WALES – LAND OF SHEEP, RAIN AND GRANDPAS
Sheep. Sheep everywhere. Down at the stream or high in the rocky walls. Looking like flocks of wool spread around green landscape – or in the moment of epiphany I’ve felt that meadows have juicy pimples ready to be squeezed 🙂 “Aren’t sheep more common in Ireland?” I was mulling over while passing by endless fields of white spots.. Did they move over here? Have they, hmm, multiplied? And right after next corner, surprise surprise, more sheep.
Sheep mainly eat. They munch. And chew. Here and there you’d find one resting or a couple of young lambs would hop around, suspiciously resembling Nano when pretending to be brave but when you approach they take off quickly and hide behind mum’s buttocks. The definition of free-range breeding has to come from here, if you ask me. Imagine those endless hills and lands, separated by the low stone fences which from far away give the impression of hive (of the wrong color) where animals can wonder around freely and do what they enjoy most – eat and poop 🙂 “What a wonderful sheep life this is! “ I’ve been contemplating – until I’ve seen a Caesar’s salad with lamb on the menu of the local restaurant. While my brother happily dig into it I tried to console myself that I’d eat only sheep cheese and was already making plans to establish a shelter to cuddle and do yoga with sheep (who’d take care of all the poop I haven’t quite figured out yet).
For all the fantastic views of those white studs on almost my-eyes-hurt-green background the rain takes credit for. More rain = more green. And there is a lot of rain. I won’t say it rains all the time since we managed to have sunshine for almost a day (let’s forget about the almost hurricane wind that came with it) but to get the picture – it rained about 100 times on a first day of our trip. Everything from little drizzle to a downpour, all in a matter of minutes and before you knew it, you needed sunglasses. Big ones. And then it all repeated. So I believe the suitable description of a weather from now on would be (increasing): spring weather – April weather – Welsh weather. So our plans for hiking in Snowdonia were washed out. Literally. But probably this was the case only for us – if you are British (or Welsh, as a matter of fact) couple of buckets of water now and then won’t throw you off the track. So there we were – us in a winter jackets, double pants (if you are me), scarfs and beanies (still freezing if you are me) and “locals” in light anoraks, shorts and flip-flops, each observing other disbelievingly. I’ll admit, I felt envy – I’d too love to show off my freshly painted nails when temperatures are less than 10 degrees and give the impression that is perhaps only a bit chilly outside. So given the weather conditions a pint of beer didn’t give the same feeling of pleasure like it would back home by the Ljubljanica river in the same season but of course this didn’t stop us from getting one. Or few. They are delicious after all. And not very expensive and since we still consider ourselves “Balkans” (Slovenia was part of former Yugoslavia), we go for what is cheap no matter what. 😀
In a little local pub my brother tried to explain to an old man (the only costumer in pub beside us) that we come from Slovenia. Since he was already fairly intoxicated neither word Slovenia nor ex-Yugoslavia rang the bell so the barman slowly explained to him that we are tourists. He said in a strong Welsh accent: Ha? Tourists, “ya” say? and then commented more to himself (or maybe really not): Foc*ing tourists. Let me mention at this point that this tiny town probably sees even less tourists as sunny days in a year 🙂
In general I found people there amusing and what fascinated me is that most of the population is over 60 and maybe we spotted children in school uniforms now and then. It really gives you an impression that time has stopped there and certainly you have mixed feelings when you encounter traffic signs saying “Attention, elderly people”. Wait, what? 🙂 Unlike Slovenian pensioners Welsh are nowhere to be seen before 9am (so don’t expect to find an open shop before then) and in the morning (or after 7pm) towns seem deserted. I’m telling you, like a clock has stopped. But when you turn your head towards window when passing by the houses curtains quickly move and you know your presence didn’t go unnoticed. But don’t get me wrong, I like grandpas and grandmas a lot and while they maintain a careful approach at the beginning, people in Wales are polite and kind and very important (! 🙂 ), they are dog lovers. I dare to claim I’ve spotted more Border Colliers and Jack Russell Terriers on the streets that there were people. It was not an unusual sight to have on a leash 4 or more. Dogs, not people 😛 Dogs are welcomed almost everywhere and while at many places in Europe water bowl is as much as you get, in Wales they go miles further – I’m talking here about dog beer and sausages for dogs with well-behaved humans 🙂
Another thing that simply cannot be missed in this amazing country are castles. Mighty ruins are overlooking the towns and villages and if in Slovenia there is a saying “it ain’t no village without the church” here this would apply for castle ruins. One can say that they really liked to put piles of stones together in the past. But more about which castles you should definitely see when in Wales in the upcoming posts…:)
Shortly, I really really liked Wales!