We wanted to take a route along the Welsh coastline, but with time in the UK limited, we could only manage one stop: Cardiff. We stepped off the train from Ludlow and immediately noticed the crazy spelling of the Welsh language. It is full of consonants and very few vowels, looking like a toddler having fun rattling away on a keyboard. Lucky for us, all signs were also in English. We checked in to our AirB&B and immediately hit the town for some late lunch. After eating at the Old Arcade, we found that the whole city is filled with “Arcades.” No, they are not game filled rooms with kids putting quarters in pinball machines with lights and bells galore. Arcades in Wales are like indoor shopping malls, almost like covered alleyways, filled with shops, restaurants, salons and more. We would find ourselves hitting up several arcades for lunch or drinks. Being our first night in town, we followed our normal routine of exploring the city by checking out what we would like to do while also barhopping from place to place. After stopping in at The Cambrian Tap and the Queen’s Vault, we made our way home to end our first night.
We slept in on Saturday and made our way back downtown, near the castle, to one of the arcades where we found a cute cafe. We sat down for some coffee and lunch. We both ordered the lamb cawl, a traditional Welsh soup with braised lamb, veggies, delicious broth and some bread. The day started cold and rainy, and the day would continue to stay the same. So, we did what any traveler would do: barhopped. Grabbing a pint here and a pint there, we shopped in between, and came across Owain Glyndwr (named for the last “King” of Wales before the English began their rule), where they had Rekorderliig (one of our favorite ciders) on tap. We had dinner there and as it got dark, began to hear what seemed like a show or concert going on outside the door. We stepped out to find a huge projection mapping animation on the church’s bell tower about the legend of Edward I stealing authority over the Welsh in the 13 c. It was about a 10 minute video, and we were so amazed, that we watched it twice. It was spooky, informative, and definitely entertaining. We popped in to another pub nearby that had a great DJ playing and sat down for some drinks. After a few pints, we began to notice a small group of older men dancing with some young ladies…probably intoxicated. We learned from the bartender that the men were Hungarian Ambassadors who were in town for a conference that weekend! We were quite entertained by their drunkenness to say the least.
Our last full day in Cardiff came and we were lucky to get some nice weather to see some more of the city. We took a short walk around the castle and made our way down to the Cardiff Bay. We walked along the pier, walked through the Pier Head Building and Norwegian Church, and sat down for a little tea before making our way back to the city center for a quick dinner before bed. Our quick trip to Wales wasn’t a disappointment, and we hope to see more of the Welsh coastline sometime in the future.