Today started with a disappointment: as I stepped out of the shower pain struck in my lower back. This is doubly disappointing, firstly, because it is inconvenient to be hobbling about in pain when on holiday and, secondly, because I had thought that the exercises had strengthened my back and prevented this happening.
Admittedly, the pain isn’t as severe as on some past occasions but it is enough to cause me difficulties in moving about. Fortunately, I have brought my walking stick with me for just such an eventuality.
At least it’s not raining but it is cold. We breakfasted as usual at The Bank Statement then continued up the road towards the station, looking in a few shops along the way. We are later than usual so the shops are open. The town is quiet, though, making it feel more like a Sunday than a weekday.
The train we took carried us on the first leg of our journey to Cardiff, where we found another for Newport. Here we had 40 minutes to wait for a connection. It wasn’t worth struggling out into the streets and back, so we waited in Upper Crust with coffee and chocolate shortbread.
We took this train as far as our rover tickets permitted, which was to Lydney. The most striking characteristic of Lydney is the endless streams of traffic passing through, so much so that it is hard to get across the road. Note that this is traffic that is passing through, not traffic coming to Lydney.
We had soup at Katie’s Cafe, went for a look around and then walked to the small bus station to take a bus out. I don’t think it unfair to say that Lydney is a small town without any pretentions that you would not visit except in the unlikely event that you had business there.
The bus took us to Chepstow, a rather more interesting town. Though it is in Wales, Chepstow, like its name, has an English feel to it which the few signs and inscriptions in Welsh do little to dilute.
We had a pleasant late lunch at the Lime Tree and checked times of trains and buses. The best bet seemed to be to take the bus back to Newport and the train from there back to Swansea.
After a final look around Chepstow, we took the bus. This eventually reaches Newport but makes a few diversions off the main road in order to serve smaller towns. This, however, is a general pattern with intercity buses and not just in Wales.
The bus station and the train station in Newport are some distance apart. Although this is an easy walking distance, my back was stiff from the bus ride and I was glad to arrive. We then found that a train for Swansea would depart from platform 2 – which meant climbing the steps to the footbridge – within 4 minutes! We made it, though.
As this was our first Friday night in Swansea, we discovered that the street where our hotel stands is closed to vehicles at this time. There are lots of pubs and clubs along here and the merrymakers were out in force.
Despite the disappointment of a recurrence of back pain, the day went well. Lydney wasn’t very interesting but Chepstow was worth seeing and the journeys by train and bus provided views of the countryside, not only of Wales but also that other place, called in Welsh Lloegr.
Tomorrow we return to London but it will be with the feeling of a successful trip in this beautiful and at times fascinating country.