Logbook #2

Travel News

How far did I travel this week?I traveled about 290 miles one way from London to the town of Llanberis in Snowdonia, Wales.

How far have I traveled on this journey so far?Going to Wales this past weekend is the most I’ve traveled since coming to the United Kingdom. I’ll be traveling to Stratford-upon-Avon in a few weeks, though.

How did I get around this week?Since a bunch of students were going as a group to Wales, we had four charter buses drive us there. But I had to take the Tube (subway) through London to get to the meeting place.

What was the most interesting place I visited this week?Definitely the hike to Mount Snowdon was the most interesting destination this past week. There’s a steam train that goes up the side of the mountain if you don’t want to hike, and there’s even a cafe at the top!

Other Travel News from this weekThis past week I started exploring social dance venues in London. I really love West coast swing and blues dancing, but I haven’t gone out to find where they teach lessons yet. On Monday a friend and I went to West London and took a lesson. At the end they had an hour of open DJed dancing, where you can practice everything you’ve learned. I was the only American, but everyone was so friendly, and they even knew some of my West Coast Swing friends from California! The dance world is a small world!

Nature News

How was the weather this week?The weather in Snowdonia was fairly nice. Snowdonia is in Wales, which is directly west of London, and one of the countries that’s part of the United Kingdom. The days were partly cloudy, but the sun still poked through. When we went for a hike to the top of Mount Snowdon, the weather got really cold, to the point that I couldn’t feel my fingers! It was also super windy and the summit of the mountain was inside a cloud! I was happy when we climbed back down the mountain and it warmed up so that I was comfortable in just a longsleeve shirt and jacket.

What animals did I see this week? Wales has sheep. Lots of sheep. Check out my Nature Field Note to read more about Welsh sheep. We also ran into a wild pony (well, a farmer probably owned it, but I can pretend it was wild) while hiking down Mount Snowden. The other students and I walked over to it and everyone started petting it. It was so tiny and super cute, and it made me want to horseback ride again.

What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?Hiking to the top of the tallest mountain in Wales, Mount Snowdon, was the coolest nature experience I had this week. I mean, for the last bit I was hiking inside a cloud, how cool is that?

Other Nature News from this weekOn our way back from Snowdonia we stopped in Llandudno, a Welsh town on the west coast of the United Kingdom. That meant I got to see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time since I’ve been in the UK. The water was pretty calm in Llandudno’s bay, but it was wonderful feeling the sea air and the shape of the cliffs that are shaped by the ocean’s waves.

Lifestyle News

What main languages are spoken here?According to the 2011 census, 19% of the population in Wales speaks Welsh, which is the native language of the country. Everyone speaks British English as well, but some people are bilingual. Welsh is a very interesting language. All the street signs are written in both Welsh and English. For example, in Welsh, “Welcome to Wales” is “Croeso i Gymru”. It was cool seeing all the Welsh, but I have no clue how to pronounce any of it!

What type of money is used here?The entire United Kingdom uses pounds, so the currency isn’t any different than in London, which was useful when I bought some food from a bakery.

How much does a bottle of water cost?Because we were in a more rural area as opposed to London, which is very expensive, water bottles were less than a pound!  That means they cost about a dollar each.

What was the best meal this week?My favorite meal in Wales was a fresh loaf of Bara Brith, which is like a hearty fruit and nut bread. I bought it from a bakery and ate it on the bus ride home. It’s absolutely amazing toasted with butter.

What music did I listen to this week?I listened to some classical music while studying, but other than that I just leave my bedroom window open and listen to sounds from the canal or the hustle and bustle of university life.

What activity was the most fun this week?Definitely hiking Mount Snowdon! Living in London I’ve come to miss being surrounded by mountains, so it was nice to spend some quality time hiking and being in nature.

What did I read this week?I’m in the middle of reading “The Design of Everyday Things”, which talks about design mistakes and how to analyze how people interact with objects to become better designers.

What games or sports did I play this week?During our Wednesday Ballroom Club practice, we learned the Natural Turn move for Quickstep. I highly recommend watching ballroom dance videos on Youtube to learn about all the different dances (just look up “Dancing with the Stars”).

Other news from this weekThe Rugby World Cup, which is happening in London right now, is coming to a close. This past week was the semi-finals, and soon they’ll have the finals! Rugby is like a combination of American football and soccer, but I haven’t watched a game yet, so I’ll let you know more once I learn the rules. But because of the Rugby World Cup, people have been setting off small fireworks at their homes in the evenings. Well, because of that and the equivalent of British July 4th is coming up soon.

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