Friday 9th (Arriving in Cardiff)
When we arrived in Cardiff, Heather and I were in different hostels and so we planned to re-connect after our check-ins at the Tourist Information Center.Our hostels are over a mile apart, so we quickly made our way to our respective hostel.I made it back to the Visitor center first and went in and started browsing.Pretty soon an older gentlemen came over and told me they were closing…they close at 5:30pm and not at 6pm like the bus station lady told us!So asked him if I could first ask a couple of questions.He was gracious and gladly helped me figure out which of the castle ruins would be the best for me to tour on our planned 'alone' day. Caerphilly Castle it will be!I then sat outside until Heather arrived and we decided that in spite of being tired we would walk down to the International Food Festival down by the Bay.
It was a long walk, but when we finally got there we grabbed a bite for supper.Heather got a Lamb burger (or something like that) and I got this marinated chicken with olives, orange chunks, cheese and salad on a pita bread.You could tell it had a lovely olive oil base dressing.It was from a place called Basilica and was delicious!We then decided to top it off with a crepe with strawberries and chocolate filling.Let's just say that it dripped all over my top and pants…but oh, so good!We sat and listened to the live music for a little while, but pretty soon realized that we were just too tired and still had this long walk back.That walk back just seemed to take forever!But we finally made it back.
Now, the night was another story!I was in a dorm of 4 beds and it was a mixed dorm which meant bother girls and guys.Well, there ended up being on guy in the dorm and boy was he just freaky!I first noticed it when he would come in and lay down for 5-10 minutes and then head back out again. That happened when I was first checking in.Then later when I was settling in for the night, he would do the same thing. I tried to just ignore him, because when he would say something it was just strange.He was local here and had been bunking out with friends for a while and was planning on finding a place to rent on Saturday (my gut was telling me they probably kicked him out!).Well, he would bring in this large can of 'whisky' as he called it.Would guzzle it for a while, lie down, get up and go out and later come back in again.I then just tried to ignore him and read.He kept interrupting me to teach me how to say 'hello' in Wales, to ask me stupid questions, to just say inane things.Was I ever glad when my roomies arrived in the room (they were female).This of course didn't stop him.Then in the dark, the one gal happened to kick his beer can which was right in front of the bunk ladder.So he ragged about that for a while and then went out to get more.We caught a whiff of something interesting, which the girls recognized as weed.Thank God he didn't light up in the room though or we would have marched down and complained!But as if that wasn't enough he decides to turn on his music really loud.It was after midnight by this time, the lights were out (I had my little reading light on and was desperately trying to ignore him and his talking).Finally I asked him if he needs earphones after a pillow over my head didn't help.He was like, I asked if you all like the music.But he finally got it turned off.Then after a couple more hours of mindless chatter every now and then, more guzzling, and a couple more trips in and out of the room, he turns on the music very loud.By now it's after 3am and I was ticked!The mattress was not very comfortable and he made everything even less comfortable.This time I told him to turn it OFF!He mumbled something about not being able to and the music continued.Finally one of the girls laid into him and told him that all three of us had enough and to get that music off!It finally went off and he eventually fell asleep.Finally then I was able to sleep, and today he checked out!One of the girls complained today and we found out that had we complained even in the middle of the night, he would have been kicked out because alcohol is not allowed in the rooms.But a girl replaced him, and she is a very nice girl from Canada…so at least for tonight we will be fine!
Sat 10th (Cardiff)
Today was the day that Heather & I were planning on doing our own thing.So, I was very surprised when I came down and there she was in the lobby!I found out that her Brecon Beacon bus only ran on Sunday's.So we just swapped our Saturday/Sunday plans.That meant that we toured the Cardiff Castle.This castle still had the original Roman keep, but pretty much everything else was rebuilt.It was interesting and we spent a bit of time there.We found the mansion and its decorative ceilings, architecture and furnishings were fabulous!Ask Heather about the library…wow, the large room, the bookcases, the window seats, the wall art of famous authors and well-known characters from books….she fell in love!
After that tour, we hopped on the sight-seeing bus and headed off on the loop around the city.We got off down by the Bay again and planned to grab a late lunch at the International Food Festival.The crowds were just horrible and the lines everywhere were so long.We ended up grabbing some pasties…very similar to a pot pie.The only problem was that they were cold and she could not warm it for us.After one bite, we decided that cold just does not work!So we instead each got a double dip cone…(we both LOVE chocolate!).Then we had to wait for a half hour for a bus to take us back up to the city center.And by this time the roads were just horrible!Realized that not only was there the International Food Festival going on, but there was also this Motocross Speedway event and was drawing just thousands to the Millenium Stadium.The bus was not even able to make all the stops, but we were dropped off back at the castle so we could walk home.
After a little down time, I warmed up my pasty for supper and then met Heather and the movies where we got away from all the crowds and noise and watched the latest Shrek movie.When we got out, it was around 9pm and the crowds had largely cleared and the weather had cooled off some.We split up with plans to meet back up on Monday morning at the rail station to head to London with a stop over at Stonehenge!
Sun 11th (Cardiff)
Ended up getting to bed quite late last night so had a wonderful time sleeping in this morning!Finally got up around 9am and ran down for my free breakfast.After breakfast I got ready for my trip to the Caerphilly Castle.My roommate and another girl we met here at the hostel decided to accompany me, so it was great having some company.We grabbed the bus at noon for a 45 min drive.We were dropped off right outside the castle.And wow!Was the castle ever huge and awesome.It's the largest castle in Wales and the ruins were just so much fun to wander around in.Various towers had circling staircases going up to the top or to a walkway.
In the Great Hall, they were preparing for a wedding reception…what a gorgeous place (and expensive) to host your reception. Very picturesque!This was probably one of my favorite castles to visit simply because of the lack of 'refurnishings' that were done.You could tell that there has been some rebuilding and of course the maintenance necessary for upkeep, but all in all, it's still a 'castle ruin' to me. My reasoning is that as it seems very close to nature as you see crumbling and leaning walls and towers. Certainly there were other visitors to the site, but it wasn't teeming with tourists, but rather people just sitting/laying in the expansive yards, others fishing in the lake and others, like me, trying to just experience this grand old piece of history.
Once we were finished roaming the Castle, we walked into town where a Flower Festival was in progresss.Because we still had 45 minutes before our bus ride, we jumped on a free 15 minutes bus ride that took you on a circle around the city.We sat on the top level and just enjoyed the sun and the breeze as we viewed the city from 'above'.
The ride back to Cardiff was non-eventful and on my way back to the hostel, I grabbed a quick bite to eat.So far the remainder of my wonderful and relaxing Sunday looks to be divided between the computer, reading and watching the futbol game between the Netherlands and Spain.They sure are passionate about the sport here and I'm really enjoying it.Those that know me, know I do love most sports! J
I'm hoping Heather had a good day today hiking in the park.I'll meet up with her tomorrow morning and we can compare notes!