Thursday, 23 February 2012

Wales Wonderland

When preparing myself for this semester in Europe, I never thought I would venture to the seaside. I also never thought I would be staying in a hotel on the coast. 
I was wrong.
I am so happy that I was wrong! This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to North Wales, where I visited Chester, Llanberis, Swallow Falls, Betws y Coed, and stayed in the coastal town Llandudno. Before this semester, I wouldn’t even have had a guess at pronouncing those cities, but now I’ve had a chance to explore them (and fail miserably at saying them correctly).
Wales is my favorite place I’ve been so far. EVER. 
Literally across the street from our hotel was the sea, along with a lovely pier and many brightly colored homes.

What started out as a rainy weekend turned into an absolutely gorgeous one. On Saturday morning, we made our way from our lovely hotel to Caernarfon Castle, which was so much bigger than I can even describe. I felt like a child playing hide-and-go-seek, running around through the castle making sure I explored every inch of it before our time there ran out. 

From there we made our way to the town of Llanberis, which was a town that sat in the valleys of Snowdonia. It was a small town, but I enjoyed every minute of it, and grabbed some gorgeous pictures of the mountains in the distance and some wonderful food at Pete's Eats, which apparently is considered "the best cafe in the world." It was pretty good, and it reminded me of some small-town diners back home.

This is Snowdonia! 

We got back to Llandudno in the evening and scrambled to dinner because everything closed at 6:00 pm. Some were frustrated with the lack of "stuff to do," but that's why I liked Wales so much. It was so quaint, and every town we visited had its own unique characteristics. On Sunday we stopped in Betws y Coed, and wandered into a candle shop, where the owners would personalize candles. They were wonderfully sweet and were very interested to learn about us and our backgrounds! 

This is what I was so excited for about this semester. I wanted to visit smaller towns and wander into local shops and cafes and learn about their own everyday lives. I absolutely loved Wales for all of these reasons, and it was, by far, the prettiest place I have ever been. 
And I also learned the weather is not far from home — it's just as unpredictable as Indiana weather! Sunshine one minute, hailing the next. (And yes, that really did happen!)

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