as i sit here, my butt muscles, thighs, calves, shoulders, forearms, triceps, biceps, pectoral muscles, upper back, lower back, abs and knees are all in pain. it was worth it though.
our adventure weekend started out with an adventure at paddington station... we couldnt find dana... she had kristen's train ticket, but was no where to be found. she forgot her phone at the flat... as she usually does... and it wasnt until 2 minutes before our train was about to depart that we saw her, in her little red jacket, wandering around the station looking for us... we also had to run and jump on to a moving train at our switch over in swansea... we really were quite the daredevils these last few days.
we get to preseli venture at about 11 on friday night. we walk in to the only building with lights on. it was the bar/ game room, and it was filled with about 30 guys. they all went silent when we walked in... us with sleep marks on our faces from the train ride, huge backpacks with our trainers dangling from the bottom... them with pints and pool sticks in their hands... we stare at each other for about 20 seconds until charlie (the bar man/ concierge) comes to great us. the guys go back to their party and we follow charlie to our room. the encounter was very awkward and funny. come to find out preseli is hosting a bachelor party this weekend.
anyway, this place was awesome. its called an adrenaline junkie ecofriendly adventure lodge. (which, by the way, screamed alex koerten. they talk about moon cups in the bathrooms, which have showers that only allow water to pour for 1 minute before shutting off and you have to push the button again. there is a compost in the kitchen where you put all your apple cores and banana peels. and loads of the guides had dreds). our room was so cute. it looked like a room right out of the parent trap. it smelled of cedar wood and i chose the bed which was up against the wall, nestled in a little corner, just the way i like it. the ceiling was slanted because we were in an attic, basically, and there, right above my head, just a few feet away, was a sky light... it was a dream come true. that night it rained like crazy and i felt like i was teasing the water as it violently hit the glass creating the most perfect sound. i slept soundly listening to my favorite noise in the world.
saturday morning, at the crack of dawn, a lady ran up and down the halls knocking on all the doors, "breakfast is ready, come and get it." later we found out she was called libby, and was the sweetest, coolest lady in the world. but at that moment we hated her.
after breakfast, which was delicious and painstakingly made for about 50 people by libby's mum (all the meals were), we spent about an hour trying to get all our wetsuits on. we piled into a van and went down to the shore. the weather was chilly and windy and grey. the sea was choppy. but we were going to coasteer anyway. coasteering is a combination of rock climbing, swimming and cliff jumping. the cliffs were huge, unreal actually, and every once in a while when a big wave would crash against one of these huge cliffs, it would cause a bunch of little foam bundles to fill the sky. they looked like little pieces of a cloud, good enough to eat. and watching them fly through the air and land back in the ocean reminded me of life and death almost... beautifully and tragically poetic. we slid off smooth rocks slides into freezing a ocean. we jumped off a cliff into waves and swam with all our might against the current, trying desperately not to be carried away into the unknown. we jumped off an even higher cliff, and then when we climbed up to the highest one, everyone hesitantly held back. our guides looked at us like we were sallies so i walked forward, with out a word, and jumped. i felt like i was falling for hours, and even more, i felt like i was underwater for hours. it wasnt until i surfaced and gave a thumbs up that everyone started cheering.
the next bit was hilarious and i wish we could have recorded it... picture us... 10 girls trying to get our wet wetsuits off... in the middle of a car park. when we were all in the mists of undressing, with our hands and arms stuck above our heads trying to get our vests off or with our legs glued together unable to walk because the waist of the wetsuit was around our knees... the other van... filled with those bachelor guys pulls up... theres nothing we can do. and the guides just start cracking up. there i am... trying to get my damn wetsuit booties off and my fingers are numb and i can't breath from laughing... i have managed to get the top half of my suit off though... and one of the guides (his name's brumble) comes up and tells me to just sit down. he pulls my booties off for me. he tells me to stand up... he yanks the wetsuit down to my ankles and i stand there... in shock... freezing... and have no idea if my bathing suit bottoms came down as well... all i can do is put my hands on my butt cheeks to feel if its skin or fabric... it was fabric, fewh. "hurried that right along, didn't i," he says. and he goes along helping the rest of us wetsuit novices because hes hungry and wants to get back.
after we've eaten and changed into warm, dry clothes - its time to pile back into the van. libby drives us 10 miles down the coast, gives us a map, kicks us out, and tells us to make it home for dinner in 5 hours or we will have to eat it cold. i didn't realize this was part of the adventure, but it was fun just the same. the southwestern coast line of wales is unbelievably stunning. miles and miles of barbed wire, sheep, these bushes with yellow flowers, cliffs and the sea. there is nothing like hearing ginormous waves crash against massive cliffs. it was quite majestic really... and once the sun started to set the sights were sublime. there were moments when the 10 of us were chatting away, talking about places and people from home, cities we want to visit, things we want to do. and there were other moments when we just walked... in a straight line, along a path, looking out onto the ocean, deep in our own thoughts. we made it home in four hours.
later that night we had a bone fire and hung out with the bachelor dudes. they were funny. the stars were so bright and the air smelled faintly of salt water and sheep. such a nice break from london, really. dana and i went up to go to bed a little earlier than everyone else. i fell asleep listening to laughter from outside and looking up out the sky light window at the most beautiful stars, wishing i new what was so funny and what the names of all the constellations were. i slept soundly knowing that everyone i love from home would look at that same moon in a few hours.
sea kayaking with brumble and johnny. another hour getting out wetsuits on, really, i don't understand why its so hard. then we drove down to abercastle, got a quick tutorial about how to row and what to do if you capsized, and we were off. it was amazing. and so much fun. johnny said i was the best kayaker of the bunch. i winked at him and then almost tipped over. we spent the next few hours going in and out of sea caves, rock jumping in our boats, having races and playing games. at one point, i stopped, turned my kayak in the direction of the sun, closed my eyes and just relished in the fact that i just partook in an adventure weekend, in wales, and it was an unbelievable amount of fun.
everything in the world is a lesson and i have never had my eyes and ears open this much, i dont think. i wish i had a waterproof digital camera so i could have captured everything i did. believe me when i say the cliff we jumped off was epic.