Monday, March 27, 2017

Castle Conwy & Snowdonia

Yesterday me, André and approximately 200 other international students took a day trip to Northern Wales. We had a pretty early wake up since the bus was leaving Nottingham at 7.30. On top of that, between Saturday and Sunday the clock was moved due to daylight saving's and we lost an hour. But still we woke up very eager and I even managed to sleep on the 3 hour bus ride to Wales.

The first stop was Castle Conwy, which was built between 1283 and 1289 and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We had about 1,5 hours to spend in Conwy, so we first walked inside the castle and took pictures from the towers. Medieval castles are cool and all, but I wouldn't say there's so much to see in the end - after 30 minutes we decided to go and get some coffee and take a look in the city. It was a small but a very cute city with lots of coffee shops and even a nice little beach. After a quick bite it was time to start making our way to Mount Snowden.

The trip to Snowdonia, which is a national park in Northern Wales, took about 45 minutes. We were amazed by the views on the way but had no clue that it was just about to get even better. The bus dropped us off and we began ascending the Miner's Track, which is one of the most popular and one of the easiest trails. In the beginning it was pretty easy, but the views were still terrific. 

After about an hour the trail started to get a lot steeper, but we continued on. I have to say that at the end, the road was very steep and rocky and it did feel a little bit dangerous. At one point we must have been maybe 20 minutes from the top when we realized we still had to get down and we only had about 2 hours left (which is how long it took for us to get where we were). Some people decided to continue to the top but me, and most of the others thought it would be safer to start making our way down. It felt pretty great to get where we were, and I was definitely pleased with my effort.

I know it doesn't look that steep or hard but when you walk this road for about an hour, IT IS HARD

The way up was tough, for sure, but the way down was so much worse for me. I am very scared of heights but when I was going up the mountain, it didn't really bother me because I didn't have to look down because I was focusing on choosing the right rocks to step on and so on. But on the way down I could constantly see the steep hill and the sharp, uneven rocks. It felt as if one wrong step would lead to me falling down, and I really started to panic. I would say the first bit was the hardest, and I could feel how my whole body started shaking and the lump in my throat grew bigger and bigger. At that moment I really wished there was some other way down, but with the encouragement and help from André and my friends I made it down. I was still scared the whole time, and could literally not do anything but try to concentrate and go slowly, but I did it! And that, in some way, was a bigger accomplishment for me than going up the mountain. 

After our track we still had a 4 hour bus ride home and we were all pretty exhausted from the hike. The bus was really hot too, so it felt heavenly to just come home, take a shower, eat something and then go to bed. I also would have had a 6.45 wake up today but decided that after yesterday, I definitely needed to sleep in. I mean I haven't missed a single seminar or lecture yet and I had a lot of early mornings last week so I definitely felt like I was worth it! All in all the trip to Snowdonia was wonderful and definitely an experience I will remember for a lifetime!

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