I didn’t make it to nearly enough places in the UK during my year here. With so many places to see around Europe, and old friends to hang out with in London, made getting to the other regions a bit tough. Also, when I live in a city I like to experience that area as much as I can. I wrote about this in regards to my love of the Walkabout, but I never understood how people can live in a place and know nothing about it.
Anyway, in the last year my favorite place in the UK was most definitely Wales. From hiking in the north, to exploring Cardiff, it was great every time. Where London is a massive, sprawl of row housing and winding, tight streets, Cardiff is much smaller and therefore has a lot more open space.
The city is also located on the water, which helps. Although, I can attest it definitely doesn’t help with the humidity in the summer. It is nice to walk along the waterfront, and there always seems to be a lot going on around there. You’re also very close to some great outdoor locations, such as Brecon Beacons National Park.
However, like every place I’ve lived, it’s the people who make the place. I have found the Welsh to be more outgoing and friendly than those in London, even in some of the smaller suburbs. I am an early riser, so if I am in a new place, I am usually out with the dog walkers. In Cardiff, more times than not I would get a “hello,” “good morning,” or something in Welsh that I could barely recognize as speech.
While Wales is very rural, and you see it on occasion, it’s also very modern. Even the small towns we went to in Snowdonia were lively, and seemed to have almost everything you could find in London, save for certain restaurants. Maybe it’s my ignorance, or hearing the English mock them constantly, but many places did not just have wifi, but good wifi.
I have one more trip planned out there for tomorrow to trace some ancestors who left in the early 1800s, and I intend to relish every second of it. The coast, the space, and the people will be a nice send off from the UK. I look forward to maybe finding some other Alexanders, and seeing if they are as crazy as the ones I know. I don’t know when I will be back to the UK, but I do know when I am back I will be visiting Wales once again.