black when we left and the only lights around were from houses in the distance. We slowly drove to the local pub, Ty Gwyn, which is also a hotel. The staff was very helpful and incredibly nice. We each ordered a beer while we were waiting to be seated and admired the quaint interior of the pub. We were seated in the back room and had the place all to ourselves since the front room was full already. We all had incredible dinners!! La ordered the lamb shank, Justin had chicken tikka masala, and I went for fish and chips since I've been craving it for so long now. All of the food was absolutely amazing. We all hung out for a little while after dinner and finished our drinks. La was nice enough to treat us to dinner! Once we were all stuffed and sleepy we made our way back down the road to our b&b. We played with the landlord's dog for a little while before heading up tour room for the rest of the night. Justin and I watched The Walking Dead mid-season finale and we all watched a few funny videos online. We're getting ready for bed early since we have a busy day of exploring Conwy tomorrow! Until then.

Love,
Kaela and Justin

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Driving through Wales!

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Nap time...

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Great dinner at Ty Gwyn.

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Kuku selfie with our new favorite pup.

Posted by JK_Adventures 14:46 Archived in Wales Comments (1)

Travel Day: London to Cardiff

sunny 50 °F

We had yet another early travel day this morning. We all woke up around 6:15 to finish packing and to have some cereal for breakfast. The boys only got about three hours of sleep last night because both of them stayed up late together watching the Hawaii football game. I obviously fell asleep much earlier than them so I felt pretty well rested this morning. We left the apartment right at 7:00 and walked around the block to the nearest tube station. We only took the underground for four stops, but it took us all the way to the train station! It was still dark outside by the time we got to the train station and we didn't see the sun until we were on the train heading toward Cardiff. We found the train station relatively easily and printed out our tickets right away.

The train had arrived right as we were printing out our tickets so we headed over to our platform and boarded the train early. There was a family sitting in our assigned seats when we arrived and, unfortunately, they had to change seats. Luckily, there were barely any people on this Sunday morning train. Because it was so empty we were able to spread out and Justin ended up with four seats around a table all to himself. The journey was really easy and we all just hung out and chatted for most of the ride while enjoying the foggy yet beautiful scenery fly by outside the window. When Justin started to get sleepy he made some space across the aisle from us and passed out. La'akea and I were already wide awake from our coffee we bought right as we boarded the train. He spent the remainder of the journey working on papers (I'm so happy we don't have to do any serious writing for the time being!), and I read a few chapters of We Are Water. I'm really starting to get into my book! Justin dozed in and out of naps and finished his book when he wasn't sleeping. The only real excitement came when a man sitting behind us didn't have a valid ticket and he was giving the attendant a hard time. He was using some pretty inappropriate language and started to fuss about buying another ticket so the attendant fetched the help of an undercover police officer who was riding the train. The annoying guy pretty much shut up after that, but there was definitely something off about him. Of course, I was eavesdropping the entire time.

We arrived in Cardiff, Wales about three hours later and headed straight to the Ibis Budget to check in. We were still a little bit too early to actually check in so we waited in the lobby for a half hour before I walked up and got the keys to our room. Our room actually isn't too bad! We have some retro bunk beds with a bigger bed on the bottom and a twin bed on top, but it's pretty fun. We were just in the room for a few minutes to drop off our belongings before we headed out to explore the city of Cardiff. Cardiff is actually a pretty big small city (hope that makes sense!). There were tons of shops and restaurants all in the center and there was even a Christmas market. We briefly walked around the different booths, but we didn't see anything spectacular so we kept on moving. We were starting to get hungry at this point so we stopped in a local cafe and ordered some food. La'akea and I both ordered traditional pasties, which are basically a flaky pastry filled with meat and vegetables. Justin described it as a beef stew without the broth that was stuffed in a pastry. It was delicious! Justin ordered an equally tasty panini and we enjoyed out meals outside on the patio.

We all continued exploring the town after we refueled. We walked around pretty much everywhere possible! We walked up to Cardiff Castle, which is a medieval castle originally built in the 11th century on top of a 3rd century Roman fort, but it was just too expensive for us to spontaneously visit. We still got to admire it from the outside and had great views of the entire property. We finished walking around the rest of the town until La'akea found out that a brewery called BrewDog was in Cardiff! He tried one of their craft beers on Thanksgiving and was thrilled to see that there was an actual pub serving all of their craft beers on tap from that month! We walked over to the place and immediately loved the chill vibe and cool atmosphere. A cheerful man with a big mustache helped us out and gave us a bunch of different beers to try before we each made our selections. La'akea has an app where he rates beers, so he was keeping track of everything we tried and ordered. Everything we tried was great! We all had a few rounds and hung out together. There was also a Nintendo 64 set up downstairs with Mario Kart, GoldenEye, and Mortal Kombat. We obviously spent a good amount of time reliving our childhoods (Justin and La'akea more than me), and had a great time competing against each other. We spent the remainder of our time back upstairs and attempted to play a Simpsons board game, but soon realized it was too complex for us to understand or enjoy. Finally, we finished our beers and bought some souvenirs...I bought a pint glass that had the brewery's logo and one of the beer's logos called "Punk," and La'akea bought a super soft shirt.

Once we had spent enough time and money hanging out at this great bar, we walked around the city to find some food for dinner. It was still early at this point, but it was already dark and we were starting to get hungry. We were thinking of picking up some snacks for tomorrow before getting some food, but the store was cleaned out of all of the things we wanted. We ended up stopping by a Wok to Walk because Justin said he's been fiending for some of their noodles since we had it in Barcelona! La'akea and I obviously couldn't deny him so we headed back over and each ordered something delicious. La'akea and I devoured ours right away, but Justin couldn't handle the heat and spice of his noodles right away. When we finally left the restaurant we were all exhausted and full and ready to go back to the hotel. La'akea grabbed his third coffee of the day back at the hotel, and we are all back in the room already ready to go to bed even though it's barely 19:30 at night. We have a long driving day tomorrow and Justin finally gets to relax the whole time since La'akea is driving! We're heading all the way to the northern coast of Wales to spend a few days in Conwy. Until then!

Love,
Kaela and Justin

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Walking around Cardiff!

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Cardiff Castle

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Christmas spirit is alive in Cardiff!

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Hanging inside BrewDog.

Posted by JK_Adventures 11:10 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

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