Sunday, March 13, 2011

Where Are We Again?

This weekend was our trip to Wales.
Or so we thought.

We left Thursday morning and were woken up on the bus by our "church history tour guy". He was talking about all this church history stuff and I'm pretty sure most of us slept through whatever he was saying. We went to a handful of different places and the following happened at every stop:
1. He would talk about where we were going.
2. We would all fall asleep
3. We would wake up as the bus stopped.
4. Got off the bus.
5. "Listened" to his little informative lectures
6. Get back on the bus.
7. Repeat.

Not that the information couldn't have been interesting, we just weren't particularly entertained by it all. Our coach (not bus) driver even mentioned to someone over the phone that we were, "in the middle of nowhere." Of the numerous places we stopped at though there were 2 places that were notable. 

Herefordshire Beacon: This was a place where Wilford Woodruff would come to think when he was there. It was really pretty but I think the fun thing about it was the wind. It was crazy! My scarf started to untie itself, my glasses flew away momentarily and my hair was out of control. It was quite the chore to brush it later. It was a really nice view of the countryside that was surrounding and just everything really. 
Gadfield Elm Chapel: This was a little Mormon chapel that was restored and was just kind of a charming little place and I thought the stories we heard there were interesting. Plus we all sang a hymn that was pitched terribly due to the lack of accompaniment and the fact that none of us knew this song.

So after all this on and off of the bus, cat naps, and less than interesting tours, we arrived at our hostel. 
Which was in the Cotswalds. 
Which is England.
Yes.
After preparing for our trip to Wales our first day was spent entirely in England.

So we stayed in a dinky little hostel, where there were 4 pubs around us and not much else and pretty much just swapped stories late into the night. That's one of the best things about our trips I think is just kind of spending a lot of our time really hanging out with each other and getting to know people really well.

Friday we hopped on the bus bright and earlier and drove, drove, drove. Which meant I slept, slept, slept. When I woke up we were at Tintern Abbey. I think we could all agree that the Abbey's are cool because they're all pretty old and partially destroyed which makes them very pretty. On this trip however, it was raining and it was pretty cold. So we took shelter in the crevices of the Abbey and stayed in one part of it for the entirety of our stay. 

Next on the list was the mine, I think the most anticipated part of the trip. We went down into a coal mine. That's 300 feet below ground. Yikes! We fashioned a hardhat with a headlamp and a belt with a battery for our light and a air mask in case of emergencies (which we were instructed on how to use AFTER we were above ground, useful.) All the workers there were so friendly and fun to be around, I was dubbed Goldilocks when they were fitting my helmet. Once we were down there, I think we were all slightly on edge because of the intensity of it. Our tour was pretty interesting but also sad! The guide kept telling us awful stories about accidents, some of which involved some of his closest friends. It was awful. We even went in one enclosed area where we turned off our headlamps and experienced the intense darkness that the miners would experience. It was definitely an enlightening experience. 
We stayed in Cardiff for the night and topped off the day by going to dinner at an Italian Restaurant in the Bay and finished off with milkshakes from an American diner with Elvis videos playing on repeat (We were completely mesmerized by him and stayed there longer than we should have probably.) As we were leaving a woman said under her breath with disdain, "Americans..." and glared as we made our exit. 
Yes.
We were glared at for being Americans.
In an American style Diner.
Whatever.

Our final day in Wales we started by just wandering around Cardiff which was actually so fun! There was a huge rugby game that day between Wales and Ireland so there was national pride everywhere! Some girls got their faces painted with the Wales dragon, there were competitions to win merchandise, and just red everywhere. It was a good day to be wandering around aimlessly in Cardiff, Wales. Our final stop before heading home was at St. Fagans. It's basically a place that shows you what Wales is all about. There's a castle, some thatched cottages, the best ice cream ever (okay, that may not have anything to do with Wales but it was delicious) and some Wales styled children films that were like a car wreck... we couldn't stop watching. Then we headed home to London.

I think we all didn't really have any expectations for this trip because we knew nothing about Wales other than the fact that no one really speaks Welsh and that Princess Diana was the Princess of Wales. We had a good time and certainly laughed about some of our circumstances we found ourselves in.

PS: all the pictures are from Laura because my camera got lost... again. Don't worry. The hostel in the Cotswalds found it and it will be returned. I found this out when Dursteler got on the microphone on the bus so he could tell me... and everyone on the bus. I have a feeling I'll be the girl who always sleeps on the bus and always loses her camera.

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