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Published: July 16th 2018
We had had 3 great days in London and it was now time to move on to the next part of our journey. Everyone whom I taught or who knows me well, knows of my love of the poetry of Dylan Thomas. His language and imagery lives on forever. I have not been to south Wales and especially Swansea and Laughaurne which were his birthplace and home so that's where we headed. We took a cab to Paddington Station, having bought our tickets the day before. Earlier we had breakfasted at Cafe Madeira. The train was scheduled for 10-30 and it was only at 10-20 that the board told us to go to Platform 2. There was a huge rush towards that platform and we walked to the fourth carriage and got on. It was packed. Every seat was taken and people were still cramming in. A nice man, who was seated said we could have his seat as he was only going to the first stop, Reading. Soon, though, there was an announcement asking all those who were only travelling to the first 3 stops to go to a different platform Nobody moved for awhile until a second announcement said
Another view of Swansea Castle with the beautiful flower displays
that as the train was overcrowded it would not move unless people got off. So our friend and his wife and several others left the carriage, making room for us who were going the whole 4 hour trip to Swansea.
We eventually got going, still with people standing We had our suitcases in the aisle next to us with people having to squeeze by, but there was nowhere else to put them. The journey went smoothly from there, with the crowds gradually abating and on the last leg the food and drink trolley could finally make it through. We had a welcome cup of real coffee then. The attendant told us that there were over 540 people on the train and as each carriage only seats 60 and there were 5 carriages, that meant many were forced to stand. There was WiFi on the train so Fletcher happily worked at hi stats while I mainly read and checked Facebook now and then At Swansea Railway station we alighted and walked through the building to find our hotel directly across the road. In the whole journey we were not once asked to show our tickets, so we could have saved
A pub on the corner of the square
98 pounds if we were dishonest!
Our hotel, The Grand, is a little faded but convenient, and our room, though small, has all we need. Our room was not ready, even at 2pm, so we were given a map whch showed that Swansea is fairly small and walkable and off we went.Walking down the High Street we came ito a large square. On one side are the ruins of Swansea Castle, this one dating from 1290. The flower displays in the streets are gorgeous. It was very warm and sunny and several people were watching the men's final from Wimbledon on the big screen in the sqare. Further along we decided to stop for a late lunch at Revolution. Here I had great fish and chips while Fletcher opted for a club sandwich which was huge but delicious. The young waiter did not have the wine we initially ordered and then brought out our second choice which must have come straight from a cupboard. He had opened it before I felt the bottle. It was warm. When he asked whether we wanted an ice bucket I was astounded. Anyway we made it drinkable by putting some of
View down High Street
the ice in it. People were gathering to watch the World Cup final, so we walked on.
We passed the Dylan Thomas Centre. By this time it was 3-40 and it closed at 4-30 so we will return there tomorrow. We strolled across an impressive swing bridge and viewed a large marina, packed with boats of all shapes and sizes. This area was attractive with many redeveloped warehouses contianing cafes and shops.We retraced our steps to head down to the waterfront and we made loo stop at the National Maritime museum, another place to return to tomorrow. Further along there was an attractive square and at The Swigg, a bar and cafe, a live band was playing jazz. The music was so good we rested our weary legs there and had a Spanish style G & T while listening to some jazz classics. An excellent way to pass some time. When the band took a break, we continued on down to the beach. The tide was out and I mean way out, but there were some families sitting there with the kids making sandcastles as they do all over the world. Then it was back to the High street
Fletcher on the swing bridge
and our hotel. As we passed through the main square again a crowd had gathered and were now watching the World Cup final. France was ahead , but while we sat there we saw both France and Croatia score goals. Very rare!!
Back at the hotel we were given our room and we could rest there for a while. About 7-30 we went down to the bar for a beer. We were tired so wanted to stay for dinner. We didn;t want much and the shared seafood plate looked tempting. However, they told us they did not have all the ingredients so it was not on. Amused, we went back down High Street and found the New Slow Boat, a Chinese restaurant where we had a lovely meal, with a smiling cheery host and were very satisfied. Another intereting day.
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