Before the crazy Christmas period, exclusively dedicated to
eating visiting family and friends abroad, we decided to take a weekend break locally.
Hiking was mandatory so the main options were national parks. Not really wanting to drive for hours, we ended up choosing Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales.
Where to stay and eat?
It was low season, for starters.
But the were few options, to be honest: small B&B offering an amazing rural experience with more or less comfort, youth hostel, some hotels not matching our criteria at all…
Finally El Hombre came up with the idea of using airbnb again and the experience was great. We chose a cute cottage in a farm in Talybont-on-Usk, a small village in the middle of the National Park with amazing landscapes to explore.
We mainly cooked for ourselves, but the experience in the local pubs were good. Very friednly staff, good food.
How to get around?
I didn’t see another way of doing this without a car. It could well be that in the summer period there’s more transport options.
What to see and do?
I have to say that crossing the bridge between Wales and England was like changing country (more than I expected). I really liked the feeling. However, I didn’t really heard anybody speaking Welsh, which was a bit of a disappointment.
It was raining almost all day, so hiking became difficult. Despite the weather, these are some things we did.
Pen y Fan peak: If you see a telephone box a pub and a parking by the road, DO NOT start your hike there. We started very excited, since everything seemed to match the description on the guide.
The trouble came when we found ourselves wanting to cross a stream to make the peak and it not being possible. It was miserable up there so we left it for another occasion. Pen y Fan, failed attempt. Apparently the start point was 500m further up…
Brecon: The village that names the National Park. Tiny but lively. Nice old town centre: narrow streets, hills and passageways. We also noticed there are quite a few of outdoors equipment shops. Worth checking out.
Talybont reservoir: we did the route by car on our way to the waterfalls. Spectacular views. Winter landscapes are mysteriously magic.
Blaen y Glyn waterfalls: parked the car at the bottom and started walking up. Maybe because it had rained non stop for the last month, according to locals, the waterfalls and streams were abundant. Beautiful.
Heading back to England we stopped at Cardiff. Surprisingly, with blue skies and shiny sun (really? now?)
Walked by the Cardiff bay promenade, ate in on of the many chain restaurants and had a coffee in the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, were the Norwegian fishermen used to gather and pray when they were far from home. Now, it’s an Art Centre, hosting exhibitions and other cultural events.
Ending a great but wet break with this sun was a gift.