-Day 7- To Dublin
Nicole was long gone to the airport by the time I arose, packed up, bummed a ride to the train station and got myself headed back toward London. It was time to get to where I had planned to go on day one of this trip: Dublin. I caught a train headed northwest and changed coaches in Rugby for the trip out to the coast. The train I was riding had only two cars, which may or may not give you some idea of how few people British Rail expected on that section of track. These expectations were more than met; the train was, at its fullest, holding maybe one-third its capacity.
Wales is an entirely different animal than England. From the town names (such as Rhosneigr) it was not hard to see that this was a distinctly different part of the world, a fact underlined by the Gaelic spellings listed underneath the towns’ English names. Wales is a rough-hewn, rocky place with steep hills topped by rocky outcroppings. Grazing sheep dotted the steep slopes and hedge-lined fields. Castles and keeps made their forbidding presences on the promontories and manor houses intermittently peeked out at the train tracks.
We traveled a bit along the coast, with its sandy beaches and infrequent boulder fields spreading out toward the sea. Eventually, the carriage returned to more inland scenery and a parade of small provincialities swept by. Train depots consisted of platforms on either side of the railroad tracks and boarded up old brick building serving as station houses. If you wanted to stop there, you had to tell the conductor beforehand because there was not much point in stopping most the time. "Rural" does not even begin to describe how far out London I was. That’s why I was rather surprised to see the rollercoaster and ferris wheel outside Rhyl. Presumably, Kings’ Island is not too concerned about meeting competition from Wales, however.
It was tempting to get off the train at one of these towns and spend a day there. I have the feeling my explorations would have been pretty short, but may have yielded some very interesting stories. However, I had a ferry ticket to cross the Irish Sea and I figured I’d better get going that way.
It was not hard to figure out that we were getting close to Swansea, the port from which I would be heading to Ireland: I figured the middle of Wales would not contain large, paved yards full of cargo containers. I exited the train to find out I had a couple hours to kill before the check in time for the ferry. I grabbed a delicious, prepackaged sandwich from the lunch counter in the train station before heading to the waiting area.
Eventually, I boarded the ship and I was set speeding toward Dublin.