I was sad to leave Ireland behind, but also eager to move on to Wales and England. We took a ferry from Dublin to North Wales, and the ferry looked more like a cruise liner than a ferry. I was picturing something more like the Staten Island Ferry, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Once we got to Wales, we headed to a town called Llanfairpwllgwyngllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoh.
No, I didn’t just have a seizure while typing, that’s the actual name! A Welsh woman recited the pronunciation, and it was beautiful, and really entertaining to hear.
We then moved onto a town called Beaumaris to see Beaumaris Castle, and…wow. It was breathtakingly beautiful. The town was so quaint and charming, I don’t know how anyone could visit there without feeling absolutely at peace with the world.
The castle was extraordinary, it was dark and rocky inside with many twists and turns, I felt like a little kid exploring and trying to find my way out. I found a bird’s nest with two baby seagulls. It was so neat! I wanted to take a picture of them, but the poor things looked really scared from my intrusion so I let them be.
After the castle, we wandered around the town for a bit and it was surreal. It was a perfect time for my group to bond and take in this amazing opportunity we are experiencing together. It was one of those, “I can’t believe I’m really here!” moments.
After that, we headed out to our hotel and the scenery on the ride was gorgeous. There aren’t enough adjectives in the world to describe just how beautiful it was. A few girls on my tour and I just sat there and chatted a bit about what we were all experiencing and how we know our lives are changed for the better because of it.
We made it to our hotel which was in the middle of nowhere, so we had a nice night in sitting and chatting. Some of my favorite experiences have been just sitting around with a few drinks and getting to know everyone I’m traveling with. Sometimes it’s tempting to go straight to my room and sleep, but it always pays off to push through because I’ve had some great conversations with my new friends late at night at the hotels.
Before this trip, I’ve only heard of Wales but I didn’t know much about it other than it being a part of the UK. Now I would say it’s definitely a must-see to anyone traveling through Europe, and I really hope I get the chance to return.
The next morning we set out for Stratford-upon-Avon to see Anne Hathaway’s (Shakespeare’s wife, not the actress) cottage, then onto Shakespeare’s childhood home and resting place. I was really excited for that because I love Shakespeare and theatre.
Stratford-upon-Avon was lovely. To me, it was the perfect little English village. Rich in history and beauty, and full of Elizabethan style homes and buildings. My favorite part of the Shakespeare experiences was watching actors perform Shakespeare monologues and dialogues outside. We got to put in suggestions of what we wanted to hear, and I requested Macbeth. The actors chose to perform the Witches’ prophecy which was neat.
After that, I walked up to the Avon River and there were a bunch of boats selling gifts, coffee, ice cream, and sandwiches. I was joking with someone from my group saying how we’ve seen plenty of food trucks before, but never any food boats! I ordered a ham and Brie and mango chutney baguette sandwich for only 3 pounds and it was delicious!
We walked around town a bit after that just to take in all of the beauty and history. As we were making out way back to our bus, we passed by a street performer who was singing and playing “Sweet Caroline” on a guitar. It was so awesome that I happened to be passing by as he was performing that song. We all started singing along (and added BUM BUM BUM and SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD) and I shouted, “I’m Caroline!!” to the performer. It was a really special moment for me!
Now I’m sitting on the bus and we are on our way to LONDON!!! I feel like a little kid, I am SO excited to be in London and I can’t believe I’m only a few hours away from being there. I said this to some of my travelers, and I sincerely believe it, I think so far the trip has been worth every single penny, and we’re only five days in. You just can’t put a price on certain moments and experiences.
I can only imagined how I’ll feel once I’ve made it through London. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Until then…