"Schule, Gesang und Kohlengruben: Kulturgeschichtliche Skizzen aus Wales"

Name of traveller

Robert Schneebeli (b. 1920)

Reason for travel

  • travels as cultural tourist
  • return to Wales following a previous year-long residence in the country

Date of travel

summer 1955

Selbst wenn der Student später nicht einen ausgesprochen akademischen Beruf ergreift oder ergreifen will, sucht er doch, an die Universität zu gehen. Denn der Bauer will mehr sein als ein Bauer, der Schuster mehr als ein Schuster: er ist dabei immer noch ein Stück Theologe und Politiker. (Schneebeli 608)


  • architecture: terraced houses in the south Wales valleys look less uniform and bleak in the sunshine
  • agriculture: Welsh livestock appears gaunt and bony to Swiss eyes
  • customs:
    • notes a great number of chapels and the continued importance of the lay ministry
    • decline of the chapels during the twentieth century, but continue to have a significant influence on community life
    • identifies a great pride in education and learning across all social classes in Wales which is most prominently reflected in the students attending the University of Wales
    • witnesses preparations for the Aberdare Eisteddfod in the following year and describes the cultural significance of the festival
    • attends a rugby match in Cardiff and is impressed by the audience singing folk songs
  • history:
    • brief summary of the Welsh Methodist revival in the eighteenth century and the importance of the translation of the Bible into Welsh
    • importance of the Circulating Schools established by Griffith Jones (1684-1761) for the rise of private Bible study and autodidactical learning
  • industry:
    • continued slate mining in the Bethesda area, but at a much smaller scale than in the nineteenth century
    • coal mining and iron production as dominant industries in south Wales
  • recreation: identifies Wales as a lesser known and rarely visited destination for tourists from continental Europe
  • terrain:
    • describes driving through woodland as a rare treat in Britain
    • narrow valleys and Alpine mountains towards the west; a country of small towns and villages
  • transport: travels by car
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Nationality of traveller


Language of publication


Gender of traveller


Type of publication

essay; travelogue


Schneebeli, Robert. "Schule, Gesang und Kohlengruben: Kulturgeschichtliche Skizzen aus Wales." Schweizer Monatshefte: Zeitschrift für Politik, Wirtschaft und Kultur 36.8 (1956): 606-10. Print.