I’ve popped into the forum a couple of times in the past but got kind of overwhelmed and so haven’t followed closely here (so many amazing posts! so little time! my anxious brain goes into hyperdrive!). Now I’m planning my first trip to Wales, a lifelong dream, and it’s finally happening May 11-26 this year. By then I should be done with Level 3, and I also did some of the old material before I figured out there was a newer version. However, I have zero practice actually speaking, except to my unfortunate and uncomprehending friends, and I’m looking for some guidance.
The idea of the trip is to explore but also to get a chance to actually speak Cymraeg. I’ve seen the lists of meetups and hope to be able to make one or two while I’m there, but I’m also hoping the crowd here might point me towards the best way to find people to practice with along the way one on one or the best places to visit if I want to find friendly Welsh-speakers. I’ll be starting in Machynlleth and exploring Snowdonia for a bit before spending some time on Anglesey. My itinerary’s not set in stone, though, and I expect there will be some impromptu adventures along the way.
So, where might an eager but also mildly overwhelmed learner start? Which threads should I check out on the forum when making my plans? What places should I consider visiting? What resources would be best for making the most of my time yn Gymru?
The threads posted above will certainly give you a good idea of what’s up here near Caernarfon, and I can probably meet up with you for a panad sometime if you like.
It could be worth you doing some speaking practice on the Welsh Speaking Practice Slack group to get used to chatting ‘semi-wild’ (many in the group are SSiWers anyway) - so if you’re interested in that, we can help.
If there is anything else you want to ask after reading Philip and Baruch’s threads, anything that wasn’t covered there, come and ask here and there’s sure to be someone with the answer!
Hi Brennan - I hope you really enjoy your trip and that you remember to enjoy the amazing countryside as well as enjoying immersing yourself in conversations! If you are starting in Machynlleth and have any sort of interest in History, Owain Glyndŵr’s Parliament building on the main street may be worth a look. One of the most fascinating cafés I’ve ever been in is T.H. Roberts in the square in Dolgellau. Amazing home-made cakes, lovely (Welsh-speaking, but not all) staff and an historic building to boot. Bala is an interesting place. It feels old and well-established and the card-shop Siôp Ria is worth a visit - independent, Welsh owner (lovely lady), beautiful hand-made cards, what’s not to like? Time-permitting, there is a steam railway (what else in Wales!!) running alongside Llyn Tegid, (Lake Bala in English). I’m not sure if it lasted too long, but the sign for towns name (Y Bala) on the main road in from Dolgellau had been changed to Y Bale out of respect for Wales’ favourite football player the last time I was there…!
Mwynheua dy hun!!
With that much Welsh under your belt, but no speaking practice yet, you’ll have a much, much more enjoyable time if you get a couple of hours of ‘in at the deep end’ speaking done before you come - if you don’t, you’ll risk the fact that the quick interactions in shops etc will feel much tougher than you might expect (because they’re very formulaic and very fast).
But if you get a couple of hours (or ideally more) done before coming, you’ll have a dramatically more enjoyable time…
And the best way to do that is, as Siaron said, the Welsh Speaking Practice group, where there are people looking for practice partners all the time, and group practices lead by experienced learners most evenings of the week. To join, just email email@example.com with WSP in the title and your name in the email…
I’m so pleased to see that you’re starting your Welsh tour in the centre of the universe (Machynlleth)! If you’re intending to be there for a day or two, I hope we can meet up and talk face to face. And I’d love to chat to you on Slack beforehand, so we’ll be friends by then…
Diolch yn fawr iawn to everyone for such helpful and kind responses! I’m going to have to take some time to dig through all the useful threads here. I’ll see about getting added to the slack group so I can get some speaking/listening practice in before the trip.
@siaronjames I will definitely reach out when I’m in the area! I do imagine I’ll make it over to Caernarfon for a bit and if it works out a panad o de would be lovely.
@BronwenLewis yes, there are so many things in the Machynlleth area calling to me that I’m imagining a few days there before I move northward. I’ll reach out on slack once I’m set up there!
@Garys I have a few hikes into the countryside in mind… Just started breaking in my new hiking shoes this weekend! Bryn Cader Faner is on the list and I understand that’s going to be a bit of a trek.
@aran I wouldn’t want to impose at all on you or Catrin but if I were to get the chance to wave hello and say thank you for all your work on SSiW I’d love it. I’ve wanted to speak Cymraeg since I was a (very strange) child, and previous efforts were quickly abandoned, whereas this has been by far the easiest way I’ve ever learned a language (and it’s the 7th one I’ve tried over the years, so I know whereof I speak).
Sounds lovely! I just joined the slack group, now I have to start finding time to use it… probably next week after the chaos of the next few days is over. Let’s definitely chat then and make plans when it’s closer to.
I have set up a website that assesses shops etc use of Welsh. Others, especially Nicky (well almost only Nicky) have supplied places. Have a look at the web site www.breatheyourwelsh.cymru. It may be of use.
Sut mae brennan, dwi’n gobeithio bo ti’n mwynhau y gogledd. Bydda i’n teithio i’r gogledd hefyd mewn mis mai ac bydda i’n aros mewn Rhyl. Dwi wedi bod yn dysgu Cymraeg efo SSIW hefyd a dw i’n gobeithio i ymarfer siarad Cymraeg. Mae’n anffodus bo ti’n gadael ar y 26th - dyna pryd dwi’n cyrraedd!