Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cardiff I: Croeso i Gymru!

First, let me just say that my goals for Wales included hiking Mount Snowdon and strolling around the lakes in Brecon's Beacon. Unfortunately, we don't own a car. So what should have been a 2 hour drive through the country side evolved into 8 hours on the Stagecoach and a hugely over-priced stay in assorted B&Bs. Long story short, we saved ourselves the hassle (aka I couldn't convince Chad and Gager that the parks were worth the effort) and took a train to Cardiff - the capital of Wales - instead. The Cardiff Central Rail Station dropped us off right in the middle of tourist-town, so it was a fairly low-anxiety, reasonably enjoyable experience.

1) Mount Snowdon - the first place I didn't get to go. But hey, there's a horror marathon going on a bit south of there in November, so maybe...
2) Brecon's Beacon - the other place I didn't get to go. These images were viciously stolen from the Internet, by the way.

Cardiff was much less crowded than London, but I guess that goes without saying. The shops in Wales had some interesting things in them. We found lots of tartans, love spoons, Celtic knot jewelery, and inflatable leeks alongside a good bit of "WE LOVE RUGBY!" and "WE HATE THE ENGLISH!" merchandise. Pretty cool to sift through, especially the love spoons. According to the information they had attached to them, men used to carve these elaborate spoons and give them to their lady friends. Now you can buy them around any major tourist attraction in Cardiff, but no, no matter how cool they look, I didn't buy one. These things retail for around £60 each. Way too expensive for a wall ornament, no? But either way, you have to look at it - so cool!

This is a slice of bara brith, or "speckled bread." It has nuts, raisins, candied fruits, and - at least in this case - chocolate. It tastes pretty good, too; Chad and I had it with our tea. This was the only local food we got to sample. Sad, I know. But no one else was really interested in finding a place that sold leek soup or cockles. Oh well, we probably would have wasted a lot of time walking around looking for places that served them. And hey, we did manage to dodge those nasty seaweed pancakes I read about last week.

And yes, this is a smoke stack that says "brains" on it. With the over cast skies, ongoing construction, and generally unpleasant state of my mind, it looked a lot like a scene out of a zombie movie. And, you know, the "brains" chimney didn't hurt. I'm not exactly sure what this thing is for, but I might as well include it. Anyways, Cardiff was OK, but not my favourite excursion. I think the interesting parts of Wales - excluding a few key attractions in the city - are in the country side and at the rugby matches. Hopefully I'll get a chance to experience both of those things at some point, but I doubt it's going to be any time soon. Oh well, there's always my next study abroad in England to look forward to... *pouts*

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is sad. Cardiff looks really cool on Torchwood and in Dr. Who....

too bad about those seaweed pancakes though - that might have been interesting!
:) - Elise