Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Journey back to North Wales

Our journey started with me sitting on the platform station at Euston eating Burger King waiting for the Virgin train service to Holyhead. It felt familiar. Only it was a familiar feeling from 8 years ago, coming on to 9!

I first came to the UK to study in 2002 and Llandudno, North Wales, was my first point of arrival. An eighteen-year-old girl totally ready for the challenge. Anywhere as long as it was in the United Kingdom. I have a life-long desire to be in this country again. Each month I would make this journey to Kent and back to visit my then sweetheart, of course changing at Euston. And I always remember that feeling of relief as I wait for my train at Euston. London was like a stranger back then. The only area I know was from memory.

I haven't been back to Wales ever since. I never had the chance to. I honestly didn't make much use of my time in Wales as I was doing my last year of IB (excuse). And I truly regret that. It was more of a place I had to be than I wanted to be.  Besides I was a bit of a scared little kitten back then. The first summer I was away from my parents. But for some reasons today I felt like a little girl coming home. After all this was where I started off my journey into adulthood. Girl from small town now trying to make it in the big city, cliché hollywood setting in the United Kingdom. I really have come a long way.

The Virgin train is comfy enough. It has gotten a lot busier during the last decade. I remember never having to worry about seats. These days you should book in advance if you don't want the floor to be your friend for a 3 hour+ journey to Chester. We chose the quiet coach but it was the same as any other. Absolutely nothing quiet about it! There were a few groups of ladies and their chatterbox was loud and annoying. On more than one occasion I had wanted to point out the Quiet Coach sigh to them. The British are generally famous for their politeness and I was surprised at how inconsiderate these women were. Maybe I have gotten more British than them as I minded my own business, put on my music and fall asleep.

The journey to Chester was fast. I had a good nap since I didn't sleep at all the night before. The platform to Holyhead was busy. Though I remembered it had always been busy with people going to Anglesey and all, only when the two-coach train arrived did I realize how manic it was going to be this weekend! We almost didn't have a place on the train. After much confusion and struggle we got on only to find our seating reservation totally irrelevant. I gave up trying to get to our seats so me and HH stood in the aisle like the rest.

One thing made it less painful of a journey was how nice people are in this part of the world! Gwynedd railway company certainly did not make a good welcome but the people made up for all the inconvenience. They were commodating and understanding to these spoilt & moaning Londoners, who of course voiced frustration immediately at the fully packed train and their staff who almost wanted to kick some of us off due to "safety reasons". But when we refused to, they proceeded on with the journey anyways.

People here talked to you. Give you advice on how to get around. Teach you how to pronounce Welsh station names. After a few simples like Rhyl or Llandudno, it was all llswannellifff ffisslll to me. I was happy to be back in a place where people seem content, nice and friendly. What a breath of fresh air! (Only at Chester it was really really distinct manure smell but that was still England).
We passed the beautiful landscape of the north bay. Green fields with sheep and horses roaming about without any care in the world. Golf course right next to the coast line. And then vast and vast of water land. Flat but serene. My travel companion noted how the water here aren't blue here. Well of course it's not. None of the coast in the UK is apart from maybe Cornwall is azure. I don't have an explanation to its geographical structure but this greyish colour has always been my impression of the british coast.

I have never travelled past Colwyn Bay so I was pleasantly surprised how much more beautiful the landscape becomes. The Snowdonia arrived mighty on one side and on the other vast bodies of water. As one of the welsh native pointed out, there was Anglesey, from my view was a little floating island. From afar you can even see the light house, standing tall and majestic on its own at the coast. Just beautiful. The sky was clear and even though it was approaching 8pm. It was still sunny. We had the most peaceful moment. We arrived at Bangor and continued the journey by bus to Caernarfon!
So far so good!
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