Anchors a Wales
Pretty much every study abroad student I know has big dreams of traveling during their time overseas, and I was no different. When I left for my internship and study abroad program in Dublin, I already knew that I was planning to take advantage of my days off to travel and see as much of the world as possible. In Ireland, every few months of so there are what are known as “Bank Holidays”, which are just holidays when the bank closes and most people are off work. Because of this, all of the interns had a long weekend, which meant my big opportunity for traveling had arrived!
Now, a few months before I came to Ireland, I saw a Buzzfeed video about an underground trampoline park in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. Wales is only about a 3 hour ferry ride away from Dublin, so this seemed like the perfect chance for me to travel and to check out probably the coolest trampoline park I’ve ever been to! I booked my tickets to Wales and found a local bed and breakfast at Holyhead, which is where the ferry lands, and soon I was ready for my adventure!
Since I only had the weekend in Wales and I wanted to make the most of my time, I got on the ferry at 6:00 in the morning so that I could have the whole day to explore. The ferry ride was pretty peaceful, which was nice, and by the time I got to Holyhead, the train to take me out to the National Park was just pulling into the station—perfect! The train to Snowdonia was one of the most beautiful trips I have ever taken. It drives out through the farms outside Holyhead, and then winds its way up through the mountains and right into the park. At the end of the line, I hurried up to ZipWorld, the trampoline park. It was amazing! It turns out the trampoline park is actually built in an old Victorian Slate Mine, which is still used as a quarry today! I had about an hour and a half of bounce time, and by the end of it I was more than happy to take the train back to Holyhead to check into the B&B.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while abroad is to be flexible, which proved to be valuable when one of the pipes in the top floor of the B&B burst and flooded my room! The owner ended up checking me into another guesthouse down the road, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the second B&B was much cozier! After my interesting night, I woke up the next morning to a full welsh breakfast and then started off on a three hour hike out to South Stacks Lighthouse before my ferry came at noon. The hike was gorgeous—it wound up around the cliffs on the point of Holyhead, passed through some prehistoric hut circles, and finally ended up at a bird watching center where I was able to see Puffins! It was a lovely hike, and I made it back to the ferry right on time to head back to Dublin.
Overall, my little weekend away was quite the adventure. If anyone is planning to go to Wales, I would definitely recommend it. The sights are gorgeous, the people are lovely, and hey, when else are you going to get the chance to hang out in an underground trampoline park?
Jessica F. is a CEA alumni. She is studying abroad in Dublin in the summer of 2017 and is currently a junior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.