Sorry this one’s so late folks, I’ve been catching up on schoolwork.

Last Friday (March 23) afternoon, after class, I caught the train to London. There I met up with the tour group leaving for Wales. We left London at 6:30pm, and made it to our hostel in Llanstephan around 11:30. A long drive, but it gave us all time to talk and get to know each other. There was me (the token Canadian), one guy from England, 4 people from France, and the rest (of 16 total) were from Australia or New Zealand. One of the girls from Australia is a human rights lawyer working in London, she and I got on really well.

So we made it to our hostel and went to bed. Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday was at 7:30, so we had to be up before then.  We had a ‘Welsh breakfast’, which included some foods I’ve never heard of before. Unfortunately I can’t remember the names 😦 I did try everything though. And the hostel owner has a dog that has prize-winning begging eyes. I thought I had met masters in the art of begging before (like grandpa’s dogs…) but this one was just incredible. The dog and I were fast friends, lol.

So after breakfast we were off. First stop was Llanstephen castle. It’s mostly ruins now of course, but there’s a lot still there to see. And it’s all open so you can climb the towers and get a great view.  Every time I see a castle I want to design and build my own, rather than having a regular house, hehe. Then we went to see Dylan Thomas’ grave and boathouse. I tend to be interested in rather older historical things, but apparently anything to do with him is a huge tourist draw. There was a castle there too, but it’s closed off until after Easter, so I couldn’t go exploring in that one. After that we went horse-riding. My horse (named Belfast) was acting up quite a bit, so one of the guys from the stable ended up hooking a lead onto him. It meant that I really didn’t have to do anything (which was kind of both good and bad), but it also meant that I was right behind the leader. This was a plus, he was a cute Welsh boy and I had him to myself to talk to for over an hour, lol. It’s weird that when I’m not on a horse, I always forget how much it can hurt to ride a horse. It’s still very fun though, and there were some spectacular views.

After the horseriding we went to St. David’s. Apparently this is the smallest city in the UK, and is only afforded the status of a city because it has a cathedral. I went in of course, but I’m beginning to think that it was a mistake to have St. Paul’s as the first cathedral that I’ve seen, because everything else pales in comparison. It was still a very beautiful building though, and I got to walk through it while hearing a live choir singing, very nice. I also did some shopping in St. David’s (it wouldn’t be a trip if there weren’t some shopping involved!) Everywhere I go now I get a patch (still haven’t decided what I’m going to sew them all to), some postcards, and a charm for my charm-bracelet. If I keep it up I might need a new charm bracelet by the time I get home!

After St. David’s we went to the Preseli mountains, where the stones used to build Stonehenge are from. There’s a stone structure here too, called the Pentre Ifan. It’s a 5000 year old burial structure for a king. It was really neat.

Last but not least we went to a pub for supper, accompanied by mouse racing and faggots. For clarity, faggots are food, they’re like big meatballs made mostly of liver or something. Not really all that good, but I did try them! And if you’ve ever seen ‘The Saint’, the mouse racing was just like the rat racing scene in the movie.

By this time we were all exhausted. We got back to the hostel around 11:30pm and I think we all just crashed into bed. We had to get up early again for breakfast, and this was also the night that we lost an hour because of daylight savings, ouch! Needless to say there was a lot more dragging of feet on Sunday morning than there was on Saturday!

Sunday we went for a visit to the Brecon Beacons national park. Here we climbed a mountain. (When I say mountain, they’re generally just very big hills with nice hiking paths laid out on them). That took a good few hours. After the walk we tried some Black Mountain Liqueur. The weird thing about it for me was that it tasted really good, and yet I didn’t like it anyways, lol. Then we went to the ‘Big Pit’, which is an old coal mine that has been opened up to let people see how they used to work there. It’s neat to see, but I always get kind of sad when I visit old mines. Especially when they start talking about the kids and horses that essentially never saw the light of day (except Sundays on their way to church – the kids, not the horses).

And then it was back to London. I stayed in London for a couple more days before coming back to res. I went and saw a small fraction of the British Museum (it’s 13.5 acres of things to see, you get tired long before you see much at all). There I saw the Rosetta stone (the real one), mummies, and all sorts of other goodies. Then I went to the cinema to see ‘Becoming Jane’, I miss going to the movies! They have 2 flavours of popcorn here. Sweet and salty. No butter!! After that I thought about going back to the hostel, but instead opted on going to see ‘Wicked’ the musical instead. Good choice! I got crappy cheap seats, like always, but it’s the same play no matter where you’re watching from. The next day I went to the National Gallery to see some of the artwork, and then I made the mistake of going to Covent Garden again. I am not a good window shopper, especially when there are no real windows between me and the goods.

All in all it was a really fun long weekend 🙂

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