22nd July 2019
I needed to get to Swansea as the starting point for a trip on the Heart of Wales line. Checking for tickets on GWR's website I noticed that an Advance 1st Class single could be had for only a handful
of pounds more than an Anytime Standard Single. So the lure of a comfortable seat and sufficient legroom proved irresistible and besides which you get fed and watered in 1st Class. Which means the price differential is even less by the time you've had lunch and a couple of cups of tea. Given that there were only 2 other passengers in my section of the carriage I assume that the bargain fares are GWR's attempt to fill some seats that would otherwise remain empty. Worth checking when booking anyway.
It would prove to be by far the most comfortable and pleasant journey of a 3 leg trip over the next 4 days.
A late booking netted a good deal at the 4* Dragon Hotel a short walk from the railway station and convenient for the bright lights of Swansea city centre.
Nice to have an air conditioned room which was quite big although with only a view of the backs of neighbouring buildings. I've noticed that as a solo traveller you rarely get allocated a room with a decent view.
The city centre did seem to be one big building site mind you, which made it difficult for someone from off to get their bearings.
An early evening explore revealed Swansea to have the usual complement of chain bars and restaurants so I settled on Turtle Bay more or less at random, which turned out to be a good choice. I very much enjoyed the curried goat and the waitress reminded me of a girl from Llansamlet that I knew back in the early 1980s. Maybe she was related, I wasn't going to ask.
Post-prandial wandering took me via the marina to the huge expanse of Swansea beach, along which I walked from end to end in the warm evening. It wasn't busy, a few walkers and joggers mostly. It stayed dry too in spite of the gathering clouds.
Swansea is an interesting place which will probably be worth a longer visit at some point rather than just a Monday night stop-over.
I retired to The Three Lamps, a "new multi floor venue in the heart of Swansea" of which only the ground floor bar was actually open, and sampled a pint of their own beer from the on-site micro-brewery, which wasn't bad at all. From a seat by the open front of the bar I was able to watch the world go by for a while, which inevitably included the various dodgy characters who gathered in Castle Square outside. Then back to the hotel for an earlyish night as I had to be up in the morning to catch the 0934 to Shrewsbury.
More photos from Swansea: