For the first trip on this semester’s Social Programme, we were all lucky enough to find ourselves whisked off to Wales, leaving at 7 in the morning, just as it was getting dark. As one of our guide Eric said, we were probably the least hungover group he’s ever had so early on a Saturday morning, so kudos to us all!
For much of the drive through London, Eric (and I’m sure the other guide on the other bus) talked a lot about some of the sites as we were passing through. Despite many of these little facts being interrupted by the Rugby, it was interesting none-the-less.
Once we hit the motorway, we were free to doze off to our hearts content, stopping only for the service station. Once we approached wales, over the giant Severn Bridge, we were told about our activities for the weekend and given information on what we were going to see that day. First stop for us was Caerleon, supposed birth-place of King Arthur. We also learned about the ancient Roman settlements and got to imagine how it must have been, 2000 years ago.
We then headed towards Caerphilly Castle, which you can see at the top of this post. Here we were told of the plot against the King and the most horrid punishments which were bestowed upon him and his ‘friend’, right after our lunch. As our guide said- it was rather romantic!
After a tour of the castle, we headed into the countryside towards the Museum of Welsh Life. This 100 acre site showed off all the history of Wales through its buildings, from old mining houses to the grand manor house.
After an hour exploring the grounds, we headed off to our luxury hotel in Swansea, where most enjoyed the eye-opening nightlife, and where some just stayed in bed to watch the X-Factor, knowing we had to be up again for our action packed Sunday.
On Sunday, with some of us worse for wear, we headed straight to the Big Pit, which is an old mine. We were given the chance to head down and experience the dark and claustrophobic environment that children as young as 10 had to suffer. It was an sobering experience, I’m sure many agree. From there, we took a quick trip to the town on Monmouth (passing a pimped out car with a Dukes of Hazards style horn) to grab some lunch, before heading to the old Cistercian abbey called ‘Tintern Abbey’, found on the bank of the River Wye. We learned of Henry VIII’s hatred of the Catholic church and were told about how the Abbey became the way it is today- a beautiful ruin.
After the Abbey, we had the trip back to London which was largely uneventful and was an opportunity to watch a film or catch up on some sleep!
Our next trip will be to Oxford and the Cotswolds, so we look forward to seeing you all there!