Wendlandt enjoys People to People trip

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 8/13/96.

Given the opportunity to spend a month of his summer vacation in England and Ireland, Chris Wendlandt, 14, Paynesville, jumped at the chance. Chris said he received a letter in the fall of 1995 explaining the People to People program. He and his parents, Robert and Rhonda, talked it over and felt it would be a good experience for Chris.

The trip took 27 middle school age students to England and Ireland from June 12 to July 3. The group consisted of 10 students from Minnesota and 17 from Alabama. The group had home stays in Whitechurch, Ireland and Hertford- Hertfordshire, England.

Chris said the group landed in England and spent the first night there. They were then taken to the coast and ferried over to Cork, Ireland. Among the sites they visited were St. Paul's Cathedral, Blarney Castle, Woollen Mill, Killarney National Park, Cap of Dunloe and heard stories by Seanochi Batt Burns, Ireland's most famous story teller.

At Blarney Castle, Chris said he didn't bother to see the Blarney stone as the line was too long. However, he did take the time to visit the caves (dungeons) which he really enjoyed. At the Killarney National Park, they had a scavenger hunt, a boat trip through a chain of lakes, a jaunting car ride (horse cart) through the Gap of Dunloe.

Another stop in Ireland was the Bunratty Castle, the most complete restored medieval castle in Ireland dating back to the seventeenth century. On the entire trip, they toured about five medieval castles. At the Llechwedd Slate Caverns, a victorian underground mine, the tour group rode the underground railway and heard about the history of the mines. They also toured the Orme Copper mine where they enjoyed riding a 700-meter downhill toboggan ride. The toboggan ran on metal runners on a track down the hill. Chris said he rode down the hill twice.

"I never tired of seeing the old castles. They were all different and some consisted of a whole city," Chris said.

When asked what his favorite stops on the tour were, Chris said the castles, especially Blarney Castle because of the caves and dungeons with their torture rooms. "It was kind of fun seeing the different ways they tortured people and the items they used, like the iron mask," he said.

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