Sunday, 16 July 2017

One Day in Cardiff, Wales

When we were booking our 2015 Christmas break trip to London, we suddenly got this brilliant idea to start the holiday off in Cardiff, Wales instead. After all, there's Megabus for cheap tickets, cheaper accommodation than in London, and a new city/country for Julcsi to collect (I'd been to Cardiff once before, back in 2010 when I didn't have this blog yet). So, we flew to London, found our way to Victoria Coach Station, caught our Megabus, and were on our way for our one full day and two nights in Wales.


Once we finally made it to Cardiff, it was quite late and the only thing we wanted to do was find our hostel, YHA Cardiff Central. Though what the word 'Central' is doing in the hostel's name I shall never know - that place is nowhere near the city centre! We wandered around God knows where (I certainly don't) until we finally found the place, after what felt like at least ten kilometres of aimless dragging of our feet and suitcase around Cardiff. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly, but just know that this place is far away from the Megabus drop off point downtown. If you have a car, you'll be fine, and quite a few people did. The hostel at least back then was in a residential area around a construction site so you won't have a fabulous view from your window or anything like that. However, the hostel itself is really nice, kind of like the one we stayed at in Belfast in that it's more like a hotel. There's also a lovely restaurant/café/pub downstairs, and everything is quite affordable. On our first evening, we only went downstairs for some fish and chips before going to bed as we were quite knackered from all the travelling.

Anyway, so it was December when we went to Cardiff and the weather was quite horrible. It was raining non-stop on our one and only full day, and since I hate carrying any extra stuff with me, I obviously didn't have an umbrella, either. Good thinking, as always. (No but really, WHO wants to carry an umbrella around?! It's nothing but trouble! Plus if you have one, it never rains anyway. Rain NEVER happens when you have an umbrella  - this is a fact of life.) Despite the weather, we were determined to do some sights, and headed to Cardiff Castle. In the rain. Yes we did. (And we eventually also bought a fabulous umbrella, which lasted for maybe an hour and is the star of all of our pictures from Cardiff until its untimely death.)

We had a guided tour of the castle, and the tour happened indoors - yay! I can only recommend visiting the castle - it's one of the best I've seen anyway! Here's a sneak peek!








The Clock Tower.
We then had some coffee before venturing out into the rain again properly and climbing up the Norman Keep, which is completely outside.


It's very good to have an umbrella!


Julcsi with the Norman Keep in the background.




The Roman Wall.
Umbrella fun!

A view from the Norman Keep.
Wartime shelters.


We then went to the souvenir shop across the road and bought an insane pile of stuff. Since both of us are English teachers, we go positively nuts for anything we can bring to the classroom from our trips to English-speaking countries. What we love the most about all things Welsh is lovespoons. Traditionally, these wooden spoons were offered as gifts to express romantic interest - and yes, we do have our own lovespoon as well, only we presented it to ourselves in the name of equality and picked it out together :D.





Then, we went back outside (oh noes, totally wet boots!) to have a look at the completely gorgeous Animal Wall depicting 12 different animals.



Julcsi with animals of all kinds!







The lens was getting blurrier and blurrier...
By this point, being outside had turned completely impossible as my socks and shoes were thoroughly soaked! Therefore, we headed to the shops, mainly Primark for new socks and shoes! Since it was December, Queen Street was nicely lit up with Christmas lights, which brightened up the otherwise very cloudy afternoon. Christmas is here!!




Aaaand, whoever wants to see what we bought...


Oh yes. Don't ever let us near souvenir shops...:D

On our second and final day, we packed our bags and took everything with us downtown where we went to the Natural History museum while waiting for our bus to London. They have space to store even a bigger suitcase so it was quite a good idea to go there right before catching the bus. I loved the museum - finally got to see some dinosaurs!

Better weather - just as we were leaving! Figures!


A T-Rex head!

A mammoth.
So yeah, this was our mini little Cardiff excursion. There's a lot more to see there than this, but I honestly don't recommend for example Mermaid Quay for a rainy day. It's always good to leave something for the next time, though, so until then, Cardiff!


Aaaand, the next post will be about London, once again, so stay tuned :)!

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