Today was quite the lovely day, filled with wonderful sights. We started our morning with a quick breakfast that the hostel was graciously willing to serve early for our group. After our breakfast we trekked down the hill to the bus stop for the (approximately) hour long ride to Caernarfon (pronounced Car-nar-von). We then were able to ride the Welsh Highland Railway. The scenery was beautiful as we had a two hour ride from Caernarfon through Snowdonia National Park to Porthmadog. It was quite the lovely sight! We sat in an open 'observatory car' so we could take more pictures and feel the wind as the train made its way through the beautiful scenery. We saw a few different types of scenery - mountains, farmland, the glacial lake Llyn Cwellyn, and rivers snaking through some forests. When we made it to the end of the route there, it had started raining, so we made our way into one of the closed cars for the two hour ride back to Caernarfon. It was some quality group bonding time as we were able to play cards and chat with one another.
We also had our first class castle tour (presented by Malynda) at the Caernarfon Castle. I was personally amazed at how it looked as well as its size. Malynda was very helpful in telling us where everything was, and what the different parts of the castle were used for. When we were exploring on our own, many of us found our way up to the tops of the towers. This presented a wonderful view of the surrounding area! It was great fun to explore and find all the little secret passage ways and hidden rooms throughout the castle. We had lovely weather while we were in the castle, and I was surprised to find how quickly the weather had changed from the train ride!
When our castle tour was done, we ate dinner at Tafarn Y Bachgen Ddu (which is Welsh for the Blackboy Inn and Pub), for some lovely local food. It is actually one of the oldest pubs in Wales, which I thought was really cool! After we finished eating, it was back on the bus for another hour long ride back to Conwy. Four of us had left a little earlier than the rest of the group to get a couple things done at the hostel. We had a funny chat with an 8 year old boy on the bus. He asked us if we were American because we spoke "American". He was a comical child, who had quite the conversation about different movies and how he can speak "American" too. It was fun to hear him try to speak with an American accent, as I've never really thought about how we might sound to people from other countries. While riding back we had all seen a lovely rainbow outside. The rest of the group caught a later bus ride back to the hostel. They had gotten kicked off the bus in Bangor for some reason that was never discovered, and had to wait for the next bus to get to their stop before they could return to Conwy. A couple of the group members were complimented on their American accents during that bus ride (and we all love the British accents, what an interesting change of pace!) When we were all back, we had some down time - filled with laundry, cards, and getting caught up on a few things such as our journals.
Overall, I have absolutely loved my time on this trip so far. I've seen and experienced so many different things, it's almost unreal to me. The group is meshing really well, and we've all had a great time thus far!
I hope everyone back home in the states is having a lovely time , and that you've enjoyed keeping up on our travels and experiences!