As with all the other major cities we visited, there was a Hop-on Hop-off City Bus Tour service in Cardiff. Having no vehicle of our own, it is also a great introduction to a new place. We get a brief history (complete with puns, jibes, and general cheekiness), a quick review of important places and events, and a general idea of where to go and spend more time. As I was in an on-going search of great castles, and we had already seen the big one in town, I chanced upon a wall of tour books at the gift shop at Cardiff Castle. If we had had the time, I would have visited every one of them–Conwy, Caernarfon, Laugharne, all of which were either in northern or western Wales, and Caerphilly and Raglan within a short train ride’s distance, which we did.
But first, the city tour … which starts at Cardiff Castle.
I couldn’t find a city bus tour map online. Sorry. Even googling specifically for Cardiff, I got every other city in Europe, but not Cardiff. Pop quiz. What are residents of Edinburgh called? Edinburghers … not that other inappropriate name. Glasgow? Glasgownians? Glaswegians! I never knew. Cardiff? Cardiffians, not Kardashians. The city bus tour took us to the Port of Cardiff which in the 1800s became the pre-eminent iron and coal-exporting port of Wales, most of it now repurposed for advanced technology firms, conservation, education, and entertainment. The Pierhead Building is Wales’ own Big Ben. The Wales Millennium Centre is the national home for the performing arts in Cardiff Bay. Techniquest is Wales’ science center and the country’s only digital planetarium. The Red Dragon Center is one massive entertainment center under one roof. And the Senedd is the National Assembly for Wales. More information on this page, http://cardiffharbour.com/attractions/
After the tour ended, we caught lunch at a quaint little shop in one of the Victorian arcades called Garland’s, and had some Welsh cawl, after which we took a stroll around the Bute Park Arboretum behind Cardiff Castle.
After much more walking around the City Centre, its many arcades and shops, I thought we should find us some live Welsh music, which neither of us knew what exactly it was we were looking for. We ended up at O’Neil’s (Irish Pub) and had a lovely beef and guinness pie, and some nice hard cider to wash it down. Then we realized the live music wasn’t going to start for another two hours. Maybe tomorrow.
Rolo B Castillo © 2016