Classes. Library. Classes. Library. It was rather interesting however, when I was on the second floor of the library on the 7th and I heard singing. When I looked out the window, there was a group of about 20 men, all dressed in nice attire, blazers, dress pants, button down shirts, all singing and walking down the middle of the road. The library, you see is right next to Emirates Stadium, better known as the home of the Arsenal football club and it was game day. It was amusing to watch these men on their way to the game. On Friday, October 12th, I ran around London, making it to Victoria Coach Station with five minutes to spare before my seven and one-half hour bus trip to Haverfordwest, Wales, where I was going to participate in an "Adrenaline Rush" weekend, with about 13 other people from London Met. Friday night, when we all finally got to the camp/lodge place we were staying at, we were all rather restless/exhausted (interesting combination) and very HUNGRY - there were no stops to get food along the way (and note to self - NEVER forget a book or something to occupy my time for that long of a journey - it was SO boring!). When we got to Preseli Ventures, we were divided into our rooms and then taken down to dinner. Afterwards everyone kind of hung around talked amongst one another, learned new card games, etc, before going off to bed. The next morning, Loz, the program coordinator woke everyone up at 8:15 for breakfast, then at 9:30 the large group of LMU students and the other group sharing the weekend with us (a group of people celebrating one of their mate's 40th birthday), were divided into three smaller groups and sent off to do their activities. My first activity of the day? SURFING!!! We all donned 5mm thick wetsuits and wetsuit boots (I don't know what else to call them). Our instructors were amazing and they basically gave us a fifteen minute lesson on the shore, then sent us into the water - which was a bit intimidating as many of the waves were 6-7 feet high. First we learned the Cobra position, which consists of you surfing, without requiring you to actually stand on the board. It was a bit tough, but once I got the hang of it, I really enjoyed it - the trick is to balance yourself exactly in the middle of the board, making as little movement as possible, otherwise you may knock yourself off the board. After a little while of this, the instructors called us back onto the shore again and "taught" us how to stand on the boards and surf. I have taught in quotes because despite the fact they showed us how, only half of the people were actually able to get up. I managed up to one knee before getting knocked off a few times. I would so try surfing again though!
After three hours of this, we were all hungry for lunch, so we headed back to the bus for the ride back to the lodge. Around 14:15 (sorry, military time is very popular in London and I am starting to think in it sometimes...), the large group split again. Loz drove my group out about 7 miles from where we were staying, gave us all maps, told us that there was no way to get lost as long as we followed the path along the coast (which was anywhere from a bit of beaten down grass to a dirt about 18 inches wide, though generally it was only about 6 inches wide), there was no way we could get lost. Did I mention that it started to mist within about five minutes of her leaving with the minibus? Despite this, the hike was amazing - we walked along the coast of Wales, with cliffs to one side of us and huge pastures to the other side. We went up hills of rocks that were kept in place with pieces of wood and slid (not intentionally) down slopes of mud. There were little wooden paths that we had to cross to get over streams, and in the fields you had to maneuver your way around lots of cowpies. When we got to the woods, we had to guess which path would send us in the right direction and we passed under beautiful foliage and down into a field before finally making it to a road which meant that we were only twenty minutes from our destination. By the end of the seven mile hike, we had walked for about two and one-half hours, our shoes were soaked, our legs ached - but I really enjoyed it!!!! That night, EVERYBODY slept well!
The next morning (Sunday), Loz let us sleep an extra fifteen minutes and woke us up at 8:30...the first word spoken in our room of ten was a curse at the time, which was actually quite amusing. My only complaint - I was the top person in a three tier bunkbed and my muscles were aching - I wasn't looking forward to the climb down. We all headed down to breakfast again and then split into our groups. This time, I was set to go coasteering, which I had been looking forward to and scared of all weekend. We went to the shed, donned our lovely wetsuits again, picked out booties to go under our sneakers, pulled out wetsuit shorts to "protect our bums" (I was little worried when I saw a number of pairs with holes all throughout them...), buoyancy aids (aka life jackets) and helmets. If you haven't figured out what coasteering is yet, it means that we don all of this stuff, drive out to a beach, walk up a series of steps, down slate rocks, climb into freezing waters, test our buoyancy aids, and then begin swimming through the water, scrambling up little slate islands (all barehanded and those slate shards are SHARP!), diving into the waves as they came around the coast, scrambling over more rocks, trying to keep our balance on the mini islands as the waves got closer etc. Let's just say - everybody formed a very tight camaraderie during this activity because it went unspoken that if someone needed help up a rock, you helped them and that if you needed help, all you had to do was stick out a hand and one or two other people would help pull you in...it was great. Now comes the best part: we climbed over one of the rock formations, ran headfirst down a sloped part of the cliff into the water, swam across a lagoon, up some more rocks and then to a jumping point. That's right, a jumping point. We were then instructed how to jump into the water. I went three times: once from a height of 15 feet, the second time from a height of twenty feet and the third time from a height of thirty feet. I was so nervous jumping that the first two times, my eyes were closed the whole time. The third jump, I had to work my nerve up for about 5 minutes (I think I made every excuse about why I wasn't jumping yet). Finally, I got up the nerve and jumped. My eyes closed and then my only thought was, "Why am I not hitting anything yet?!?!" My eyes opened, I watched the second half of the fall, saw my feet hit water and slammed my eyes shut again. It's such a strange feeling because you feel the force of your jump and you feel yourself propelled under the water, but then you feel yourself floating up to the surface, without trying to - its such an amazing feeling - I would love to try it again, now that I know that I can do it! Luckily, as soon as I got changed, I was able to run back to take pictures of the rocks. Josh had asked if he could and the guy told him to hurry up and Phil and I ran barefoot back up the rocks to take pictures with him - it was so beautiful! Afterwards, we got back to the lodge, I was finally able to get a shower (there finally was no line for the showers!), packed, grabbed lunch, and got on the mini bus to get to the coach station for my seven and one-half hour ride back (luckily, the driver actually made a rest stop this time!). It was so nice to go to sleep last night in my own bed. When I woke up this morning, I only had two bruises, two cuts on my hands, one on my face and a few muscle aches, but the weekend was amazing and SO WORTH IT!!!!! If you are ever in the area, go for it, if not, find someplace that you can try all of this.
Talk to you later!