We decided to go to Wales for a weekend while touring the UK and never regretted the decision even once. Wales is so different from the busy areas of England that we were holidaying in, that it was a bit of a relief to get away and relax in Swansea for a couple of days.
Swansea is a lovely little town which had its roots in coal mining in the past. An excellent public transport system made travelling around the city economical and comfortable. Most buses ply to and from the Quadrant main bus terminus which also boasts of a great shopping mall around it. We spent a lot of time there walking around the shops and eating in the lobby area. But the nicest bit is the market where for me a fruit aficionado, I could get a huge variety of the choicest peaches and cherries which were in season. The shops have lots of imported goods from all over the world and surprisingly at reasonable prices, so we spent time wandering around picking up gifts for family back home.
Swansea is known as the city of castles. There seem to be castles everywhere we went, not much left of them standing though, but they must have been amazing places in their hey day. The one in Mumbles which is a resort town and famously the home of Catherine Zeta Jones has a castle called Oystermouth. The Castle stood on the top of a little hill with a magnificent view over Swansea Bay. Apparently the castle was the residence of the Lords of the Gower and was destroyed by the Welsh first in 1116 and later in 1215. If you are a lover of history, itís marvelous to wander around these castles and maybe sit in the shadow of the great walls eating your sandwich and imagining the rush and clamour of horses and knights having roamed the very area you are seated on, in the distant past.
One day should be kept aside to visit the Gower Peninsula. We took a bus to Rhossili Bay and were warned to go warmly clad even though it was summer and wear tough shoes as the bus drops you off, leaving a longish walk to the beach. Unprepared for the spectacular view before us, we gasped in pleasure with the sheer beauty of our first view of the Gower Peninsular. No photograph can do justice to this wonder of nature and no wonder the Welsh are so particular about preserving the place.
Being terrified of heights and the sheer drop from the cliffs looking over the bay, I stayed away from going too close to the edge. But the best pictures can be had if you can gather up enough courage to walk closer to the edge of the promontories jutting out over the beach below.
Instead I slowly made my way down to the water and admired the pebbles and granite outcroppings which were exposed since the tide was out. Smooth as babies cheeks, the white granite pebbles have been worn into curious shapes by the constant ebb and flow of the waves. But naturally I took a tiny one as a keepsake of my visit.
Later we sat among the flowering yellow gorse bushes, sipping hot coffee from flasks we had carried and enjoying fresh sandwiches we had bought on our way out from the TESCOís in the Quadrant, looking out at the breathless beauty of the Gower.