This time in the Travels is to Cardiff in Wales. The near relatives – also Celts and the neighbours of Ireland just across the Irish Channel. It is the shortest travel from Ireland to anywhere else abroad as it takes only two and half hours by ferry to Wales. My first trip to there was by air to Bristol airport and then over the Severn Bridge and voila – there you are. Cardiff is situated at the southern tip of Wales.
“The Romans mined for gold here, the Tudor dynasty was founded here, and the Normans built castles here. Each of the major periods of history has left its mark on Wales, some more attractive than others. Wales’s distinctive culture springs from its Celtic roots. Celtic tribes settled in Britain before the Roman Conquest. After the Romans came the Saxons, who pushed the Britons further west into their Celtic stronghold of Wales – which explains why the name of the country comes from the Anglo-Saxon term ‘waleas’ meaning foreigner.” Source: The Visit Wales site
The first encounter, as I stated above, with the Welsh for me was when himself and I flew over from Dublin to visit some of our friends over there. They have names like: Alun, Gareth, Megan, Morgan. Lovely names and so distinctively Welsh that one needs not to be in any doubt of the origins. The surnames end in the letter ‘s’: Davis, Roberts, Williams. Impressive.
Rugby is the national passion in this land as well as in Ireland and the whole of The British Isles. I had never ever even heard of the game until I came to Ireland and in the beginning of watching this sport, it amazed me no end, to see all these sportsmen go into the arena dressed in smart outfits, and in no time at all, they were the filthiest ever of any kind of sport I had seen. ‘Poor women, washing their kits’ – came immediately to me mind. And, also that – hopefully they had a good stock of the most effective washing powder at home!
Another thing that is so typical of the Welsh is the fine pair of lungs that they all seem to possess – lungs made for singing. While holidaying in Italy there were in the neighbouring hotel a bunch of Welsh – what seemed to be like half the population of the nation of Wales all travelling together. Anyway, they were a very jolly group of people that sang the whole week or two to their fine lungs content all the songs, particularly the ones related to the rugby, from beginning to the end!! Needless to say, that the concerts were a bit overpowering…
Cardiff has the famous rugby grounds where we were taken by our friends. The coffee shops, the restaurants and the like I have no memory at all, but look at this handy site on all things Cardiff and – hey presto! My memories are good but slightly vague as it’s a while back that I graced the city of Cardiff with me presence!
I put the picture of leeks as the photo for this Travels for: ”The leek has been recognised as the emblem of Wales since the middle of the 16th century. Its association with Wales can in fact be traced back to the battle of Heathfield in 633 AD, when St. David persuaded his countrymen to distinguish themselves from their Saxon foes by wearing a leek in their caps.
It was decided that from 1984, British £1 coins would feature different reverse designs for each of the four parts of the United Kingdom. All £1 coins dated 1985 feature on the reverse the Welsh Leek. Nowadays, the leek is worn on March 1 (St. David’s Day—the Welsh national holiday) and at international rugby matches. The daffodil is also a Welsh national emblem because its Welsh name is translated as a type of leek.” (The Information Wales online site)
The leek originates in Southern Mediterranean and was brought to Wales by the Roman soldiers, and even Shakespeare’s Henry V wears a leek claiming:
“for I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.”
Tis for now. Riihele xx
PS. Did you notice – not one mention about shopping neither shops?!! What happened… We did not shop here as far I can remember. Unusual, but true.