It’s a white Christmas after all here in Belgium. We’re heading for Pieters parents who live in Hamont-Achel to indulge ourselves in family spirit. Driving by the flat Flemish countryside covered by a duvet of snow, I suddenly feel the urge to write about mountains. The last time we found ourselves on a significant height above sea level, surrounded by a beautiful set of summits, was in the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales. We travelled through South Wales by camper last July and were stunned by the beauty of this part of the United Kingdom. The purpose of our trip was to visit good friends of ours, Nick and Gina, who live in Cardiff. We met these adorable scallywags for the first time on New Years Eve, about five years ago. Since that moment, our paths cross at about two times a year at Hep Cats Holiday, Summer Jamboree and Rhythm Riot and we enjoyed every conversation and every dance during these events.
We started our trip through Wales at the Forest of Dean, which was already enchantingly beautiful. Then on to Cardiff we went, visiting, as I mentioned before, Nick and Gina. Gina appeared to be not only Lili’s immediate hero, but also a magnificent chef. She overwhelmed us with a delicious meal based on vegetables and herbs she raised in her nearby allotment.
After our friendly visit to Cardiff, we stayed a while at West Hook Farm near Marloes, at the very west point of South Wales. We made a boat trip around Skomer island, which delighted Lili with the view of thousands of Puffins, a lot of dolfins and one -slightly confused- seal. We continued our journey northeastwards and made our last stop at the Brecon Beacons National Parc. In the mean time, the weather conditions weren’t as jolly as they should be, which made us look out for an indoor childfriendly activity. I mistakenly thought I found such an activity at Dan-yr-Ogof, or the National Showcaves Centre for Wales. We installed our camper at the “kids allowed” part of the camp site. No kidding, we weren’t allowed to choose a pitch at certain areas because of the presence of a kid in our camper and the noise pollution she could bring along with her. The funny thing about this is, that, later that day, Lili awoke far too early from her afternoon-nap because of the noise caused by someone tidying up the three leaves scattered about on the walkway of the campsite with a very loud blowing machine. Anyway, the next day we headed for the activities of Dan-yr-Ogof. First we visited the showcaves, which are very impressive. They are complemented by more than 200 life-sized dinosaur models, a delight for the kids, of course. But the real fun began when we explored the Shire Horse Centre and Farm. This is by far the most attractive children’s farm I’ve ever seen, simply by looking at the scenery alone. Down at Mr. Morgan’s Farm you can meet goats and Shetland ponies, see alpacas and llamas grazing in the fields, and try to keep up with the chipmunks as they race through tunnels above your head.
In this picture, Lili walks resolutely towards the alpacas. They looked at her, as if they’ve never seen a two year old girl before. Maybe they were a bit muddled by the dress she was wearing. My parents bought this dirndl dress with matching white shirt in Bayern, Germany. The confusion of these animals could also be caused by the outright ugly Crocs Lili was wearing. They are way too pink and even chance colour -they turn into violet- when exposed to sunlight. What a blessing that this kid doenst care yet about superficial style issues and simply heads off for some good outdoor fun, given the suddenly changed weather conditions. This meant pure hapiness for not only this little pathfinder, but also for the radiating mum and dad.