Wales: Day 32 Better Slate than Never

I was recently called out for not posting on this Wales blog. I know. It’s been forever. Wales is becoming a distant memory, so this journal I kept was definitely a blessing. So here you go, Anisa. I’m going to make a conscious effort to catch this thing up before December.
So back to Conwy Hostel. Wednesday, August 4, I woke up to another fantastic hostel breakfast. then we headed off to the Trefiw Wool Mill & Museum. Does that just sound like the most boring morning of all time? I certainly thought so. I’ve never been a wool fanatic (maybe that has to do with my Silence of the Lambs obsession?) and the cold misty rain was doing nothing to allay my annoyance.
Turns out, actually really cool. I mean, I knew there were sheep EVERYWHERE in the UK. But I’d never seen the intricate processes behind a wool mill where the fluff ends up. The big spinners and spools were pretty cool, and the big wool gift shop was worth over an hour of entertainment. Nothing like a pile of wool and fur blankets, Anna Karenina costume role play, and some wonderfully hideous wool sweater vests.


On to the Llanberis Slate Museum. Now this was a great experience. Again, I thought “Really? A Slate Museum? REALLLLLLY?” We’d seen tons and tons of castles, but as much as we joke-complained about it, I’d have much rather seen more castles than go to a wool mill or a slate museum, for crying out loud. Slate mining is a huge part of the industry of North Wales and Tom had told us this place was awesome, so we bit the bullet. After trying our best to waste our limited free time, we had to meet the group for the slate-splitting demonstration.
Most of our group sat on the front row of the little auditorium area, but me, Kayla and Kelsey came in late (we found a chocolate vending machine…), so we had to go sit in the top of the bleachers. Kelsey and Kayla are both super tall, hence the nickname “Amazons” or “Zons,” and of course I’m a shrimp so I was standing to be able to see. The older gentleman came in to run the demonstration, and he was hilarious. He instantly had us laughing. Finally he called for volunteers. Tom had encouraged us all to volunteer, so we all had our hands up. I saw him look up and make eye contact with me, but then he walked up to this woman sitting in the front row, about 5 rows in front of me, so I figured I was not gonna get picked.
Old man to old lady – “Would you help me pick? There’s a little blonde up at the top. She’s gorgeous.”
Everyone in my group breaks into peals of laughter and everyone in the bleachers turns to look at me.
Old Lady turns and picks a little girl in the center section that had her hand raised.
Old man – “What? A little girl? Little girl, how old are you? You’re 9? That’s too young!” Turns to me. “How old are you ma’am?”
Danica “…. How old do you think I am?”
He raises his eyebrows, lets out a whistle-exhale and runs his hand over his balding head. My group is laughing like crazy and shaking their heads at me.
Old man – “Ok ok. Well do you have a boyfriend?”
Danica – I smile and bite my lip. “Nope.”
Old man – Straightens his collar and stands up. “Well, alright then! Get down here!”
It was hilarious. He sits down by the slate splitting machine and pats his knee, like I’m supposed to sit on it. My mouth drops open and fresh laughter rebounds off the metal walls. He gets up and allows me to sit on the chair and hold the slate. He shows me how to place my hand on the large piece of slate and then holds his hand on top of mine and turns to wink at the crowd, which goes wild, naturally.


So guess who is AWESOME at splitting slate? And at charming old men? This girl.

Afterwards, he had me stand up in front of everyone and acted like he was going to slash my wrist with this metal tool. I was TRIPPIN BALLS. I was squirming like crazy and my group was loving it. I wasn’t. Turns out, it’s not sharp at all, and the guy cut a heart out of the slate that I split and gave it to me! 🙂


The main event of the day was the majestic Mount Snowdon. It’s the highest mountain in the UK at 1085 m, 3553 ft. It’s only like 1/3 of the height of Mount Timpanogos, allegedly, but it’s a pretty intense hike. It takes 2.5 hours up, 2 hours down, and it’s cold, misty and wet (Wales. Duh.), so that takes it up a few notches. It was an optional hike, and I was still nursing my idiotic injury sustained at Beaumaris, so I opted out. And yeah, I hate nature and hiking, so that wasn’t too heartbreaking. It was really nice though. I ended up spending the entire afternoon with Jennifer. We went shopping in the little boutiques, got some great fish and chips, walked up to Snowdon Castle and had copious amounts of girl talk.

Lovely.

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