Friday, August 07, 2009

UK Trip: Wales (Swansea, Tintern)

Castle Square, Swansea. Along the edge of the fountain is a line (0r 2) from a Dylan Thomas poem. In addition to a national museum and the Dylan Thomas Center, we went for a mid-day drink and the world's best cheese plate at the No Sign Bar, one of Mr. Thomas' haunts. I had cider, which, of course, was a lot stronger than what you get here, but the cheese, oh the cheese. A really aged cheddar, something soft like Camembert/Brie, and another kind. Plus, some mango chutney and crackers and butter. YUM!

Rhossili Bay. I don't know if this was one of the beaches and/or cliffs we walked along in the wind and rain back in '91. If not, we went to some places like this.

The only picture of Ryan and I together that we have (for obvious reasons).

Walking along the edge here made me want to scoot on my butt, but it was so beautiful that I just kept pushing myself. Maintenance provided by sheep.

The sign, in Welsh and English saying stay away from the edge, you nimrod, or you might fall over. You will see that the sheep don't get too close here--they're not stupid. Read Why Didn't They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie for a story that involves a treacherous cliff in Wales.

If it hadn't been so late (the sun's position there makes it light a lot later--this was about dinnertime), we might have gone down to the beach, but it was cool to just see it. Plus, I didn't want to fiddle with tide tables since they change fast there and everyone has a story about getting stranded.

Ryan did really well with the driving. He said it wasn't so much driving on the other side of the road or shifting with the other hand, but the narrow roads that often aren't wide enough for 2 cars and have a stone wall on one side and a gigantic truck on the other. This picture is of a road with two-way traffic on it, even though it's barely wide enough for one car.The Mumbles, which is near Swansea. We went there for just an hour or two, to see the little picturesque seaside town and get some dinner. Fish and chips. And cider.

Tintern Abbey. I really wanted to go there, partially because I'd heard it was beautiful and partially because I've always struggled with Wordsworth and I have to teach his poem. I don't know that I now am a huge fan of his, but I do get why he was so moved by this place. I was moved as well. He viewed it from a few miles away, up on the hills. I stood inside the ruins of the abbey. I could imagine the monks there. I could imagine the people coming for Mass.

When we first arrived, it was raining--hard. Seeing as the place has no roof thanks to Henry VIII, we were under umbrellas and I had my hood up. I actually took a few pictures from under an umbrella that turned out okay. I really cared because I wanted to take pictures back to share when we read the Wordsworth poem. It's so long and I thought that the visuals would help.
The church. There are also ruins of the other buildings that made up the abbey. We even enjoyed finding the toilets (smallish room with a deep trench attached to drains).


Lainey-Paney said...

What WONDERFUL pictures!
That 2nd one {the one of the two of you} is my favorite. Frame-worthy, I tell ya!

Kate said...

Thanks! I love that one, too.

Loni said...

Beautiful! Makes me want to go there.