Week 4, Swansea

Another weekend of exploring has come and gone. This time the flatmates and I ventured out to the Welsh city of Swansea to see a football match between the home team, Swansea City and Burnley FC at Liberty Stadium. screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-2-21-51-pmThe game was incredible. The crowds were on their feet the whole match chanting, singing, and taunting the opposing sides. The game was full of controversies, upsets, and a last minute tie breaking shot that gave Swansea a 3-2 win. It was hard for us to join in the chants the welsh were using but everyone had no problem knowing when to cheer. Empty seats where few and far between in the stadium. The match had an attendance of 20,679 which is small in comparison to an American Football Stadium but the game was arguably more electric. The referees made a questionable call and suddenly 30 or so police and stadium security staff ran up the isles to make a human wall between the home and away teams. Sitting where we were I’m glad they did. I got it on video but sadly I can only post pictures. If you would like to read more about the match click here. I took a few pictures of the stadium. Our seats where right behind the goal so we had a very good view. The stadium had very few bad seats. img_7480

The club store was having a 40% off sale when we arrived so we of course bought some gear so we could fit in with the locals. Of course that doesn’t work to well. Most conversations go as follows:

Me: Hello, how ar-

Any Welsh Person Ever: YOU’RE FROM AMERICA AREN’T YOU

All that time practicing my British accent for nothing I guess. I can fool no one. Anyway the game was over by 5 and we set out into Swansea looking for our next activity. Swansea is much more of an average city in the U.K. Unlike some cities that are more catered to tourism you could really tell how people live and work here. It’s the second largest city in Wales next to Cardiff with a population of around 400 thousand. Swansea is most likely thought to been populated as a viking trading post and reached it’s prime in the 19th century as a key center in the copper industry. Factories, ports and other industries where easy to spot as we traveled around the city. Football is best known as the working man’s game. So it makes sense that Swansea City was so competitive. Here are a few pictures I took around the city. Click to enlarge.

We ended the day by eating at a Jamaican restaurant which was a first for me. Our dishes included curried goat, jerk chicken and fried plantains. I survived the spicy food and even enjoyed it. Fried plantains are very good. img_7475I had the jerk chicken. Jamaican culture in Wales, who knew?  After our dinner we retreated to the guest house we were staying at. The Devon View Guesthouse was a much needed reprieve from staying at hostels. We had planned to enjoy the city nightlife but once we all got settled in we decided that hanging out together in the room required a lot less walking.

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Our bay side guesthouse, the Devon View

The next day we decided to check out the town down the road, Mumbles. Mumbles was much smaller than Swansea and boasted some beautiful views of the bay and ocean. We stumbled upon a small St. Davids Day Festival and an arcade on the pier. We spent almost two hours there enjoying live music from a senior citizen group called 60 Shades of Grey and playing vintage and new arcade games. We had a lot of fun and I can only imagine how much more fun the pier is in the summer. I don’t mean to brag, but I won enough tickets to buy one whole lolly.

Outside of the arcade was a beautiful promenade. On the end of the pier there was a lifeboat station. This huge shed housed a massive speed boat that is launched into the water in times of distress. It was an impressive boat. Here are my best attempts at capturing the coastlines, lighthouse, and lifeboat shed.

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Mumbles Pier. The blue building at the end houses the lifeboat
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A view from Mumbles
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Swansea in the background
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Swansea across the bay
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The lighthouse. The weather turned bad quickly and we actually got to see it in action; lights, horns and all.
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The weather was much like Indiana’s. Beautiful and sunny one second, pouring down rain the next. We were fortunate to be on the pier for the 20 minutes of Sunshine that day.
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This guy was cool I guess.
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Fishermen off the lifeboat station
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The view of mumbles from the top of the hill
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The Cockpit of the lifeboat. The boat wasn’t actually in the water but sitting on a ramp ready to be launched.
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A postcard I bought showing the lifeboat in action.

After the pier we went to Ostermouth Castle in Mumbles. It was closed and it starting raining heavily but that didn’t stop us from hiking around it and convincing Rachel to have a Little Mermaid themed photo shoot.

The resemblance is uncanny. I even convinced her to sing. We have fun sometimes.

I didn’t learn very much about the castle but the plaque on the outside could lead you to believe the owner of the castle locked people inside then burned it down. I will have to do more research.

We ended our day with ice cream, shopping and a nice dinner before catching our bus home at 7. We took the megabus again. It’s gross but the round trip costed 12 pounds so it’s hard to resist.

Another great experience to take home with me. I am very thankful for finding such a great group of people to run around with. I have a lot of big assignments coming my way soon. I am not excited about the ‘study’ part of study abroad but at least my classes are interesting and engaging.

Till next time!

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