The Welsh spirit is the country’s defining feature. Indeed, for its entire history Wales has struggled against waves of invaders who have sought to subjugate its people; but, as the invaders found out, it’s a country that just won’t lie down. Today the spirit of Wales is stronger than ever. Welsh arts, film and, above all, rock music have taken the world stage by storm and killed off the hackneyed old stereotypes of desolate pit villages, lovespoons (spoons with an elaborate handle that are a traditional artisan craft) and teashops.
The new Wales is a vibrant place where history is alive and Welsh culture finds new forms of expression. The mix of defiant tradition and New-World sophistication is one of Wales’ greatest assets today. The male voice choirs may still keep a welcome in the valleys, but an alternative culture flourishes in urban hubs, like Cardiff a healthy dose of hedonism oozes from gourmet kitchens and hip hotels, and a strong motif of environmental awareness underpins the country’s forward-looking perspective. Wales remains a superb outdoors location: grab your hiking boots or a mountain bike and head to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with its stunning scenery and coastal trail, or lose yourself in the pounding surf, sweeping beaches and limestone cliffs of the Gower Peninsula. You can tour villages with tongue-twisting names before settling down in a cosy pub with a pint of local ale in Brecon Beacons, or join the adrenaline junkies in a quest for the ultimate adventure in Llandudno – Welsh style.
Wales is a place that becomes an obsession, beckoning back its visitors year after year with its friendly locals, fine food, remarkable landscapes, white-knuckle adventures and admirably green credentials. These are the marks of a country looking firmly towards a rosy future.
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
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