Cardiff and Caerphilly 2006

The city I live in, and an important neighbouring town.

Cardiff is the Capital City of Wales (or in the Welsh language; Cymru - pronounced Coomree). Wales/Cymru is one of the four countries that makes up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The others are England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Be warned that although the name "England" is often mis-used to mean all four contries, that is not correct, and is considered insulting by the inhabitants of Wales/Cymru, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. (It would be equivalent to telling New Yorkers that they all live in Missouri, or perhaps more accurately, telling Polish people that they live in Russia.)

In case you were wondering, Great Britain or Britain refers to the largest island in the British Isles, and includes Wales, Scotland and England. Ireland is another island which consists of two countries; the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland is not. The British Isles is a name for the collection of islands, including the main islands of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as many other nearby islands such as the Isle of White, Isle of Sky, and many thousand other islands in the area. The Isle of Man (as well as Jersey and Guernsey near coast of France) is not a part of the United Kingdom, but is a Crown Dependency, meaning that it is a posession of the British Crown.

Wales is often referred to as the Land of Song, and that is a well earned title. Several well known bands and singers emerged from Wales. Perhaps the most famous is Tom Jones, but there are several others; The Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Catatonia, Shirley Bassey, and Charlotte Church. However, the male voice choir - a very strong tradition dating back to the mining town communities - is what really sets Wales apart. Some of you may have heard of Bryn Terfel, but his self infatuated style fails to do any justice to the combined voice of traditional male voice choirs - try a more traditional choir if you want the true experience. There are far fewer well known actors though, with Anthony Hopkins being the prime example (though he sounds far more English than Welsh). Of course, there is also Timothy Dalton, Ioan Gruffudd or Catherine Zeta Jones, but as far as I am concerned, you are welcome to keep them; I am not interested.