Swansea: a work in progress
Provisional towns; they're everywhere, just look around you! Why on earth would anybody want to save their hard-earned just to blow it on an all-inclusive fortnight to Benidorm when there are so many delights in the British Isles to explore? Sure, Benidorm's got sun, sea, sangria, excellent seafood and dubious entertainment for the over eighties, but apart from that, what have the Spaniards ever done for us?
Ok, let's forget the Spaniards for a moment and focus on the Welsh. Over quarter of a million of them live in a place called Swansea, which at first glance looks very town-like but has recently celebrated 40 years of city status. It's not the sprawling, towering metropolis that you'd imagine a real city to be, it's perhaps more like a cross between Basingstoke and Crawley with a marina shoved on the end of it. The surrounding countryside (which can be physically seen from some parts of the so called "city centre") is rather hilly and green. It keeps the sheep happy, and if the sheep are happy then so are the natives.
Swansea Transit Authority - Don't touch that handbrake
Bad sheep shagging jokes aside, this former Viking trading post has a rich culture of sorts, most notably it has been the home of classic writers Dylan Thomas (born and bred in Swansea) and Kingsley Amis (Swansea University lecturer). Other luminaries of celebrity who hail from these parts include Chris 'Cookie' Coleman, Micheal "Tarzan" Heseltine, and Lily Allen's dad. Fantastic - it's more than what Croydon ever came up with (Scouser Steve Coppell's makeshift centre forward Coleman was respected by the Selhurst crowd and they voted him as part of the Centenary XI in 2005).
Let's move on to the important tourist sights. Any self respecting day tripper should take time out to pay their respects to the Vetch Field, the former home of Swansea City AFC from 1912 to 2005. Holding a capacity crowd of over 30,000 at its peak, this historic stadium was named after a fruit (not Rob Brydon) that used to grow on the pitch. See it now in all its post glory gory before the local council flog it off to housing developers.
A natural progression after checking out the Vetch Field would be to take an energetic walk uphill to The Liberty Stadium which is the current home to The Ospreys as well as Swansea City AFC. The Liberty Stadium or Stadiwm Liberty as the locals call it, is in nearby Morfa, seats 20,532, cost 27 million quid to build and was made by Geordies. It's efficient, durable and above all else, soul-less which seems to be a prerequisite of every new stadium development. I'm sure the Swans' local rivals at Ashton Gate aren't in the least bit jealous.
Liberty Stadium ratings:
Entry price - is in GBPs
Transport links - chaotic post match exit of vehicles from park and ride facility
Stewards - bi-lingual; all staff are competent in Welsh and Bollocks
Steak slice - soft, elastic-like pastry that holds boiling hot Bovril
Beer - fizzy Carling, pre poured to ensure speedy delivery
Burgers - rank but still alive
Visit Swansea soon before it gets forgotten. Tell all your mates - the ones that have nothing better to do.
(S City 0 - C Palace 0. Attendance: 18,794)