So, today I shall share with you a fairly humorous and also unfortunate adventure which I stumbled upon, on my weekend travel visit up in north Wales.
The weekend started wonderfully, with the trip planned and aimed at seeing more inland areas of North Wales amongst mountains, forests and rivers. I already packed a picnic blanket, some lunch and books… ready to relax amongst nature. Normally, when I visit new areas I’d rather sightsee as much as possible, be active, go hiking and exploring. But for once, I dedicated one day of the weekend to have a peaceful and relaxing break. Well, life had something else planned and it was far from relaxing.
Let’s go through what happened, I plan the scenic route amongst Welsh mountains which would eventually lead to a stunning viewpoint, where I could have that relaxing afternoon I dreamed of. I travel with a friend through some nice roads but complying with the navigation we take a sharp turn down a questionable, narrow road which seems quite overgrown and unkept, with many tree branches scattered all around. Looking back, it might have been a warning sign to what’s yet to come. The weather has been very moody that weekend, not very stable. The clouds kept coming and going revealing rays of sunshine or showers of rain- multiple times throughout the day.
We carry on going with hesitation as we see the road become even more narrow to the point where it almost seems like a footpath. At this point I wonder whether it was a good idea to take that turn, however, with how narrow the road was- the only way to move was forward, there’s no going back now.
We emerge from the bushy area into a landscape of mountains, hills and fields. Sheep are walking freely everywhere; the path is still narrow, but it seems like we are getting closer. So, we keep on driving… until we see a big group of hikers on the path. We take a turn and drive on the grass to avoid them and give them some space. And then, suddenly, we are THROWN INTO AIR LIKE IN A FREAKING ACTION MOVIE. Well, that’s what it felt like from my point of view anyway. It probably was less spectacular from an external view, but the car shot up suddenly, I headbutted the roof, spilling my hot coffee everywhere and letting out a faint scream at this point. The coffee was so damn good. It was such a shame.
After stepping out of the car and examining what exactly happened, we found that the grass we turned to, to avoid the hikers- was in fact a mud trap. The rain episodes that day made a massive mud pit which the grass disguised and the mud disguised a massive rock. As we drove into the grass, unknowingly digging the wheel deeper into the mud, eventually we hit that massive rock which has thrown the car up. The wheel was bent and damaged- no way of coming back home. The group of hikers rushed to us to see if we need help- bless them. They offered to give us a ride once they hike up to their van. So, while they went off, I had to gather all belongings from the car, the suitcase packed for a pleasant weekend away. Then, it was a waiting game.
I sat on the edge of the road by the wreck of the car, hoping the van with the hikers will show up. But as the time went on, and there was no sight of them or anyone really. I started wondering whether they will actually come back. There was no signal, no internet on my phone, I was stranded amidst Welsh mountains with the closest bus stop, miles away.
So, with that I decide I will try to rely on the kindness of strangers yet again and hike up to the nearest house. The fresh air and change of scenery were nice in calming my thoughts. That’s until I reached the house and decided to knock on the doors. I thought to myself that this is a cliché scenario of many horror movies. Couple of people stranded in the middle of nowhere with car broken down, so they find a house and ask a stranger for help, in the middle of nowhere …where no one will hear the screams…. Great.
To my luck, the reality was different. An elderly guy opened the doors and invited us in, revealing that the house is actually used as a night shelter for hikers. From the outside it seemed like a regular house, but inside there was a big dining area, rooms with bunkbeds etc. I got lucky! Since there was no wifi or signal, he led us into a corridor with an old payphone. We scrambled up some change and called some of our contacts to let them know where we are, what happened and tried to disclose the location should our help not arrive and we needed to find other ways to get home.
After phonecalls we made our way downstairs to the dining room. With the fireplace on, it was a nice and cozy area. The guy has made some nice tea with milk and handed us some biscuits, I learned after several years of living in the uk, that Brits like to deal with any life issues with a cup of tea. First you brew the tea, then you deal with life later.
I was very grateful for this man’s hospitality, we chatted for a while and then he showed us into the back garden where the Snowdon peak was visible! It was such an incredible view. I sat on the bench enjoying my warm cup of tea and the views of Welsh hills, sheep Snowdon and other mountain views where there was still snow on the peaks. I sat mesmerised watching the clouds go fast by- the sunshine shining bright to then, moody clouds covering the entire sky. I thought about how funny life is sometimes, that through a twisted set of events I ended up in this great place and though it wasn’t as I originally planned – I did manage to do the things I set out to do. Always try to make the best out of every situation.
We had a Plan B now, to stay in that house for the night and set out to hike in the morning, all the way up to the main road where we could get picked up by some friends. Having plan B now, we decided to come back to the car for last attempt to see if the van with the hikers will come back for us. I sat and read a book for some time, managing to do another thing I originally set out to do. Not long after the mighty van arrived! We were saved! The group of hikers picked us up and as we drove we talked about many things, exchanging our travel stories and experiences- everyone was so kind and friendly which made this drive truly enjoyable. Eventually, they dropped us off at the place we were staying at. I was so thankful for the hospitality of the man at the hiker shelter, and the group of hikers as because of them I look back at this event with fondness rather than focusing on how much I lost because of wrecking of the car.
After getting back, I sat down with a glass of rosé, in a magical Welsh cottage, re-planning the trip back home and filling in my travel journal. It was a crazy and eventful day but I’m thankful as it was also filled with many sweet moments and a good story to tell.
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