I love London a lot and every time I can find new and old friends and places to see again or discover. Especially the parks, in any season. However, in the last 10 years since I’ve first landed in the city, I haven’t been able to go not even one single mile outside. This summer, after another splendid week enjoying the London sun, I decided that it is about time to change the pattern of my trips to the UK. And thus the wonderful journey of 5 days through the countryside was born. The novelty was that I did not spend more than 5 hours in the capital city. I changed local trains and buses and did a lot of walking. The adventure started at Victoria Coach station, one hour after I arrived from Berlin with a very stormy yet comfy and elegant British Airlines flight.
The first stop was in one of the mother cities of universities: Oxford. Very crowded with tourists not only on Sundays. I walked around for a couple of hours and admired the old architecture and inviting coffees and restaurants and headed by bus to the new stop.
For a long time from now, I will keep Birmingham close to my mind – and heart – for a long time from now not only for the spectacular architecture, a bold combination of classical English politeness and enthusiastic industrialism, but especially for the kindness of the people. Nice bus drivers accepting on board people not accustomed with the local rules of buying tickets, locals helping wholeheartedly with directions. After less than 24 hours of stay, it was about to get closer to the final destination and playground for the next days: Wales.
Llandrindod Wells used to be a very popular spa location at the beginning of the 20th century, but in the last 100 years its place on the map of treatment tourism was challenged. Nowadays, the memory of the old times is kept by the Victorian buildings, but by far the biggest potential of the area is the wonderful scenery. Quiet green hills, with cattle and horses. Everything is middle sized and encourages moderation. There is not too much to do in Llandrindod Wells: limited shopping opportunities, a couple of small museums that can be seen in a couple of hours. But this is not the reason why someone will hurry up to go in the heart of Wales. Many shops and restaurants are promoting local products and if all are so delicious as our favourite treat during the stay: melon and peach smoothie, you may consider moving there for good.After 2 full days of rest, it was about time to start a new journey, this time on the road back to London, using the network of regional trains. On the way to and from Wales, we stopped at Shrewsbury, a very cute middle age town, with a castle and many colourful flowers on the streets.After so much quietness and sporadic Internet connection, the final stop of the journey was in the famous outlet village shop of Bicester. End of the week, end of the trip. Time to return and start writing. And plan a new trip to London with more local destinations in the program.
Be back soon!