It was the name. I just love it. Aberystwyth. American TV personality, Jon Stewart, of "Daily Show" fame, once said of Wales that it was so poor in natural resources that it had to import vowels. Looking at this city name, it's easy to see why he would say that. However, Wales is rich in real natural resources--and even in vowels. The word for Thursday, for example, is Iau. All vowels!
My husband and I had been taking Welsh language lessons for about a year, and were still struggling with it. But it was fun to be in the country where it is spoken and English is tolerated quite nicely. We were there only a few nights, and wouldn't have minded a few more. Our hotel room, really a two-room suite, had a wonderful view of the Irish Sea.
One evening, we three were admiring the view, when suddenly we noticed some activity in the area around a pier. Then the air was darkened by a swarm, a flood, a murmuration of starlings. Some people say that this murmuration sometimes involves no fewer than about 50,000 birds, swirling and swooping like a black version of the Northern Lights. It was breathtaking.
One day, we went for a tour through the countryside, admiring the hills and mountains of this ancient and somewhat obscure land. If you ever watch the British television show, "Hinterland", this is where it's filmed.
Aberystwyth, one of our best stops on this trip.