A little trip to Cardiff, South Wales

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cardiff is a lovely place filled with magical places, beautiful spaces, and some amazing artwork that makes you never want to leave. We were very lucky that this was our second visit to Cardiff so there was no anxious scramble to get to see everywhere - we simply packed our bags, hopped into the car, and headed North for the weekend.

This is the Severn Bridge. At the other end of it, you get to pay a whopping £5.70 toll gate fee! The up-side is that you get to see this amazing suspension bridge, beautiful views of the Severn river, and you don't pay a toll when you go back down South.

Cardiff is an interesting place. If you've been there, you'll recognise this as the Alliance on the Hayes - a strange, enormous stainless steel sculpture in the central shopping bit of Cardiff - the Hayes. It glows in various shades of neon as the water inside the hoop rises and falls with the tide. Fascinating.

This is a monument to the fallen seafarers who left Cardiff in World War II. I think that it is strikingly beautiful and particularly sombre with the festive background filled with seaside treats. 

Back at the quay-front, there's the People Like Us sculpture, of which you see only a little bit here. Frankly, my favourite bit. He looks a little like Just Nuisance, doesn't he?

We were there for two days. We spent the first day walking around the Hayes and the Castle areas, and the second day at Mermaid Quay before heading back down to London via Oxford. This is a photograph of the lovely church gardens outside the Old Library at the end far end of the Hayes. We had lunch in the Old Library which converts into a night club when the sun goes down. It's amazing how they manage to get it looking fairly reasonable for day-time patrons.

As a self-confessed foodie, one of my favourite things about going away is that you get to eat out every day. It's gratuitous gluttony, but it is oh-so-yum. We ate dinner at Jamie's Italian, enjoyed breakfast at Cafe Rouge and RBG, and treated ourselves to pastries various for afternoon tea in St. Davids Dewi Sant.

We were extremely lucky with the weather - we left rainy London only to discover a sunshiney bay filled with still waters. We went on a little boat ride from one side to the other and we got lots of interesting stories about the surrounds; such as the BBC has moved there and is currently building a series of homes that will be destroyed in the first episode of a new series of Torchwood or some other such television series, and that there is a giant squid living in the bay, providing natural gas bubbles to the freshwater fish and surrounds through its daily diet of baked beans.

They've done really well with cleaning and restoring their old buildings. The boat skipper told us that the renovations around Cardiff have only been in place for the last twelve years (!) and people on the boat were constantly exclaiming at how different it looks to the last time they were there.

Plus, I bought a pasta machine from the amazing shop Kitchens. I made butternut and feta tortelloni on our first night back in London but I was so excited by the whole thing that I forgot to take any pictures. You'll just have to wait and see.

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  1. Love the dog and face scupltures - so characterful!

    A pasta machine...wheee! Butternut and feta is such a magnificent combo...can't wait to see photos of your future pasta making adventures!


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