Shock and Awe: An Adventure Weekend from London
As I stood alone on the platform for the last train from London to arrive, I was relieved. Bob and I were spending the weekend in Wales with an adventure group tour and after a small snafu (Bob missed the first train earlier that morning), he was here to join me for what I knew would be an amazing weekend.
As people started getting off the train, I first spotted my friend Carolyn.
“Bob’s not on the train.” Carolyn quickly stated.
“What do you mean?” I panicly muttered.
“He went back for his bag.” She replied, shaking her head.
“What do you mean?” I quized, completely puzzled and on the verge of tears.
Let me start from the beginning…
A group of 30 or so students from my study abroad center were heading to Preseli Venture for an adventure weekend. About four hours from London, Preseli Venture is located in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and specializes in adventure weekends and hospitality in their 5 star Eco lodges. If I sound like an advertisement, it’s because even before I left for my study abroad semester, I was told about this weekend.
“The best weekend in London, not in London”, one girl raved. Another guy boasted, “unlike anything I’ve ever done before…”. Needless to say, I was booking this weekend trip! I was so excited about this place I had never been to before, that when the company sent group leaders to talk to the study center, I told everyone that they had to do it- so much so that the group leaders gave me my trip for free! I was beyond shocked- I mean, I was an easy sell, I was DEFINITELY going to go! After all my excitement, most of my friends booked the trip and we planned the weekend away in Wales.
Fast forward to the morning of our trip: three of my friends and I were taking an early train over to Wales to-um-enjoy the country side. Er, actually, the later train was completely booked (or so they said) so we had to take the earlier one. No big deal, we all packed our bags and headed to the tube. Bob and our friend Carolyn forgot a few things and said they would met us at the train station. (Bob wanted to bring some more liquor for night caps and Carolyn wanted a cheap pair of tennis shoes so hers wouldn’t get dirty.) We had a little time, but it was gonna be close. They reassured me that everything would be fine and off they went.
I headed to the train with Mike, our other friend, and we waited patiently for them on the train. And, then the train started moving. I kind of looked around, like- wait, no- Bob and Carolyn aren’t on the train. But also hoped that they got on a different section of the train and would make it up to us after a little while. Well, they never made it back to us. They didn’t catch the train. They were still in London.
Mike and I wandered around the quiet and quaint stop, Haverfordwest in Wales, grabbing a drink in a couple of pubs, window shopping in the small town, playing cards by the train station, all waiting for our friends. Seeing the five o’clock train pull in was a sigh of relief. We were ready to have fun and start the weekend!
So you can only imagine my frustration and sadness when Carolyn got off the train and told me that Bob wasn’t going to make it that night.
Apparently, Bob and his luggage parted ways when the train separated at a nearby stop. Seeing as how this was the last stop of the night, Bob wouldn’t make it to the lodge until the morning and since we had no way of getting in touch with him (we didn’t have cell phones abroad), I had no idea where he was going to be spending the night.
Being the worrier that I am, I tried calling back to London and seeing if there was anything our study center could do. Of course there wasn’t- they had no idea where Bob could be. Everyone was very sweet in comforting me, but still I tossed and turned wondering where he was and if he had to sleep on a bench at the train station.
I must have fallen asleep at some point because when I woke up, Bob had arrived- and with one of the counselors of Preseli no less! He apparently struck up a conversation with the boyfriend of one of the counselors and told him what happened. They laughed (it wasn’t funny!) and the boyfriend took him back to their house and Bob slept on their couch. He had a great night of drinking beers and hanging out while I was ringing my hands and crying myself to sleep. (Okay, it wasn’t that bad- but still!) Thankfully, the counselor drove Bob to the lodge when she reported to work the next day.
For as bumpy as the trip started, the rest of the experience was some of the best in my life. We had scheduled activities throughout the day, just like at summer camp!
In the morning we got on our wetsuits and went surfing. It was cold and gray outside, but the instructors were so excited to get us in the water and show us a good time. They gave a really thorough surf lesson (when we were all on the beach), showing the newbies how to stand up, paddle and where to stick their feet. Even though I had been surfing a lot before, I stuck around for the lesson since they were also going over the water conditions. That day the waves were around 4-6 feet and glassy. If you don’t surf, this basically means perfect surfing conditions! Besides being ice cold, the water could not have been better for our morning session.
After a homemade lunch of some of the best potato soup I’ve ever tasted and hot chocolate, we put the suits back on and went coasteering (climbing rocks and jumping into the ocean)! We saw several seals swimming not too far away, probably making fun of us screaming as we jumped off the rocks. Of course Bob had to jump off the 50 foot rock with several other super brave members. I stuck to the 20 foot jumps- my heart almost beating out of my chest every time I took a leap.
After a much needed hot dinner, we bundled up and sat around a huge camp fire, drinking all that liquor for which Bob missed the train. (At least it came in handy!)
The next morning we took a seven mile hike around the cliffs, over- looking the ocean and countryside. We saw beautiful, wild horses and thousands of sheep. Some of the sheep were daredevils and would run right up to the side of the cliff- it totally looked like they were going to commit suicide, but they always stopped a little shy of the edge. After two days of testing our limits, the hike was a nice relaxing way to end the trip.
I really can’t say enough about our weekend in Wales. The Preseli team has every accommodation thought out and ready for its guest. The counselors are very well trained and so friendly, I felt like we were meeting up with old friends rather than strangers we had just met. With an easy train ride from London, this really is a great weekend away for any adventure and thrill seeker.
And, right now they have a contest ( coasterring for two), if you sign up for their newsletter! You better believe I’ve already signed up!
*Preseli Venture did not sponsor this post or pay me to say how cool they are. If they are reading this and would like to send me on another adventure weekend- I’d happily accept!
This post was written by Vagabond3 and sponsored by InsureandGo.com.au. If you plan on testing your adventure limits when you travel or even if you are just going on a short vacation, travelling insurance can help you get through any problems that might pop up from accidents to lost items.