Writing this blog is challenging, I'm swaying back and forth and I have only had one drink. We are rocking and rolling on the high seas enroute to Ireland. The ferry is about the same size as the Picton Ferry and the crossing is feeling very similar. The only difference is there is a large duty free shop on board, but its rather challenging looking at makeup and jewellery when you cant stand up straight!
So lets get back to the blog, now where were we. Ahh that's right, we had arrived late into our room at Plymouth. Due to the late arrival, the glass of baileys and the sleeping tablet, I slept well, and woke up feeling like i was back to normal (lol if there is such a thing)
We started our day, once again with a full cooked buffet breakfast and were on the road at 8.30am heading towards Bath. I guess I had no expectation of what BATH was about. Sure I had heard there were ancient roman baths, but I think the picture I had in my head was no where close to what we saw. I think I thought open paddocks similar to Stonehenge and I had wondered if we would be able to swim ourselves. Bath is a city, with thousands of people. It was bustling and busy, (as well as raining). Just getting off the coach and trying to follow our guide was such a task. Trying to all stay together and not get swept along with the crowd was not an easy feat.
The baths date back to 76 AD. They were built on and modified over the years. A roof was built and then replaced over them and in the 1800s a large terrace was added. It was staggering to be walking around a building with such history and again astounding to believe that the Romans had been able to use so much expertise, engineering, skill and ability to take advantage of this spring and put together such a huge complex.
We arrived into Cardiff mid afternoon, and have to say spent the afternoon in our room. Dave went to sleep and I caught up with the last blog. Before we knew it we were rushing to get ready for dinner.
The Welsh saint is St David or in Welsh DEWI. They do say David , but it sounds more like "Davv id" it's a harsh sound, but I have to say I love it. However, I think I will call him DEWI from now on.
The interesting thing about this Trafalgar tour is the optional excursions. They are totally optional, so you can just take advantage of the free time, but they are also so appealing that you really don't want to miss out. We have tried to go thru the list and not do so many, but after tonight's dinner we have ended up adding more of these excursions to our list.
Tonight was a dinner at an old Welsh pub. I can't recall if it's the oldest pub in the UK or whether it was just the oldest pub in Wales, but either way, it was an most fascinating destination. The ride out was around 30 minutes, so as well as the dinner you are getting a better look around with our tour guide Peter, pointing out all the sights. The pub was built in the 1380. The ceiling is low, and feels like it may have been built for hobbits. The stairs are tiny, so they obviously didn't have size 10 feet back there. Our group dined in the upstairs room. So the tiny staircase wound around like what you would expect to find in a castle. The timber beams and the large rock window sills created an incredible atmosphere. We were greeted by Amy a Welsh harpist. Im sure that David was not looking forward to harp music, but I will tell you what, Amy really got that harp going and impressed the Aussie's with Tie me kangaroo down, and waltzing matilda. The harp is the Welsh national instrument, even though Amy warned us that the Irish would try to tell us it is theirs. She has been playing since she was 6 and she is now 38, with a masters in music. What a great night, good wine, great food and good company. We are starting to get to know the rest of the group a lot better now. Interesting that there are 48 of us on the coach and 42 came to the optional dinner.
We travelled home around the coast and hit the hotel around 11pm feeling like we had had a nice taste of Wales.
This morning we had a leisurely breakfast and whilst we had declined one of the optional excursions, we decided to jump on the coach while it took the rest of the group to the Cardiff Castle. In my typical style, we managed to enter the castle, and get some great shots, we just didn't do the 20 pound tour. While the group (only about 30 of them) did the tour, we wandered thru the city and David got his photos of the Millennium Stadium where the All Blacks will be playing Wales later in the year. Ironically I managed to buy a nice All Blacks Tshirt, for about ¼ of the price of what David paid for his one back in NZ. So at least I can be as equally as patriotic as he is.
After our 2 hour wander of Cardiff, we met the coach and headed 2 hours up the coast to board the ferry to Ireland, and here I am. Rocking and rolling. David is catching a few more zzzz's and I'm starting to feel a little thirsty J