Journey through Wales

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Few countries has touched me like Wales – the picturesque, nostalgic cities along the coast, the majestic mountain ranges bathing in mist and steep cliffs dropping into the roaring ocean. l even found myself writing in my sketch book, .. it seems l should have been bom in Wales”

All this, hand in hand with a sense of being way past its heydays.
A sort of dismay among the cities and the culture itself, with people moving away from the rural areas, into cities troubled by restlessness and some kind of identity crisis.
People torn between staying or leaving.
A language losing its ground.
And the most beautiful landscape.
Below is part of my story from Wales, l hope you find it worth reading. And for those of you who live here, my apologies for talking down on it while simultaneously falling in love with it.

almjohannes, fotograf skane, landskapsfotograf, fotokonst, print, fotograf, wales
Three Cliff Bay, some 60 minutes by bus away from Swansea in the Gower Peninsula.

l arrived in Swansea in the afternoon, by 4 pm l got my bed at the empty guest house l was staying at. l had to knock on the neighbor’s door to get in contact with someone, who then called the owner who then came and opened up. l wanted to make the most of my time in Swansea, so l headed out along the waterfront, as my room was right next to the sea. l quickly got a notion of Swansea city centre, and unfortunately not the best one. Perhaps I had come on a bad time.


So instead l headed out to Three Cliff Bay which l’ d read about. l was accompanied by three others on the bus, one of them being the driver. He dropped us of by a golf course nearby the bay. The other two seemed to live somewhere nearby or going to someone they knew as they without hesitation left me behind while l was trying to orientate myself. l was standing next to a golf course, a quite nice one as well it seemed, but there wasn’t many out playing as it had turned out to be quite a gruesome afternoon.

I knew what way the sea was, so in the end l just went that way. l found a path by the golf course and followed it. It lead me to an old ruin, a ruin I later found out was called Pennard Castle, just like the golf course which of course was named after the ruin.
The castle has a history leading back to the 12th century following the Norman invasion of Wales. Unfortunately it had to be abandoned in the 14th century because of encroaching sand dunes which led it into decaying. A ruin that can be visited today and is protected by law as it’s today a listed building.
By the castle one can sense the three cliffs further out in the bay. l continued, meta man with his
dog, gotastern nod as greeting and gave one in return. l could feel the wind picking up as l was
advancing further out. The path winded its way through the hills transforming into cliffs. And then l
was there, gazing out along the three majestic cliffs into the ocean. l sat down, picked up my
notebook and didn’t write or sketch anything, l was alone next to a giant stone dragon, resting
together in the bay. Feeling the wind blow through ou r short hair.
The cliffs exuded some kind of otherworld ly gravitational pull and l was soon on my way out. l walked
and climbed on all four, completely bewitched by the cliffs. l sat down on the seeond cliff and for a
brief moment l was aware to that small degree that it hit me, if l slip now, no one would know, no one
would be hurt, it would be easy, no problems, ever. B ut l was happy, l didn’t mind problems, l
searched for experiences and a way towards happiness. And for me that way was though nature. l
sat and watched the word closing in over me, in the end surrounding me altegether in wind, water
and cliffs.


The cliffs enchanted me for too Iong and too late l realised that the last bus was about to depart. l ran
back towards the golf course, through the golf course, through a paddock with sheep. l could see the
bus, l would absolutely 100 percent miss the bus, but l couldn’t miss the bus, there was no other way
back. People had gone to sleep, cars were parked safely on their parkways, not out driving casually
picking up hitchhikers like me lost in a storm soon about to come down.
The bus passed the bus stop, there was no one there waiting for it, l was far away, too far away in
fact, the driver would never notice me here. l kept running, l knew the bus was tuming around
samewhere with in the next 1 00 meters or so, hesding back towards Swansea. l t was me versus the
bus driver. On the way back he saw me, some weird tourist running through the sheep pastures in
the countryside of Wales. He stopped and let me in, the bus was empty, l was soaked, probably in
sweat but it had started pouring down so it wasn’t very clear. l thanked him wholeheartedly, went
home, hanged all my clothes to dry and fell asleep.

N/y way through Snowdonia towards Snowdon.

almjohannes, fotograf skane, landskapsfotograf, fotokonst, print, fotograf, wales
Snowdonia National Park

l had set my alarm to wake up early in the now desolate town of Aberystwyth: Atthat time living in
Birmingham l had had no opportunity to pack properly as most of my stuff was back in Sweden. l had
my school rucksack and simply crammed in as much of my stuff as l could fit (or tie down to the
rucksack shoulder-straps.) On ly staying ona night at a time l had to carry all my packing, half of this
was my camera gear; barely leaving me space for a toilet bag, a few changes of underwear, a scarf,
my notabook and a water bottle.
Anyhow l caught the bus bound for Snowdonia and on we were. Around me people in hiking boots
and techy gore-tex clothes sat lost in the amazing scenery passing by us. l also sat lost in the
scenery, but in my GL III sneakers and black jeans and tshirt, tagether with an old, but super good,
jacket and my school rucksack. ”l’m just on my way to u ni”. In ou r mutual trance we soon
experienced a hint of smoke. Barbeque for lunch, no the bus was simply on fire.
The message was passed from the back, which was beginning to fill up with smoke, to the front and
lastly to the driver. He pulled over, slowly advised us to exit the bus, not advised us to slowly exit the
bus. The end of the bus glowed like a cigarette, we had created a nice smoke trail after us. He called
some supervisor-person, telling her or him that the bus had broken down, again. ”l think it could be
serious but 1’11 get back to you in a few” the driver informed the supervisor-person (because busdrivers
has supervisor-persons). We waited a few and samehow the driver’s casualness influenced
us allleaving us optimistic about the future of our travels and the bus. ”Ah weil it’s just the end that’s
on fire, we will probably be able to continue in a few.”

Some 30 minutes later the driver called back to his supervisor-person (by now obviously you’ve
realisad l really don’t know where he called} informing that the bus would probably need a pick up
from someone who knows buses, and maybe with something that tows buses. And oh, maybe some
firefighter-lad a/so, the small fire-extinguisher didn’t real/y so/ve the problem.
Hethen proceeded to calmly inform us that the next bus would probably arrive in just a few hours, a
few, or at least in the late afternoon. Although in a stunning scenery, with a hint of barbecue (or,
weil … by now overwhelming smell of burnt rubbar and steel) l didn’t want to spend a day walking
back to Aberystwyth, or waiting for a bus that might come in a few. So l startad walking towards the
high peak that was Snowdon. And people didn’t seem to mind; oh weil, he’s just going to u ni.
l walked with my thumb out, occasionally a ear passad, usually middle-aged couples, probably
heading for a day excursion to Snowdon. They didn’t stop. Then an old van passed, one with no
windows behind the front seat. Eventually it came back, and stoppad! A young couple greeted me
and asked me where l was headed, Snowdon. They were going just about that way. They p u lied
open the backseat door and stuffed away a couple of windsurfing boards and the i r sail. l took place
on top of a board grabbing hold to whatevar l could find, usually same surf-thing.
We continued towards Snowdon and they turned out to be the nieest couple ever. Driving through
Wales in search of the best wind and surfing while living in their van. They droppad my off by the
beginning of the miners path. And here l took the photo above.

The Miners path

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Brittania Mine, Snowdon

This photo is from my climb of Snowdon, or ’Yr Wyddta• in Cymraeg (Welsh), the tallest mountain in
Wales on just above 1 km at 1085 meters above the sea. lt is said that you can see England,
Scotland and lreland from the top, but despite initial good weather the weather quickly turned against
me during my ascent. l followed the miners track and soon found myself look upon the remainings of
the old Brittanis Mine.
A capper mine, first mentioned around 1800, just by the lake of Llyn Llydaw on the slopes of Mt
Snowdon. Some rumors have it saying that even the romans had a mine here. But ignoring the
romans (yes) the mine was apparently warked in for over 100 years despile coming up with a nrather
unsuccessfully- resull during all different trials during this time. A number of campanies seems to
have tried and, samewhat failed here, some even had to file for bankruptcy as a result of not being
able to do something the romans d id in the same exact location, or d id they?
The lake, Llyn Llydaw has a lovely crisp cobalt colour, but sadly, as a resull of contamination from the
shafts and workings of the old capper mines there is hardly any Iife in the deeps. lt does howevar live
in another way, namely through the tales of the legendary King Arthur as this is where he came
across the Lady of the Lake.



almjohannes, fotograf skane, landskapsfotograf, fotokonst, print, fotograf, wales
Grand Hotel Llandudno

The Grand Hotel in Llandudno, although absolutely stunning in its nostalgic charm, l couldn’t help but
feellike it was way past its haydays. In its eclectic Wes Anderson style, tears was beginning to show,
maybe it was because l was there during its low season, maybe not. l didn’t stay at the Grand Hotel,
not really in my budget. But In gelden light from the setting sun, its hard not to be charmed by it. l can
quite easily picture myself here, in a movie by Wes or maybe a novel by Fi1zgerald or someone else
from the lost generation; with a cup of tea in the hotel foyer, getting ready for my daily morning stroll
along the coast.


Ear/y morning Llandudno

almjohannes, fotograf skane, landskapsfotograf, fotokonst, print, fotograf, wales
Morning stroll, Llandudno

This is from my imaginary starring of a Wes movie or Fitzgerald novel. l’ve just finished my cup of tea
at the Grand Hotel. Before me are two fellow morning persons, once again they beat me to it.
Entering the seaside walk first in the morning is one of the pleasures In Iife, and one we take great
pride in. l usually loose to either one of them. Sametimes we smile at each other, somelimes we nod.
But we don’t talk, talking is not encouraged in the moming stroll. lts another beautiful day in
Llandudno, but then again, it always is.
l’ve just now startad to leam that the weather in Wales may weil change drastically in just a few
minutes, but that just seems to add to the mystic and mighty splendour of it all. lts five thirty, the sun
has begun its ascent from undemeath the scarred cliffs. Gently the soft light wakes up the sleeping
buildings along the seaside. Dressing them in a luscious creamy colour, gone is the sad grey
facades. The beautiful buildings opens their eyes, one at a time, and lets the sun stream in to the
apartments. Persons are Iaoking out through them, embracing the new day. lt’s a beautiful day in


Before the storm

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Before the storm, Llandudno

And then in the blink of an eye it all changed. The last sunlight is just about to give in to the racing

Johannes, 2016