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Natalia Toropova (Intermediate). II место в конкурсе эссе
My Prayers Were Answered (эссе, 2010)

Natalia Toropova (Intermediate). II место в конкурсе эссе My Prayers Were Answered

My second visit to the UK was in April 2010 and that is the trip that I’ll never forget. It was a journey to South Wales, the homeland of my friend. At the border of Wales I was greeted by a sign which said “Croeso I Gymru” (Welcome to Wales). The Welsh people honour their heritage and their own language, so all signs and street names are written in two languages, English and Welsh.

Wales is well known for its wet and changeable weather, its evergreen meadows, hills and valleys with many sheep and cows, ancient castles and kilometers of beautiful coastline. I felt overjoyed.

My home for the next two weeks was not a small house (a chalet) near the town of Kidwelly on the shore of the Irish Sea. The chalet was situated only thirty meters from the beach and the sea. I saw the tides of the Irish Sea twice a day. It was incredible for someone like me who lives by a river to see the water disappear and a beautiful coastline appear in front of you. At some places the width of the coast could be over a kilometer. This gave an opportunity to all people to enjoy the beach, play games, relax or look for crabs, mussels and cockles (a special delicacy). But then hours later the water would return, blanket the sandy shore again and cover all of the footprints and traces of the people who had visited the beach that day. The Gower coastline has the best beaches and coastline in Europe.

Natalia Toropova (Intermediate). II место в конкурсе эссе My Prayers Were Answered

In a small village I visited the church of Saint Thomas which was built in the sixteenth century. Inside the church was a visitor’s book which had a record of all the people who had visited this beautiful building. I signed in the book and couldn’t help wondering if I was the first Russian who had been there. The village of Kidwelly is an ancient place and I visited the ancient remains of the Llanstephan and Kidwelly castles which were built in the twelfth century to protect the Welsh coastline from attacks. I was amazed to see how well preserved these castles were. I was allowed to enter and climb the castle walls and imagine what it was like to live inside those great buildings.

With my friend I explored this scenic land and visited many traditional small villages, larger towns and cities, we stopped in local pubs and tasted the real ale (beer) and traditional food cowl (soup).Wales is also known as “the land of song” and I saw this at a local rugby match. Before the game started, both teams and spectators sang their traditional songs.

I also visited a horse racing stadium; this was my first experience of predicting the winner. As the races started I forgot about everything else and screamed aloud with excitement. They say that beginners can be lucky and we had our luck as our selections won 4 out of the 6 races YIPPEE!!!!

Natalia Toropova (Intermediate). II место в конкурсе эссе My Prayers Were Answered

The time of my holiday had come to an end and it was time to return home, but I did not want to leave, I wanted so desperately to stay longer. And my prayers were answered!!!!! A volcano in Iceland had erupted. All flights in the UK and Europe were canceled. While thousands of people were stranded in panic and millions of people all over Europe were worried about their relatives, I was indescribably happy, “over the moon”, “jumping for joy”. My only concern was about my mother and friends who were worried about me. So, while I waited for the volcanic ash to disappear, I had more time to explore this friendly country. After a few days the news was announced that the volcanic ash was slowly disappearing and my heart sank with sadness.

We decided to spend the last two days of my holiday in England, in the ancient Roman City of Bath, which is one of the most visited cities in the UK. It was built many centuries ago by the Romans when they invaded the British Isles. The very first public bath was built there and it is still in working condition, many ancient buildings have been restored and preserved. It was incredible for me to see so much history with my own eyes in every town and village. This was not a journey out of a tour guide, I visited more landmarks than any tour guide could describe and felt so much at home.

Finally and sadly, my second visit to the UK had come to an end and it was time to go home. As I boarded the plane with tears in my eyes and a camera filled with memories, I said to myself “I will return, I will be back someday”.

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