Week in Swansea with Natalie

Following our weekend in London, Natalie and I spend Sunday through Saturday morning in Swansea. Natalie was super excited to finally see the city I have been living in, my campus and my student village, flat and room, meet my flatmates and now she finally got to see what it was all about.


One major note about this week is that Natalie did not get to experience the true Swansea. It did not rain Once while she was here, it wasn’t even cloudy a single day. We had beautiful mid-50 degree-days each day she was there. I don’t think it has gone 2 whole days without raining once since I’ve been in Swansea. The rain isn’t really that bad, some people make it out to be a lot worse then it is, but the fact that most days are gray and cloudy gets some what depressing sometimes, I guess that is maybe why I travel so much, to get away from it! But anyway, Natalie brought perfect weather with her!


On arrival Sunday we took it pretty easy, I let her catch up on her jet lag and long train ride, and just showed her around a little bit. The next morning, we got up and caught a bus out to the Gower Peninsula. This is where all of us American students went on a field trip to the very first day we were in Swansea. This was my first time back though, and the other time we only spend about 45 minutes there, so I was very excited to get back out to it and spend more time there, especially in the much nicer weather.


Natalie thought our bus driver was trying to kill everyone on the bus, because he was flying down these tiny backcountry streets and through town street corners that didn’t seem possible for a bus to fit through. She said she had never been going so fast on a bus before, and it made it even crazier that we were on all these tiny roads, and with sheep crossing it at their own leisure.


When we got to the point of the peninsula, we took a walk along the cliffs by the beach and out to the beginning of the Worm’s Head (the header of my blog is a pic of the Worm’s Head I took that first day). At low-tide you can cross the cause-way to the Worm’s Head island and you have about 5 hours to explore it before you get stuck out there until the next low tide. I plan on making a hiking trip out to it sometime before I leave. We explored around the area, got some really cool pictures, and even saw some white Seals! After that, we got lunch at a little local café (fish n chips for me!), and then checked out the beach for a little bit (It has been named to the top 10 most scenic beaches in the world).

That night we went to get dinner at the convience store in the village, and right as we got back one of my flatmates suggested a trip to KFC. This meant getting in one of their cars and driving all the way across town to the closest one. Of course we were going to go, Natalie was very excited to ride in a British car (they all drive tiny 2 door hatchbacks, and of course on the opposite side of the road), and we all let her sit shotgun.


I also found out on this trip supposedly why they actually drive on the right side of the street and we drive on the wrong side of the street. Joel, the one driving, informed me that back in the days of when everyone rode horses, you wanted to approach somebody on the left side of them, that way you could draw your sword and have a farther and much more effective stab at them with your right hand, if need be. I don’t know about that…


So we had a nice little adventure, KFC was closed 3 minutes before we got there, we ended up going to the next thing British thing that we could never get back home, Burger King. This started the stealing of a chair from BK and 2 traffic cones on the way back by my flatmates, they are really in to causing, as they call it, devastation!


On Tuesday, Natalie attended class with me, and found it very interesting, for what she could understand from the teacher at least, and then I gave her a little tour around my campus, and then we got a good pub lunch. We then went to the city center to do some looking around and what not, and the that night we went to the pub in the student village, Woody’s for a couple drinks to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. She was very glad to finally check out this pub in my student village that I have been going to.


The next day we just hung out and took it easy all day, then we to a pub for dinner with all of my flatmates (another sweet car ride for Natalie). That night, I had bought tickets for us to the Easter Bunny themed night at the club PLAY. Wednesday night is considered a student night everywhere, and is probably the biggest night to go out each week. I couldn’t let Natalie’s week go by without showing her some partying, British style. We had a little get together at my flat before going to the club, and we had a great night there. We even got a picture of all of us with a couple of Oompa Loompas that the club had hired for the night!


The following day we got a little bit of a late start, but eventually got on a bus to head towards Mumbles. This is a small fishing village/ harbor town on right next to Swansea on the bay. It is also home to the infamous “Mumbles Mile” where there are 15 pubs located along a mile stretch of the board walk and water front road that you are suppose to go to each one and drink a pint at and then move on to the next and so forth. We did not do this, nor have I, yet…  


This was only my second time to Mumbles, and it was very cool walking around the town, beach, and boardwalk, and also another perfect weather day. We walked all the way to the point of the bay, where I climbed a big mountain rock thingy (Natalie did not try, but this meant she could take good pics of me at the top). After leaving Mumbles we went into Swansea city center and got dinner at a nice pub/restaurant I had not been to yet.


The next day, Friday, I figured it was about time for me to start planning and packing for my month long backpacking journey. We were leaving for London early the next morning, so I had to get all of this taken care of that day. It was a very long process (I like to take my time), which did not make Natalie very happy because my attention was not on her 24/7 like it had been the rest of the week. But I got it all done, and now I’m on day 4 of my journey and I have done good so far with what I’ve got. That night we got a ride from one of my friends to the city center so we could have a one last nice dining out experience in Swansea, which we did.


The next morning, we did some last minute packing and organizing, before getting on a train back to London. When we got to London that afternoon, we checked into our hostel, and then went and explored the Piccadilly Circus and Covenant Garden areas. We didn’t spend any time here the weekend before, and it was very fun walking around and pushing our way through all the dumb tourists that were everywhere. We eventually stopped at a pub to watch the 6 nations rugby match between Wales and Ireland, and I was one of only 2 people in the pub supporting Wales.


We then had late night dinner reservations at the Japanese steakhouse, Benihanas. The food was absolutely amazing, but the presentation was a little disappointing. Natalie and I have our own personal favorite chef at 3 Samurai in Iowa City that we always request, he is the best ever. And so we had high expectations, but our chef seemed to be focused 100 percent on making our food and not on entertaining us, good for the food, not so good for our spirits. What was really disappointing though was that we saw him as we were leaving at another table doing all kinds of cool shit, guess he thought our table (mainly the boring people to our right) was just not that exciting or in the party mood.


The next morning we both were up by 5 am to take the tube(which was closed, so bus) and train combo to get to the airport and prepare for our flights; hers home and mine to Milan to start my break. It was a very hard goodbye, but when talking to her that night I received good news; she was home for maybe a few hours and had missed me/UK so much she had found and booked a cheap flight out to see me again in May!


So I am now starting to get caught up a little more. Coming soon I should have updates on Milan and Cinque Terre and also lots of pictures.



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