Croeso i Cymru: Welcome to Wales

Llyn (Lake) Padarn, Llanberis, Wales

Llyn (Lake) Padarn, Llanberis, Wales

Snowdonia, Wales

What would you think of, if you thought about Wales?

Clive and I compared notes before visiting this country. We both knew of its coal-mining history and great men’s choirs, which were often formed in mining towns. We knew it had beautiful scenery, words with few vowels, and impossible-to-pronounce place names.

Its name is a tourist magnet

Its name is a tourist magnet

Subtle and Mysterious

On first impression, Wales reminds me of both New Zealand and Scotland, but seems more subtle and mysterious than either of those countries. All three are lush and green, with beautiful coastal and inland scenery and lots of sheep everywhere.

View from our cottage, near Bala, Wales

View from our cottage, near Bala, Wales

New Zealand actively promotes its adventure travel opportunities, Maori culture, and spectacular wine regions. As I wrote in ‘The Allure of Scotland’, there it’s often about clans and tartans, Highland games, bagpipes, castles, and a proud, bloody history.

Wales has had its share of wars, and its castles are now tourist attractions, as they are in Scotland. But history here isn’t in your face the way it is in Scotland. Wales seems quiet to me, at least in the Snowdonia region, with a sense of calm and peacefulness that comes from being surrounded by nature.

A Few Surprises

We were aware Wales was making a concerted effort to re-introduce the Welsh language into its culture, but I’ve still been surprised at how much Welsh is spoken everywhere we go. I’ll write more about this, and about the Welsh red dragon (the country’s national symbol), in upcoming posts.

We’ve seen some unusual sights, and a few that just made us smile.

Clive wondered what the joining fee was

Clive wondered what the joining fee was

Most of all, we visited Wales to relax and do as much walking as possible in this beautiful country.

On the Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales

On the Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales

More to come.

9 Responses

  1. Hi Carolyn..I have never been to New Zealand or North Wales…they both look lovely.

    The Welsh are making an effort to keep the language in the South, I believe..I lived in Wales, in Llantwit Major, not far from Cardiff and no Welsh was spoken there, I never heard any put it that way.

    In the North, they speak it all the time, they can speak English too..!! Only when they choose too, depends on what part you go to. And where you come from, get my drift!!

  2. Hi Carolyn,

    Wales souns fascinanating ! Yes, do tell us more in future posts !
    I have never been there, but I’m very attracted to the European countries that have a Celtic background. Myself being Irish through my Dad.

    Keep on enjoying & see you soon.
    Cheers !

  3. It looks sooooo beautiful! Can’t wait to hear if Clive got you all the way to the top of Snowdonia! And to hear how your cottage was!

  4. I once made a quick foray into Wales. I wanted to get to the area where Merlin was said to have lived along with the King he influenced, but I never made it that far. I liked the undeveloped feel that it had.

  5. Looks just beautiful. My best friend lives in Cardiff and oh yes they have wonderful voices. Enjoy yourself Caroline!

  6. Beautiful! Another place to add to my wish list.
    The weather looks gorgeous too. Lucky!

  7. Anne, interesting you lived near Cardiff! and Lilly, that your best friend is there 🙂 Barbara, there’s definitely a Celtic influence, and Linda, the Merlin legends, too.

    Kim, I’ll write more about our walks but we didn’t get to the top of Snowdon (no-one did – trains not running more than halfway or so due to high winds, and they wouldn’t let passengers out … ) Disappointing but maybe another time! (Clive’s been up there before but we had hoped to walk down together.)

    Nadege, we were indeed blessed with great weather (except for the aforementioned high winds preventing me from seeing the top of Snowdon). It really is a beautiful country.

  8. Hi Carolyn!

    Great trip!! I loved looking at your pics and reading about your travels… Wales looks like a beautiful place, indeed and I am very happy that they are making such efforts to preserve the language… When I lived in NZ in 1985, I know that the native Maori lang. was not spoken as much as in the past.. I don’t know if there has been a resurgence since then.. Also, when I was in Polynesie, I spoke a lot with people there about the native lang- Tahitian, dying out with the younger generations… I don’t know if it’s taught in school there as a first lang. but my impression is that French is the first language now… It’s sad, in that way, that the native people risk losing their mother tongue… It’s like the language is an “endangered spieces” at risk of becoming extinct. When we were in Dublin, everything was in English and Gaellic… Very cool…
    Anyhow.. glad to have met you and Clive- seems so long ago already but I hope to have the chance to meet you both again in the future..
    Take good care, Leesa

  9. Leesa, great to ‘see’ you and you make excellent points about local languages and trying to preserve them.

    Cheers and see you next time!

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