This past weekend I took a relaxing holiday to Cardiff, Wales! I fell absolutely in love with this country and city! The city itself was beautiful and a perfect mix of a modern marvels and Wales historical past. The city center itself has beautiful castles beside skyscrapers. The Welsh people are also some the friendliest people I have ever met to date!
I left very early Friday morning getting to the airport around 4:45am. I arrived in Cardiff around 8am and walked to the Riverhouse Hostel where I was staying. I was in desperate need for a nap but couldn’t check in until 2pm so I dropped off my bags and continued on my way. I walked towards the Cardiff Castle, which was only about a 5min walk from my hostel. I stopped at a tea café in a park right next door to the castle and ordered some hot chocolate and crumpets. I then paid to visit the Cardiff Castle. The Castle itself was really beautiful and was quite large. I appreciated the fact that an audio tour was provided when you bought a ticket so I strolled around the castle for most of the afternoon listening to the history of the location. Afterwards I walked on the main city street that was filled with shops and restaurants. I strolled through some outdoor markets that sold lots of traditional Welsh food including Welsh cakes that were very delicious. I then went to one of Cardiff’s free museums, The Cardiff Story, which depicted the history of the city in a interactive museum. Finally then it was 2pm so I went back to my hostel to check in and took a nap for a few hours. I went and had dinner than at The Queen’s Vault where the Welsh soccer game was playing and called it an early night.
On Saturday I woke up early to enjoy the lovely breakfast at the hostel and then figured out my plan for the rest of the day. I took a bus to Castle Coch, which was about 30min from the city. The castle is typically described as a “fairy castle” since it looks like what is often depicted in fairytales. This castle also included another audio tour that was extremely interesting to hear the history of the landmark. After I finished I hopped back on the bus and rode to Caerphilly. This is the 2nd largest castle in all of Europe! It had just started to rain when I got there so I hid in the information point till it stopped. This castle unlike the others really seemed to not be as well kept as the other ones I had seen. Also there was no sort of audio tour or informational signs to know what you were seeing. I wondered around for quite a while and even saw a beautiful wedding reception that was occurring the Great Hall. I even got to see the bride and groom who were taking photos throughout the castle as I walked around. I then returned back to the city center in Cardiff to find some dinner. I ended up stopping at an upper scale pizza place that had really good food for not too much money.
Sunday was a very relaxed day. I walked down to Cardiff Bay, which was about 45min from my hostel. The bay was full of interesting shops that sold trademark Welsh items such as Welsh Cakes and LoveSpoons. The bay itself was an area full of art and expression. There were lots of outdoor sculptors and art galleries that I wandered through. The national concert hall and parliament were also part of the scenery. There were also lots of boats that offered sailing trips around the harbor but I opted out for that today because it was quite windy and cooler than it had been the previous days. I was looking forward to going to the Dr. Who Experience but unfortunately it has been closed for the past month in order for renovations to occur. I then walked to the Red Dragon, which is a large complex that contained lots of restaurants, cinema, and shops. Last minute I decided to go see Mazerunners a film I had really been looking forward to seeing. After the film I went back to the bay and grabbed dinner at Nandos, a popular chain restaurant in the UK. I headed back towards my hostel and stopped at a coffee shop called #1 Coffee. I possibly had the best hot chocolate ever! It was a sweet white-hot chocolate with caramel mixed in as well. When I got back to my hostel they had a free dessert night with chocolate cake that I enjoyed and played with the two cats that lived there as well.
On Monday morning I flew back to Dublin and made it in time for my 1pm class! I really enjoyed my time spent in Cardiff. I think this is one of the few cities that I would love it live in rather than just visit. The Welsh population seems extremely nice and the cities and town were beautifully arranged. Really hoping to go back here someday