It’s reputation is one of drugs, boredom and alcohol as emphasised by the 1997 hit film Twin Town, and I am not about to admit to that trio in Malta’s leading paper. What I will talk about is amazing surf, a beautiful beach and rolling hills for campers.
My first visit to my favourite UK city was back in February, and the timing couldn’t be worse. It was the weekend when Swansea FC were crowned League Cup winners, and Welsh are simply not used to any form of glory on the football field. Trade that for a rugby pitch and it’s fine, but this lot don’t even know the offside rule. The pubs were over flowing, the fights were growing, but that’s just life in South Wales.
I decided to give it another shot and headed to an area which boasted Europe’s top beach. This brag insulted me as a Mediterranean so I had to investigate this myth. What I found pleasantly surprised me…
Just over the hill my eyes feasted on a stunning bay called three cliffs bay, named for obvious reasons. One of the cliffs packed a little surprise as a little window opened up and people who climbed through were in for a treat. A deserted bay opened up, and on a sunny day (granted this happens twice a year in the UK for a couple of hours) this bay was a beaut.
That bay did not even get close to winning the beach of the year award. My inner beach bum insisted I spent the night camping there and the beach had a little campsite which was glittered with impeccable 1970s camper vans, and I was happy in my new home, a little converted beach hut with all the necessary living arrangements including a pet dog. These beach huts were nothing short of luxury camping holidays, and the comfort of these things was phenomenal. Four people can fit into the five metre long cabin, which even had a fitted kitchen. You can chose from huts, camper vans boasting human names, or just slug your own tent along, either way you do it will relax you to the point of meditation and the service offered by Scamper Holidays was just perfect.
My curiosity however meant I got up early on Sunday and took a short drive to Rhosilli bay, and there was nothing silly about it. This bay was just enormous and I gave up walking the whole stretch after just 30 minutes trying.
Rhosilli bay gets it’s claim to fame as it is the home of the the living legend and former world champion Peter Jones. Surprised by this feat I trod up the hill to meet him, and I was greeted by a little man with an amazing tribute to his era wearing a magnificent moustache. PJ gave me all the hints and tips and encouraged me to get up onto a board and give the waves a run for their money. Pete now spends his days surfing (impressive given he is 62 years old) and running his surfing shop, perched on the hill, a walk to the nearest waves.
I was soon squeezed into a wet suit, handed a board and pointed to the magical beach, with gentle swells making it ideal for a total newbie. Newbie or not I looked a pro, and landed my first ever wave on my first attempt. No sport has given me such freedom as the feeling I got while riding a wave, and I vow to return to the waves as soon as possible.
The surrounding area is populated by little houses of character, and a pub sits on top of the hill overlooking the bay. The owner might have lost his humour, but his ales have certainly never lost any flavour.
In a gift from the heavens I was blessed with the best possible weather, however I would imagine that the winters here are rather long, and have given the little city the unwanted nickname of “Pretty, Sh**y City”. My nickname for this part has to be sexy, as these beaches are unreal, and are definitely the nicest bays I have ever been to, beating bays on the western coast of India, and Zazibar in the Indian Ocean.
For that weekend I had a snapshot of the perfect holiday destination, however what everyone talks about is the weather, and just how long this hot snap is going to last. During that weekend the pasty British hit the coast and it was bouncing, however I would not like to see their faces when the clouds cover the area for the other 364 days.
People may be bored during the winters but there is always something to do in town, and that weekend, purely by chance I landed some Illegal Eagle tickets. No no, my tickets were not from the black market, that is simply the name of his tribute band of the Eagles who blared out hits such as New York Minute and Hotel California in an old theatre, so if you are bored of British pubs Swansea offers good options for everyone, not just the typical old Welsh castle or nature trail.
After a weekend in such a beautiful place I felt I wanted more, and I can not wait to get back on my board and ride those Atlantic swells like there is no tomorrow. Swansea, you might be unloved by many but in me you have a companion for life and I can not wait to touch your curves and received sun kissed kisses from you once more,
All images also on instagram
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