Saturday, November 24

Wet, Windy, Wales

As some of you know, this past weekend I took a horseback riding trip to Wales. This was a much anticipated weekend with my visa student group, and since I had never seen Wales, I was so excited to get that opportunity. The trip started off being delayed by almost 3 hours, for boring reasons I won't go into. So, late as we were, the journey to Wales began. Our first stop on the road was Chepstow Castle, the oldest castle in England and Wales. It was almost exactly what I would picture a castle to look like.


After the castle, it was off to Tintern Abbey, which was my favorite destination of the entire trip! It was so beautiful, especially with the backdrop of autumn leaves. It reminded me of someplace from the storybooks. I can only imagine a time when this place was inhabited and not ruined! wow!


A short 20 minute walk up the hillside by Tintern Abbey lands you at an old ruined church. This isn't any church, however, it is a site where black magic was used and everyone inside caught fire and burned alive... very interesting. It was a very creepy place, and I would never go there alone, but with the group it was kinda fun!



Towards the end of the day we went to this cute little town called Hay-On-Wye, and I should have you know that it is the sister town to Timbuktu. They have a 1 pound bookshop with all new books, so I bought a couple goodies, it was really fantastic!

That night we stayed at a hostle, this being my first experience staying at one, I didn't really know what to expect. This particular hostle, was in the middle of nowhere, and it had the only nightclub within a 50 mile radius so people were literally bussed in from all the surrounding villages to party there. Because we stayed at the hostle, we got free admission to the night club, so since I can't resist anything free, I decided to give it a go. I do believe I am the only person ever to leave there sober. This club was a bit diffrent, really wild and crazy, and lots of underage drinking, and just all out madness. But I have to admit, I did enjoy it a tad, though the look on my face most of the time was something like this:

Because seriously guys, I saw some crazy stuff.

So Sunday we woke up and, much to my horror, it was raining. At this point it was only a drizzle, so we went to saddle em up and get out there like a native would no matter what the weather. I was thinking to myself, "yeah, I'm young, I can handle it. So what if I get a little wet." And that was where I couldn't be more wrong, I didn't get a little wet, I got drenched. I am talkin' I-just-jumped-into-a-pool-of-arctic-water-with-all-my-rain-gear wet, and this is only after the first hour. We were out there for three and a half miserable hours on whiny dis-heartened ponies. The wind was blowing at a thousand miles an hour and the rain kept mercilessly pouring on us. I was quite literally a popsicle. It came to about the 2nd hour when I thought that maybe I would actually die out here, I was looking around at things I could use to make a shelter should I choose to hop off my horse and refuse to continue another step. It was a nice idea, however, I was frozen stuck to the horse and it would get some prying to get me off. Finally hour 3 came, and I can quite honestly say I have never been that cold in my entire life. I was solid as stone with no feeling in any of my limbs, and only a faint heartbeat was left inside my chest. I think 5 more minutes out there and I would have drifted to a sleep and nobody would have noticed I was dead until I fell off my horse-which would have been a while because, like I said, I was stuck to it. Good thing we made it back to the stables just in time, when I chipped away the ice that was holding me to the beast I hopped off, and when I hit the ground I felt a little tiny tingle in my feet-which was good because it meant I still had some feeling left!

The Ponies in the Stables

This is a picture of my friend Charmaign (pictured with me above at the club). This is the only time I took my camera out because a) we had to stop b) it stopped pouring (it was still raining) and c) I could still move my hands enough at this point to reach my camera. Notice how wet the horse is, and my friend. It was bad.

After I changed into some semi dry clothes we got back on the coach, and only then did I take a picture of the landscape. Note that it had stopped raining at this time, and about 5 minutes after I took the photo it started to snow.

The trip back was just as bad. The coach was leaking water on me, and only on me from the roof. If the coach had not been pack full I might have changed seats. Instead I was left shivering with water dripping on me. Then, the windscreen wipers stopped working on the bus, so we had to stop and wait for the train to come-which was delayed. By the time I got to my London station where I would catch the train home I found out that no trains were leaving the station that day, and I had to wait for the next shuttle train to another station. 20 minutes later I hopped on the shuttle. 5 minutes later I boarded the train for home which was, you guessed it, delayed. So 45 minutes later we left London, and the trip that was supposed to have me home by 9:30 had me home at 12:30-wet, shivering cold, and frustrated. All of those images of me racing through the Welsh countryside with the (light) wind in my hair and sunshine on my face had disappeared long ago. I crawled into bed with 2 heaters on full blast in my room, shivered for another hour and finally got to sleep.

And I guess that is what I get for planning a trip on a Sunday. Never Again!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nicole,

I can't believe you had such a time in Wales. But I do have to say I loved the pictures. My family is part Welch and I was excited to see the castle pictures. Well, I am sorry you became an ice pop, but I hope you can see all the beauty you where able to see. Too bad it was not light flaky snow. Well, have a great week. Love Martha

Dona and co. said...

Drake! I hate it when I am in Wales horseback riding through the countryside and it starts to rain and it is bitterly cold and then my horse gets all wet and I am miserable. Wait, that has never happened to me. Wait again, it's like it has happened to me because you are such a descriptive writer and you are having such fabulous experiences that it's just like being there. (This entire paragraph must be read with an Emma Thompson accent or it just isn't effective).
Auntie Dona
P.S. YOU are soooo cool.

Marie said...

Wales is like the most beautiful place on the planet, even if it is raining, and it often rains in Wales, just so you know. :-) Loved your description of your adventure. Truly I don't think you were punished for planning a trip on a Sunday, but then again, you never know do you. The only way to find out for sure is to plan another one on a day other than Sunday and see what happens then! I have not seen Cheptsow Castle or Tinturn Abby but hope to one day. We have friends that live very near to there and come to think of it . . . it rained buckets last time we went to visit them as well, so that could be why we didn't see those two landmarks. Love coming here and reading your adventures. You make even being frozen solid to a horse in bucketing down rain sound like fun ... well, almost.

Nicole's mum said...

Brrrrrrr! I am still shivering! So sorry your trip wasn't a little more enjoyable! Still, it was an adventure! When you get home we'll take the horses out for a ride, and we'll make SURE it is a warm sunny day, OK?! Keep writing honey, we sure love to share your adventures!

Toad and Sue said...

the rain in wales falls mainly on the garls (thats "girls" with an english accent). The freezing coldness of your trip will probably make you remember it even better. Wales is beautiful when you don't have icicles hangin off your nose. Better lucky next time. :-)

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