|Take that, Cardiff|
So, time for a little treat. I looked at the rail and bus schedules to see where I could go on a day trip for 10 pounds. There are actually many places I can go north, east and west, but I wanted to be by the sea and had passed through Swansea on one of SeeWales tours of the Gower Peninsula, but only briefly.
So, off I went on my adventure to Swansea, the so-called 'second city' of Wales. I was hoping I could visit the seaside community of Mumbles, which I knew was west of Swansea, but didn't know if it was within walking distance.
Swansea, as it's famous son the poet Dylan Thomas wrote, is a 'ugly, lovely town.' It also has played second fiddle to the capital Cardiff for years. The owner of my favourite local cafe says the animosity between Swanseans and 'Diffians can be unpleasant. He himself is from the Swansea area, but 'You don't want to let them know you're from Cardiff, as I found out the hard way,' he said, turning serious and fading away from details.
'It probably should have been the capital of Wales, but it suffered terrible bombing during the War and was never properly rebuilt.'
What I didn't remember or realize was that the length of Swansea Bay from Swansea to Mumbles is flanked by an amazing pedestrian/cycling path. I was able to walk to Mumbles (a very hearty 2 hour walk followed by a seaside lunch and another hearty 2 hour return trek). I liked what I saw and think Swansea Bay is going to be a favourite getaway.
There must be something in the water there. Besides the poet Thomas, the area has been home to some excellent internationally known performers, among them Catherine Zeta-Jones and Bonnie Tyler (Mumbles), and the great actors Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and, my personal favourite, Michael Sheen (all from heavily industrial Port Talbot.)
And just on the far side of the Bay begin the breathtakingly beautiful beaches of the Gower Peninsula.
|In Swansea: 'a host, of golden daffodils' -- William Wordsworth|
|Seaside village of Mumbles|