Wild in Wales

This weekend we ventured into the wild world of Wales. Well, Wales is actually not so wild but it is beautiful. Wales is a country that falls into the United Kingdom and they are a proud group of people ( if not small group) of their Welsh heritage. Here is a map of Wales to refer to:

On it you can se Brecon and Cardiff, both places we visited.

We had to scramble to Victoria station on Saturday morning and be there by 7 to make our tour. Wales is very hard to travel around in as everything can be quite remote and also the names of places can be crazy as they are in Welsh. Yes, Wales is bilingual. They speak both English and Welsh and they have no vowels between their consonants in their words have the time like llanberis or betwys cowyd. Welsh is taught in local schools right along with English. Because of the remoteness of many sights, we decided to take a package tour. Once we made it on the coach we were introduced to our bus driver whose name I can’t remember but he was from Wales and our tour guide whose name was Kiley. Kiley was Australian and she was very perky, almost too perky. We set off to the Brecon Beacon National Park to go horseback riding. After a brief pit stop at a rest stop and some very overpriced and not very good burger king breakfast, we pulled into Wales! And then the National Park.

This is a photo of me trying to capture the Welcome to Wales sign from the bus quite unsuccessfully!

The National Park is a park of lakes and rolling hills and some mountains in the southeast of Wales.



There are small villages laced throughout the hills on the winding roads. When we got to the riding stable, it smelled very strange and strong. The workers handed us muddy boots and helmets and took us out to the yard to meet and greet out horses. They sized us up and gave us horses. Ellie got Midnight

Lauren got Molly

and I, was the proud rider of Wella.

After I almost died and argued with the girl telling her i could NOT get on that horse, I mounted Wella and we all got used to sitting in the saddle as they gave us some simple sounding instructions. We headed out into the National Park in a single file line of about 20 riders. We walked around and through fields and gates. At one point they made us trot and after I screamed that I wanted to stop trotting RIGHT away, the leaders stopped the group from trotting and we went back to walking. One leader, a girl, had lived in the desolate National Park her whole life and had learned to ride horses when she was 3 by starting on a donkey. I thought it was crazy that someone lived in that isolation there whole life and hadn’t felt the need to get out yet.

The weather was sprinkling and it was freezing so I was happy when the ride was over about 2 hours afterwards. We had a hot drink and then climbed aboard the bus to head to the town Hay-On-Wye. Hay-on-Wye is a very old town and is very famous for its bookstores. It has about 30 for a town that is about one mile large total. It has a lot of interesting first edition books and history books and old travel books. We had some lunch and perused the book stores and then decided to try some Welsh beer and we went to Three Tuns pub which was built in 1600 and tried the Welsh specialites, all brewed less than ten miles away from Hay-on-Wye.


Ellie and Lauren being silly as we walked through the town

An Example of Welsh. All the road signs are in Welsh and English.


Even the Castle in Hay-on-Wye had booked in front of it as part of a booksale.

Lauren and i making a wish at an old fashion wishing well.

They have signs for random things like craft centres.

That sexy blue bus was our mode of transportation throughout our Welsh journey.

After Hay-on-Wye, the coach took us to our hotel just outside of Cardiff. Our hotel was lovely and vert clean and fairly posh compared to our usual hostels. Lauren was sharing a room with Eleonore, A Parisian girl who has been studying in London and we also met Kristen an Australian vet living outside of London. Our dinnfer was included in the tour and the vegetarian option was really tasty. We chatted for an extra hour at the table with Eleonore and Kristen and two students from Portland, Oregon who now live in London. Then we shared a bottle of red wine with Eleonore in the hotel lobby before we got a taxi to head out for Cardiff’s night life. Lauren, Ellie, and I were a little confused when we arrived in Cardiff and all the girls were wearing very little clothing despite it being freezing. We eventually found a bar that was appealing to us and took it from there.

This is a very strange woman who when asked why she was dressed as such, she replied that she as getting married.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then all got on to the bus to be dropped off in Cardiff city centre, also known as Caerdydd in Welsh. We first walked into a store that sold traditional Welsh love spoons. Love spoons are gifts that people used to give when they professed their love and undying commitment to their partners. They are made out of wood and now seem to be a tourist attraction. Here is Ellie and I with the world’s largest love spoon.

After we walked next to the river to get to the bay. Kristen and Eleonore came with us.

A neighborhood in Cardiff

Ellie and Eleonore on the way to the bay
It was about a 25 minute walk and when we got there we were rewarded with really interesting and different architecture and buildings and a really pretty day.

A huge fountain that had water running down it.




Roald Dahl my favorite childhood author was from Wales apparently.

We walked around looking at the cool buildings and getting the feel for the Bay area. We got a coffee and chatted a bit before we got a water taxi back to the city for only 2 pounds.

It was a nice little boat ride up the river and gave us a nice view as we pulled away from the bay.

Afterwards we went to a really nice little food market where Ellie got some of her favorite homemade Welsh cakes, which are Welsh specialty and sort of a mix between a biscuit and a scone. We bought some fresh olives and Lauren got a falafel. We walked back to the center of town and walked near Cardiff castle and the surrounding gardens.

(Notice the name of the gardens! Yes, it’s Sophia, like my little Sophie!)



Cardiff castle
Daffodils are the national flower of Wales and were planted everywhere in Cardiff.

We got a pint of beer at a pub and watched a little protest on Freeing Tibet and then got back on the bus.

On the way back to London we headed to Chepstow for 45 minute break. Chepstow has another castle in it. Wales is the land of castles. It boasts the most castles per square mile in the UK. Chepstow was very sleepy because of it being Sunday and everything was closed and small. We did walk on a bridge though that was the bridge between Wales and England. it was this little bridge and we were in two countries at once which was pretty cool.

The land behind us is England

Lauren and I on the England side of the bridge

If you look closely you can make out the English flag that someone drew on the English sides wall
After that we got back on the bus and headed home, saying good-bye to perky Kiley and our Welsh bus driver as we arrived in England

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