As our time in Wales drew to a close our group headed to Ceredigion and Ponterwyd to explore the Nantoes Mansion and do some hiking/bird watching at the Nant Yr Arian forest.
Getting to tour the Nantoes Mansion was fantastic. It was my first time ever being in a five star hotel/restaurant and, while I won’t be ordering any £40 meals any time soon, getting to see the 18th century architecture and the mansions garden was a great experience. I loved how the tour guide said the estate now has “ONLY 500 acres of land.” Also the Mansion is apparently haunted and was featured on the show Ghost Hunters International. I’m glad we went in the morning.
After our tour around the mansion we headed to the Nant Yr Arian forest preserve for some more outdoorsy activities. We ended up getting to the preserve three hours ahead of schedule, so after eating lunch we decided to hike up a hill near the lake. Although it started raining half way up, the amazing view of the forest from atop the hill was totally worth it. I’m glad we were able to get one more short hike in and a view of some Welsh mountain ranges and rolling hills before leaving Wales.
At 3 p.m. we also got to see the feeding of the once endangered Red Kite birds. They are one of the most unique birds of prey and nothing like anything I’ve seen before in Florida. We were even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the albino Red Kite that sometimes comes to the daily feeding. Because of the bottleneck effect from when the species what near extinct, there are about six white Red Kites in Wales.
Although I’m sad that our groups time in Wales is coming to an end, I’m extremely grateful for the people who have been there along the way to guide me in my first experience abroad and the friends I’ve made along the way. Never in my life did I think I would be given the opportunities to learn and experience so many amazing things in such a beautiful country. These past six weeks were definitely the trip of a lifetime. I’ll be going back to America with an expanded world view and a much deeper appreciation for the beauty in life. I hope one day I’ll be able to come back to the country that taught me so much about culture, history and, most importantly, myself.