A few weeks ago my brother and I took a trip to Rotterdam. I’d never been in the city proper before, only to concert venues on the fringes, and I was surprised at how modernist and industrial it is. To get the Netherlands to surrender, the Germans bombed Rotterdam on May 14 1940, threatening to do the same to other cities, like Utrecht. Rotterdam used to resemble Amsterdam in its architecture, but is now full of interesting postwar and more recent buildings. For architecture and culture, Rotterdam is hard to beat.
In addition to being a very picturesque seaside town, Penarth, just south from Cardiff, is one of the best places in Wales to find fossils. They wash up by the bucket load! Just a few years back, the first dinosaur ever to have been found on Welsh soil, was found near here, a 200 million-year old Jurassic carnivore named Dracoraptor hanigani.
Yesterday I visited the famous Tintern Abbey in the southeast of Wales, close to the border with England. The first time I ever heard of it was during my Bachelor’s when we studied William Wordsworth’s poem “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798“. Quite a mouthful!
Last week I spent a beautiful weekend in the seaside town of Aberystwyth, on the west coast of Wales. I took the train up to Cartmarthen and there transferred to a bus, which took in a beautiful part of the coastline on its way to Aberystwyth. I had been told that it’s probably the most “Welsh” town there is. It reminded me of Brighton, mostly because of the sunny weather and the candy-coloured houses, but yes, it was undeniably Welsh: the red Welsh dragon was ubiquitous. I even saw somebody wearing suspenders with the Welsh flag on them!as it’s closer to the north than Swansea, there is a higher number of people who speak Welsh. Signs and menus were nearly all bilingual.
I have been in Wales for a little over a month now, but it feels three times as long! Not only am I kept very busy at work, I try to make the most of my weekends by going exploring. Last weekend I returned to the Gower peninsula, and this weekend I visited Caerphilly Castle, the largest castle in Wales, which was high on my to-see list.
Two weeks ago my supervisor at my internship gave me one day’s notice to go to Caernarfon in the north of Wales to visit a literary festival, Gwyl Arall, and gave me permission to take a day or two to off to enjoy myself there since I’d technically be working on the weekend. Transport and accommodation paid for? How could I say no!
I am currently doing an internship in Swansea, South Wales, and on my way there last week I spent a most lovely day in Bath, in England. A charming little town, Bath was most famously inhabited by Jane Austen and, just a little before that, by the Romans. What I was most excited to see were the Roman thermal baths – or rather, what was left of them. I’d also brought my new 50mm camera lens that I was eager to try out and which I’m very pleased with thus far. All photos can be seen in better quality on my Flickr page!