—by Todd Thorson, with correspondence courtesy of Molly Ammerman

(Roland-Story graduate and Central College senior Molly Ammerman studied abroad in Bangor, Wales last fall, as part of the Central College Study Abroad program. Molly visited such places as Ireland, London, Scotland, and later in the semester was even fortunate to travel to Rome, Greece, Krakau and Auschwitz. She arrived in Wales the second weekend of September and began classes September 30. She returned home on December 21. This is the second in a series of articles about Molly’s "once in a lifetime" experience, using photos, recollections and postings from her own blog, "The Life of Molly: Adventures Abroad", which she regularly wrote throughout her stay in Wales.)

After experiencing Ireland upon her first week arriving in the United Kingdom, Molly Ammerman finally settled into her permanent housing in Bangor, Wales, on September 17. She then began preparing for her fall semester classes. Within two days, however, she was off again on more "field trips" in and around Wales, taking in the historic castles and sites, as well as the beautiful mountain terrain around the area. A busy Thursday and Friday, September 19 and 20, soon unfolded:

"On Thursday, we started out with a visit to a huge castle called Caenarfon Castle," said Molly. "The walls of the outside castle were built around the small town. It was really neat to visit, not only because it was beautiful, but also because of the history behind it."

King Edward built the massive structure in the 1200s. And in 1969, Queen Elizabeth held the Investiture of Prince Charles at the castle. The special ceremony gave Charles the official title of "Prince of Wales".

"As a royalty geek, I thought that was really special, and even more impressive to have visited the site of such a huge event in (British) history," stated Molly.

The Castle Cricieth was next on the trip, and here Molly and her contingent had lunch and admired the beautiful land it overlooked.

"This castle was pretty broken down, since the government didn’t take ownership (of it) until (just) recently," Molly explained. "Because of this, people would come and cut the castle pieces out and use them to build things, including their own houses."

Next stop was for some "yummy" ice cream at a famous place called Cadwalader’s. Then they were off for a tour of the Llechwedd Slate Mines. "The work those men put into this kind of work is quite impressive," added Molly.

Friday saw a trip to the Snowdonia Mountains area. "We climbed up part of a mountain and headed to a beautiful lake area, and just walked around, amazed by (all of) the views," continued Molly. "The water was really clear and clean."

Waterfalls, and another castle, plus some more shopping and lunch, occupied the rest of day two. The latest castle, unfortunately, "wasn’t much of a castle," according to Molly. "It wasn’t quite as impressive as the ones we had seen the day before. Apparently this castle was ‘haunted’, and a lot of people had reported seeing some lady (there)…who knows!"

The last stop of the day was a "neat" town called Llandudno. Impressive and beautiful buildings lined the streets, and the quaint and interesting shops definitely caught Molly’s eye. There were rather unique shops, as opposed to those in Molly’s "home base" of Bangor. A visit to the largest pier in the United Kingdom brought an end to their two day adventure.

Following the weekend, Molly’s flatmates began arriving and moving in on Monday, September 22. It was enjoyable for Molly to finally start meeting new people. "Freshers Week", as it was called, quickly began to unfold, as students started moving in for the fall semester. Classes were scheduled to start on September 30.

After a somewhat stressful international meeting on campus held on Tuesday, September 23, which concerned classes and schedules, Molly and her friends were ready to head off to London for a few days on Wednesday, September 25. She was looking forward to seeing Buckingham Palace, and perhaps even getting a glimpse of the Royal Family!

Next time: Royal London!