I travel, I like travel, I have become a pretty good traveller. So much so, I. My own mind, that I have developed a dislike of tourism - I prefer the real, the raw, the natural - not just of nature but of people, lives and the built and developed environment.  I find the ancient history of Greece or Rome as vital and gripping as the modern emergence of Tel Aviv, Dubai and more.

Yet here I am in a seaside town - perhaps the illustration of what I might not like and I find myself charmed and enchanted by it.

The simplicity of a beach that is variously hot sand, wet pebbles, raining and misty through to burning and scorching.  A sweeping bay of guesthouses and bed and breakfasts that are punctuated by pubs, ice cream stores and chip shops.  A pier that feels past its prime and hosts a pub, a pizza house and of course a snooker hall.  A soaring cliff edge with a vinicular railway, a war memorial topped by winged victory set on the edge of a rugged medieval castle.

 

And a town that shows off all of these things with a proud casual nature of going about its business daily, busily and yet relaxed and in touch with what it is and what it might be.

Yes, I'm in Aberystwyth, the place beside the river Ystwyth, and it is beautiful, charming and  a place of surprises.  It has an economy that is localised, bespoke and yet supported by the chain stores we so apparently need, and yet it has the youthful embrace of a town proudly carrying a University.  That university carries a economic gift that has enhanced this town, injected enthusiasm, and  a location that develops loyalty, love and affection off this farthest flung west Wales.

If you haven't been before then I recommend it.  End of the railway line perhaps, or more properly maybe, the start of the line, more like.  From here I intend to explore this lovely, verdant, rugged and charming country about which, until now I have been blissfully and lackingly ignorant.  Why hello Wales.