Saturday May 22, 2010
I have been horrible at posting the last few days due to pure exhaustion and limited time, I apologize to my loyal friends and family who have been reading this.
Thursday I sadly had to leave Ireland but of course will be returning one day to explore way beyond the cities, I think I would gain much more from that. I took a cab from my hostel to the dock and then the ferry to Holyhead, Wales. Which I must say was an exciting three hours of sleeping and typing out my previous blog. Then it was a train for another 4 hours and I then arrived in Cardiff, Wales and to my delight to a very well kept, clean, friendly, cozy and best damn hostel I’ve been to the “Riverhouse”. After dinner, internet and a couple phone calls I was in bed and slept for about 10 hours due to my previous lack of sleep in Dublin.
Friday morning was a beautiful warm and insanely humid day in Cardiff which was a mighty change from Ireland and Scotland that I was not expecting in the least though happily embraced. My first stop was the castle that dated back 2,000 years due to early inhabitants and Roman occupation. Parts were very old and others were just recently updated in the late 1800’s. The main gate leading to the entrance was lined by amazing stone animals of various style and species which made for some delightful asrtsy fartsy photo taking. Then onto the main entrance. I was pleasantly surprised on what the castles walls opened into, instead of many buildings making up the wall with towers and what instead it was a mostly open field with only a few buildings. Oh and it was a rather large patch of land that the whole thing sits upon which is a bit different than other castles I’ve been too but made it almost like a casual stroll through a park just casually looking at 600 year old buildings.
The first stop in the castle was a pantomimed video roughly going over the cities history. Then an audio guide led you the rest of the time with random snippets of information. I will say as aesthetically pleasing as the castle was the audio guide and signs helped very little in understanding the full history of the castle. It sadly mainly only focused on the renovations that happened from the 18-20th century, oh well I can’t win them all. I will say I was mighty impressed in the part of the castle that dates back to the 18th century but had many things added and updated in the 1880’s. There was one room called the “arab room” which was essentially like a domes room with the most amazing wood work and tile. According to an information sheet the idea was for it to be a bedroom and for the person sleeping to feel like they were sleeping in a cathedral. Then the great hall was ornately carved with angels and front and back wood motifs. There was also libraries and many other rooms with plenty of magnificent wood work, those that have facebook I encourage you to look at my photos to better understand.
After my castle trip for the day I walked to the National Welsh Museum and wandered it’s few somewhat dry exhibits, but hey it was free! I did enjoy the parts on prehistoric Wales, go figure I sell fossils and have to go see more! Oh and the there was a very good exhibit on early man including bits on the earliest burial in Britain 25,000 years ago found in Wales. Then there were some nice pieces of art and some interesting modern art exhibits annexing more film styles of art. All were fascinating chronicles on existence and intriguing if not heart wrenching.
After the museum I felt in dire need of food and remembered a place I had seen in an arcade (victorian equivalent to a mall) called “Madame Fromage” which I had also heard about in my guide book. Here I had yet another great meal and one of the best I’ve had in weeks (up there with the amazing veggie wrap in Howth). I had the special of Goat’s cheese and cranberry quiche with salad, and seasoned bread to go with. All of which was so good I couldn’t bare not finishing it. The restaurant was also unique for it’s extensive shopping selection on cheese, breads and other products with a more specialized detail to them. Though their prices were really inexpensive and the variety gave you plenty of ideas for an elaborate and exciting meal!
As I didn’t mention before Cardiff, like most main cities, is a shopper hub so after my sight seeing (there really wasn’t anything else to see). I walked around stores a little, listened to some street performers; one played a song by the Cure which made me really happy. Then walked back to the hostel for a brief rest.
Soon after I returned the four other girls I was sharing the room with returned from their day out as well. They then kindly offered for me to join them for a night out on the town which I could not refuse!These girls were on a mini break from Preston where they go to university and having a grand girls weekend. We got all gussied up and headed out about 9:45pm and decided to work our way up the street for clubs. We started at an 80’s theme club which was fun for one drink, then we went to another that was completely dead but had cheap drinks and got more interesting when a group of 20 to 30 20-somethings came in all dressed up as “Waldo (Wallie in the UK)” from “Where’s Waldo”. They were definitely a funny group to observe and the costumes really added to their absurdity!
After this club it was the next one up which had buy one get one free cocktails and girls dancing in lingerie. Then the next was the last and best of all what we called the “Welsh Club” and it was an AMAZING indie spot. They played a great variety of music from the Cure to the Pixies, Sum 41 to the White Stripes and the Strokes. I had so much fun dancing and singing with these other girls into the same music and scene as me that it was going on 2am by the time we stumbled out of the club and had to find a chicken joint for these three girls (their after club ritual). They munched away on fried breaded chicken bits and I had a veggie wrap, water and chips (french fries). I also tried to avoid the men at a stag party going on about how sexy my accent was and how it turned them on. This was another night I was so glad to be out with a more or less support group.
About 2:30am we made it back to the hostel and crashed. I awoke the today at my schedule 8:50am, had breakfast packed and told the girls goodbye. I then caught my train to Crewe and from there to Liverpool where I write you from. I am horribly tired tonight so I haven’t done much other than have a giant bowl of soup at a Chinese restaurant and walk around china town. Supposedly tonight is the anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” release so there is stuff happening that I wish I could see but sadly it’s all booked up. Well I hope for tomorrow that there is some sort of Beatlemania happening.
Strawberry Fields Forever,
Rebecca Robinsonowl at the falconryThe arab room, a bedroom designed to make you feel as if you were sleeping in a cathedral