My great grandfather came to America with his parents when he was 12 years old from Aberdare. There are three long valleys in southern Wales and my roots go back to two of them. Before coming to America, my Edwards family lived in Methyr Tydfil (a mining town). We stopped in Aberdare at a McDonald’s and I had a hot chocolate (it was the absolute worst hot chocolate that I have ever had – beware of McDonald’s where ever you are – they are so over salted and greasy). I hear that in Japan that they serve strange fish like octopus. We toured Cyfartha Castle in Methyr Tydfil. It was just an enormous brick house belonging to Cyfartha who was an Englishman that ran his mines like a sweat shop (even working small children in the mines working mules and piling rocks in buckets). The best thing that ever happened to my Edwards family was that they joined a new church (the Mormons as they were called) and left Wales for a better life. So many of the miners died early.
The old mining artifacts were quite interesting. I bought a souvenir and the sales lady spoke to me in Welsh – they keep their language alive. She was just waiting on some school children and forgot to switch languages.
We stayed at a B&B at Abergavanny and found an Italian Restaurant called Lugui’s (12.40 pounds for two vegetarian lasagnas and drinks). The next morning while having breakfast, we visited with a retired Vicar who was delighted to talk to Americans. He was doing a bit of traveling. He was very easy to understand whereas in some parts of England, they are not.