This morning we jumped back onto the sightseeing bus and continued the circuit around from our hotel back past the castle and returned to Mermaid Quay (the waterfront area).
Wales has a policy of bilingualism, as a way of preserving the Welsh language and culture. This means that signage on streets, shops and touist attractions are in both Welsh and English. Currently about 20% of the population are considered to be fluent Welsh speakers and the number is increasing.
Cardiff was declared a city in 1905 and the capital of Wales in 1955, and the influential Marquess of Bute was the richest man in the world for a time. He comissioned architect William Burgess to design his house at the castle and several other major buildings.
We embarked on a half hour cruise around Cardiff Bay, which until recently had the second highest tides in the world, until a barrage was built across the bay from Cardiff to Penarth. The barrage contains sea locks, sluice gates and a fish gate so the salt water fish can return to the rivers to spawn. The barrage has creted a fresh water lake and keeps the salt water of the Bristol Channel out. Scott-who-went-to-the-Antarctic-but-should-have-stayed-home embarked on his ill fated voyage from Cardiff harbour.
A coffee and Welshcake at the Millenieum centre was followed by a stroll through Bute park, adjacent to the castle. This 450 acre parkland has the river Taff flowing through it. It is a beautiful garden and at this time of year when the daffs are blooming and the trees are blossoming it was a lovely way to spend a sunny sfternoon. The wall along the front of the park features sculpture of animals escaping over it. This wall was commissioned by the Bute family after their request for a private zoo was denied amid fears of the animals escaping.
A lovely cheap and cheerful Italian restuarant was a perfect way to end the day, delicious pasta, bruschetta and pate...