Thursday, April 23, 2009

Around South Wales, UK - Winter & Spring 2009

Croeso, Cymru

At South Wales, Welsh is not very much dominant. We do not hear many people speak Welsh, eventhough every signs are bilingual in Welsh and English. Welsh is dominant at North West Wales. Welsh is an ancient language. For us who don't understand it, the double "ll" or consecutive consonants are just couldn't be pronounce and incomprehensible. Eg: i don't understand = dw i ddim deall.


Pernath is nick named, the garden city by the sea. i do agree with this. It is a pleasant town just beside of Cardiff. Seaside and small and not too jam-packed with people.
This old church could be see on top of the hill, on the way from Cardiff to Pernath.

We walked on the cliff top by the beach.
It is a great place to come for a brisk seaside walk, a world away from he Cardiff bustle.
As in Brighton, Pernath's beach is pebble beach instead of sand beach.
However unlike in Brighton, Pernath is kind of quiet and never really give me the kind of "party" town feeling.


Barry Island is now a peninsula, but was an island until the 1880s when it was linked to the mainland as the town of Barry expanded.
Now, i think it has the best beach around Cardiff areas.

We found abundance of this kind of seaweed at the shore.
They got balls of air like the brown seaweed Sargassum back home.
i couldn't find more information on the internet on regards of them though.

I was happy enough to see lives at the shore, in the cold weather like this.
There are snails, barnacles and limpets.
I was trying to find a sea star under the rocks but couldn't.
(Not sure that there are even sea star here.)

This one looked just like the banded bead anemone back home.
i am really curious about what kind of mechanism or differences are there for these similar animals which i found back home and over here.
Obviously there is a great temperature different between two places.

The main beach, Whitmore Bay.
There are all manner of attractions on the beach, the promenade, and in the pleasure park and amusement behind the beach.
i think these are some residential houses or holiday houses along the "cliff" by the beach as well.


The hugely impressive Caerphilly Castle is the result of restoration done by the marquis of Bute.
One tower leans precipitously as the result of subsidence rather than battle.

It was snowing when we were there at the castle.
The scenery along the journey looked beautiful but we were a bit worry with the slippery road condition as well.
There is no winter tyres for the car here.


Newport, like Cardiff, was one of the leading coal port in Wales.
It is now of of Wales' busiest industrial and commercial centres.
Along the pedestrian walking street, there are some sculptures or art pieces. Some are looking rather bizarre to me.

The old locomotive beside of River Usk, along with the modern bridge, formed a beautiful blend of new and old.
At the same time, reminded you of the old and new status of this city.

Steel Wave - The sculpture represents steel and sea trades which have played an important roles in Newport’s development.
This major riverside sculpture is one of Newport's most controversial pieces of public art.
Standing 40 feet high, it used tonnes of stainless steel.

I think, this transporter bridge is just the 'classic' of Newport. It is is a fascinating piece of engineering work.
This aerial ferry allowed people and cars to cross the river without obstructing shipping.
It is still working and visitors can cross between the west and east banks of the river Usk.


Swansea is the second largest city in Wales.
Its Welsh name, Abertawe, describes its location at the mouth of Tawe, where the river empties into Swansea Bay.
This remains of Swansea castel date from the 14th century.

The pleasant cliff top walk at The mumbles.

Big Pit Mining Museum, Blaenafon

This is an interesting museum to visit. Miners extracted coals from here for 200 years. We got the chance to descend 90meter into the mine, using the old mine lift, to explore the tunnels and coal faces under the guidance of an ex-miner. It is hard to imagine how people used to work in this kind of darkness and dank using candle lights and in some parts of the world, people still do so.

Brecon Beacons National Park

The national park covers some 1347 sq km of high, grassy ridges interspersed with wooded valley, moorland and farmland.
Around 38% of the park is common land and the rest of the park is privately owned, and the slopes provide grazing for tens of thousands of sheep.
We took the park's classic walk, the 1.5 mile climb to the top of Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du.
Pen-y-Fan at 886m, is the highest point in Southern Britain.

The walk to the top was not difficult and it took around 3 hours return.
The weather was a bit cloudy when we set off and at the top, it was rather cold, especially when we were in the middle of the cloud.
At the peak, there is a flat platform and people have been throwing stones to form a mini peak or pile of stones. May be to mark for their "achievement".
The walk was pleasant and it worth every efforts to be there.

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