Monday, May 9, 2011

Last Norman Castle and the Welsh Mountain Zoo

It's hard to believe that I have been here for 4 months already and I have less than a month left before it is time to head back to Iowa. It seems like just yesterday I was scared out of my mind walking off that plane in Manchester. It also seems like just yesterday when we headed to our first of many castles. The first castle we visited was Caenarfon and it was absolutely breathtaking. We do have one field trip left next week, and it does involve a castle, but not a Norman castle; it's a modern castle (but I will talk about that after I visit it). Anyways, I have visited more castles than most native Welsh people ever have or will visit in just one semester.

The last Norman castle we visited this semester was also the one that was closest to us. On Sunday we visited the town of Conway that has one of the most beautiful castles out there. The town also has one of the only still intact medieval town walls. We started our tour of the city by walking almost completely around the town walls. It was super cool towering over the city on the walls. You could see for miles in every direction from every point of the wall; great line of defense back in the day. Once we arrived at the castle there was plenty of exploring to be done. We went in search of the well and the dungeon that Tecwyn told us were must sees. Having a well inside the castle walls was also a great line of defense and was also quite uncommon for that time in history. Having a water source inside the castle would allow the people inside it to hold out longer against attackers. The well had to be quite deep to be reliable so that was cool to see. It took us awhile to actually find the dungeon but in the mean time we climbed the towers and walked the walls. From the towers the castle on the inside was amazing. All of the other castles we have been too have just been wide open for the most part on the inisde, but no this one. This one had all sorts of chambers and sections; very unique! Once we found the dungeon it was easy to see why it would be feared. Once in it, there was really no way out. The only way in was through a trap door, so you didn't want to be someone who wound up in there because there was no way you were getting out.

After Conway we headed to Colwyn Bay to visit the Welsh Mountain Zoo. I haven't been to a zoo in many years so this was quite the treat. There is something about being at a zoo that makes me feel like a kid. Of course the Welsh Mountain Zoo was no San Diego Zoo or any other major city zoo, but it was still pretty cool. When we first pulled in the first animal we saw off the right left was a big old brown bear. I'm sure they strategically placed the bear right at the entrance to get everyone excited, and hey it worked! Some of my other favorite attractions had to be the reptile house, the sea lions and top of the list would have to bee the tigers. We even got to see a bird show that included a penguin march. After the bird show there was a sea lion training but we had to leave, I was super sad. One of the best parts about zoos are their play grounds. We got to mess around on the slides and the tire swings and the obstacle courses.

So this week I'm working on a lab report and some journals. Other than that all I have is a final on the 26th. So from here on out I should be able to take it easy... haha hard to take it any easier than I already have these past few months, but I will try ;o)

Until next time...


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