Last weekend, Kansas and I decided we needed a break from the big city. We basically googled cheap tickets, and decided to head to Wales for a grand total of £14 round trip. 4 hour bus ride, cheap hostels, yummy food. Can’t go wrong.
Cardiff is not a big city. Also, I’ve been inundating you with incredibly long posts lately. So, I’ll summarize some key features:
- Cardiff Castle. Yes, there is an ancient castle in the middle of town. Sounds like it was used up until the 1940s (which just seems weird to my American castle-free perspective). The oldest portions of the grounds, the wall and moat surrounding it, were begun in 281 AD (281!!!) by the Romans. Portions of these ancient walls still stand.
- Millennium Stadium. Built for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, this stadium is in the center of the city, only a few blocks from the castle. It’s a neat juxtaposition between old and new. The stadium is the 5th largest in Europe and seats around 70K people. Mainly, it’s gorgeous. Today, it hosts world-class musical acts (Michael Jackson Tributes, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna) and major sporting events. Our tour guide pointed out that along the perimeter of the stadium are squares representing each of the countries that played in the 1999 World Cup, designed by local school children.
- Public Garden. I think what I needed most was some time outside. Although the weather in Londontown hasn’t proved as bad as I’d feared it to be, there really aren’t that many trees or flowers or grass(es?) unless you head to a park. Unfortunately, the big famous ones aren’t that close to me. In Cardiff, there is so much outdoors it’s ridiculous. And the weather was amazing. So basically, we wandered around, spent everyday outside, etc. Just what the doctor ordered.
- Shopping. Wow. Who expected a relatively small city (~345k) to have so much shopping. Entire pedestrian-only streets dedicated to major, high-end stores. Bizarre. You’ll be happy to know I didn’t go totally crazy (although my bags certainly came back heavier). Some of this was due to the cute markets as opposed to the normal stores. (For the record).
It was gorgeous. You should visit too.