This past Saturday we took the train to Cardiff, Wales. Wales is a different country than England but it is still in both the United Kingdom and Great Britain (only Northern Ireland is in the UK but not Great Britain. That is your geography lesson for the day).
We decided to go to Wales because, though we could be content spending every moment in Bath, that wasn’t exactly feasible. Cardiff is a great day trip and a good place to get our feet wet, literally, for traveling around Europe.
The day started off in quite an interesting way. We had been warned not to travel to Cardiff when there was a game in Millenium stadium, home of the adored Welsh rugby team. We thought we were fine this Saturday because there was not one. We did not take into account, however, the fine game of football. We arrived at the Bristol train station at around 8:50 AM. Emma was looking to one side, exclaiming about architecture. The rest of us were looking to the other, confused by the large mass of men who had cropped up.
“Emma, LOOK,” I said.
“This is a really cool building—“
“JUST FREAKIN’ LOOK OVER HERE!”
“Oh. So this is where all the men have been hiding.”
Yes, these were football fans from Bristol, and yes, they were wasted. They stormed onto the train and all I could do was put aside Lord of the Rings and the Les Miserables soundtrack and stare. Some stood and some sat, but the train had become exponentially more rowdy. They drank their Thatcher’s Gold cider and sang, sometimes singing ABOUT Thatcher’s gold. My favorite songs included lyrics like “always shit on the Welsh side of the bridge” (to the tune of a Monty Python song, I assume) and “10 sheep shaggers in a field.” I felt extremely uncomfortable, but also amused at the same time. Luckily, there were cops in the car so I wasn’t afraid, but the football fans also did not really pay attention to the cops when they told them to shut up.
Then when we arrived in Cardiff we saw some guy who had been sitting right near us get arrested. Whee! No idea what he had done, probably talked back to a cop or something… awkward! Let’s move on. But that was my train ride. Yay cultural experiences!
After stopping so I could purchase and egg and bacon sandwich (yummy, but still not real bacon), we made our way to Cardiff Castle, which I would say is arguably the biggest tourist landmark in Cardiff. I think it might have been the first castle I’ve seen, and we had a nice time walking around the walls, the keep, and also the tunnels where they hid during wartime, though that part was kind of scary because they kept blasting odd music throughout said tunnels… We had audio guides and I really did learn some stuff about the construction of the castle but my retention skills are quite low at the moment, so all I can offer you are some pictures.
I also dropped my camera and it might be broken. Cardiff Castle 1, Taylor 0.
Next we were going to go to the bay but then I was forced to take a stroll through a park, where we totally smelled weed. Then we had lunch from a slightly sketchy cheap store on a corner, deciding that we would save our pounds for a nicer dinner (read: cider).
After lunch we made our way to the visitor center, where we got directions to the bay—half an hour away. Still worth it, because, like the nerd I am, I needed to see where Torchwood was filmed.
Sadly, extreme fogged marred our visit, but it was still worth the walk. Though I do wish I could see more than like 5 feet out into the bay. We walked to the Dr. Who experience which I realllllly wanted to go to, but, as the only fan, I sadly had to pass.
Our last stop was the FREE MUSEUM! Put the word free in front of everything and I will go. It actually turned about to be pretty cool, because there was a history of Wales section, a Natural History section, AND an art section with some pretty Monet. Plus benches so Ruth and I could rest—the amount of walking we did was NOT IT. I might need to invest in a scooter.
Post free museum, we walked around, Emma got tea and a muffin, we continued to walk around, then looked for a place for dinner. We ended up at the Owyn Glyndwyr, a pub named for a famous dead Welshman who was apparently the last Prince of Wales.
After dinner, about 10 Welshman appeared at our table. You’d think that would be it but then there MORE kept coming and it was INSANE. I wouldn’t call them country folk but they weren’t the most educated of men either… However, they were pretty polite, which was good because being one of four girls surrounded by that many guys could get real awkward realllll fast. They were probably around our age, maybe a bit older, and were eager to discuss American customs and also teach us Welsh Words. One man even had a dollar in his pocket! They were also very eager to visit Disneyland. Somehow I ended up sitting near the grenades of the group (as the Situation would say), a really fat man and a scarier one with tattoos named Mikey, but he bought me a drink so I’m not complaining. Moral of the story: grenades are perfectly nice.
A choice quote from one of the men: “What are the odds that FOUR AMERICAN WOMEN would show up in OUR BAR?”