An early start for our long weekend in Cardiff (spelt Caerdydd in Welsh but pronounced the same). We had originally planned to take the train by owing to a threatened strike we had played it safe and booked the coach. The strike was called off when the train authorities went to the high court but we had already paid for the coach.
During the 4 hour riden we were at the mercy of an ancient, skeletal driver with prison tatts who spent the entire trip chugging red bull, driving with one hand, and a foot on the dash, and swearing at everyone who went past. I must say it was something of a relief to arrive at the Cardiff Bus Station.
It was a short walk to our hotel, The Big Sleep. It bills itself as a 'budget hotel' which is one step up from a hostel, and is backed by John Malkovich, hence the photographs of him in the stairwell. The room was basic, but clean and spacious, although the faux fur curtains in the bedroom...and bathroom...left a little to be desired. It was like a teddy bear had thrown up.
The rest of the day was spend familiarising ourselves with Central Cardiff. We walked through St David's, a large recently opened shopping centre, and some of the more historic arcades. Cardiff is a small city, an area of just 6 sq km for the CBD and a population of 300,000. I was impressed by the relaxed atmosphere and public art. Wales employs a percent for art scheme and it is used well. My favourite was a set of bollards that when you looked into them revealed small dioramas.
We finished the afternoon with a drink at a Welsh Pub and dinner at Wagamama's. The stressful bu ride had taken it's toll and we returned to the hotel for an early night.