By now you’ve probably realised that Wales has three things aplenty: sheep, castles and mines.
Wales was famous for it’s coal mining throughout the 19th and early 20th century and had substantial slate mines but there had been small-scale mining in the country since the British Iron Age. Gold, copper and lead were mined in substantial quantities, zinc and silver not quite as much, until it wasn’t profitable any more.
I finally got to visit the Great Orme Copper Mines properly this year (with my parents in tow). Located half way up the Great Orme in Llandudno, it is the largest Bronze Age mine in the world and was uncovered in 1987 during a scheme to landscape an area of the Great Orme. Since then it has been an ongoing archaeological project of slowly uncovering bit by bit.
On the surface you can tour parts of the opencast mine which is over 4,000 years old and take a look down a deep Victorian mine shaft.
Entrance to the tunnels
one side of the area – there is more behind that white bridge
other side of the bridge looking towards the entrance building
looking back towards the entrance to the tunnels
the work process and the mine itself are explained throughout
my parents – you get to wear very fashionable hard hats too
Walking through the 3,500 year old tunnels you get a feel for the harsh conditions copper mining involved in those days and it always dazzles me what the people of that age were able to accomplish using only stone hammers and bone.
this cave like structure was illuminated in changing colours
the tunnels have quite low ceilings and are narrow
the lights create an amazing atmosphere
it get’s cold and damp down here
there are tunnels wherever you turn
The tunnels take you down to the second level which is approximately 60ft below the surface and it gets really cold and damp down there. If you feel claustrophobic easily this might not be the right place fore you. Only 3% of the tunnels are open to the public at the moment so some follow up visits might be required in the future.
And if you feel like you need some open air afterwards just make your way up to the top of the Great Orme with its stunning view.
Living abroad means being on the move constantly. Exploring my new home, getting to know new places and people or traveling back to Germany to meet family and friends.
So whether it is rambling around the Welsh country side, using the local train station as my gateway to this island nation, visiting London if I need some big city life or spending time at Cologne airport after visiting my home country – I’m on the move.
‘Travel Better London’ – it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind considering the recent strike on the London Underground. However, the tube is a brilliant way of getting around the city and with last year’s 150th anniversary it can look back on a long and successful history of getting passengers from A to B.
One thing that strikes me on every visit to London though is that while the British are renowned in the world for having perfected the art of queuing, it never quite seems to work on the tube. Often enough I hear announcements like “Use the whole length of the platform”, “Don’t obstruct the doors” or “Move down inside the carriage”. Well, I guess having that many tourists from all over the world visiting London and squeezing into the tube during rush hour doesn’t help either. That includes me, of course…
On my recent trip two weeks ago I spotted some posters on the platforms and in the trains that approach these ‘behavioural’ problems in a subtle but fun way. Each poster features an illustration by Matthieu Bessudo aka McBess and a poem which aims to remind travelers to be aware of others and your surroundings. All the typography is hand-drawn and McBess even added himself as a character in some of the posters. His distinctive style really makes an impact.
You can view a great film of McBess at work on this project here.