Published: June 3rd 2012June 1st 2012
Hello everyone this is Jessica Peters and I am writing about our adventures we experienced this past Friday. First off this is my first blog ever so bear with me everyone. Hopefully I don’t put you all to sleep. Second off, our days in Europe are dwindling down! We only have four more days here. Today marked the first official day in Pen Y Pass and the view is amazing. When I ate breakfast this morning I could gaze out each window and see beautiful sheep covered mountains in the backdrop. Breakfast was filling for a change with more choices than just toast. After our full meal of eggs, sausage, hash browns, and backed beans (a normal breakfast choice in Europe????) we all boarded the bus. After a good trek across Wales we found ourselves at the University of Aberystwyth . Dr. Debbie Nash was there to greet us and toured us around the campus of their Bioscience Center.The main research that takes place in the labs consists of gut and hind gut fermentation/digestion. Dr. Nash also introduced us to their newest technologies like the PCR analysis machine and genomic sequencing devices.
Next Dr. Nash took us a mile down the road to their equine center. The farm consisted of 12 acres and an indoor arena, a hot walker, and several stable barns occupied the premises. We even got the opportunity to ride their 2 riding simulators they use to aid in riding techniques at the trot and canter. It was quite comical if I might add, but once we got over the hysterics of the headless horses, we could see the need and benefits of the machine.
After saying our goodbyes to Dr. Nash and presenting her with a Purdue Fleece blanket, we were off to Derwen International Welsh Cob Center. The drive to the Welsh Cob center was beautiful. The University is located along the coast line of the Atlantic Ocean so the sights were breathtaking. The cattle and sheep fenced in along ridges overlooking the ocean really take their pasture views for granted. So needless to say it was a great place for a photo op.
Just 5 minutes later we arrived at the Welsh Cob center. There we were greeted by the kind family who owned the farm. They had prepared a nice place for us to sit inside their arena and we all took a seat. Soon we heard the loud clopping of hooves coming down the cobblestone and the bold nickers of the farms well known Welsh Cob stallion. He was a deep dappled bay who knew he was a looker. He showed off for us a bit and ran around the arena with flashy high stepping strides. Once we all got our fair share of pictures, we walked out to the pasture with hopes of seeing their newest foal. When I walked around the corner it was a sight right out of the movies. The fog had started to move in and there stood the mare and her foal faintly in the fog’s background. So of course I quickly got out my camera and started snapping pictures with the rest of the group. Soon they became curious and walked up close so we could see her beautiful foal. He was a magnificent black colt with 4 white socks and a star. The owner told us he would remain a stallion and go on to show and breed for them. At the end of the tour they couple presented the group with a book they had made overviewing the history of their farm. They signed it and gave it to us as a gift to remember our visit.
Thank you’s rang out and Purdue gifts were presented but soon we found ourselves back on that blasted bus for another 2.5 hours back to the hostel.
Our hostel really is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains with no way to communicate to the outside world. No cell phone service, no Wi-Fi, no TV, just 23 students surrounded by mountains, each other, and sheep.
Don’t let me fool you though, we all love it. It is a complete 180 from the hustle and bustle of the London city atmosphere. Being in this type of setting with endless trails to hike and wonderful sights to see has been one of my most memorable parts of the trip. My only wish is that my camera could capture this areas true magnitude and beauty.
Well, I certainly hope you all have enjoyed my blog. I am not very good at this being that this was my first one ever, but needless to say I have a lot of great memories and loved sharing them with you. Only a few days left and we will be heading back to our normal lives trying to get back into our everyday routines. So for now, I am going to enjoy my last few days and get packed because we are headed to the Ferry tomorrow, Dublin bound!!!!
Best Regards, Jessica Peters