A day before I left for home from London in September, I headed out to Cardiff for one last day trip. I had initially thought of going to Dublin, but as they say, "Kalau tak dapat ke Dublin, Cardiff pun jadilah" (OK, I totally made that up).
Anyway, as opposed to my other day trips to Brighton and Oxford, Cardiff was a tad pricier. I mean, it was another whole different country and stuff. And oh, forgive me if I can't recall all the details of it in this post. But I do remember that the train ticket was GBP67.50 (RM337.50). Dah cakap dah, mahal sikit lah.
And yeah, I've learned my lesson from previous trips well and got to the train station early (was it Paddington?), to ensure myself a nice and comfy seat. The journey itself was a pleasant one with only a few stops in between.
I think I got there around 11am, and the sun was shining brightly, although the temperature was low. First thing I noticed was of course the Welsh language which was on all signboards and notices. I tried pronouncing them but gave up due to the lack of vowels.
Anyway, I exited the train station and immediately saw the Millennium Stadium. But of course my first mission was to find the Hop On Hop Off bus station.
I didn't have any maps or guides so I decided to explore the area around the Stadium first. It was a Saturday but the city centre area was rather quiet and deserted.
From there, I stumbled upon the entrance to Bute Park, one of the most famous landmarks in Cardiff. And yes, of course I wished I had my running gear on; I mean, it'd definitely be cool to have "Wales" on the list of Larian 40 Taman!
The views here was just wonderful and I also stopped at a cafe to have a plate of vegetarian lasagna while getting freaked out by the numerous large dogs the other restaurant patrons decided to bring along for their lunch!
After Bute Park, I saw the red Hop On Hop Off bus going in the general direction of Cardiff Castle, probably THE most famous landmark in the city.
I decided to do the castle thingy later on and got on the bus instead. And yes, I remembered that bringing a used City Sightseeing bus ticket would get me a discount for this trip, so I actually got 10% off.
We got a "live" commentary on the bus and the dude was indeed entertaining, especially with his anti-English jokes. Hehe.
I finally got down near Cardiff Bay where loads were happening. For one, there were tons of international restaurants here, so you could just take your pick (I ended up by crisps at Waitrose though).
And the views of the Bay were simply wonderful.
Also interesting here was the Roald Dahl plass and of course the Wales Millennium Centre, the city's premier arts centre.
I finished the tour after that and got down at Cardiff Castle. And I must say that the castle is a must-visit of you're ever in town.
A medieval castle and a Victorian Gothic revival mansion, there's so much to discover here, especially with the help with the audio guide.
My last stop was the shops right opposite the castle. Blew most of my money here but it was really worth it as I got to bring home the famous Welsh Love Spoon, and the obligatory tees, keychains and other knick knacks.
There's plenty of restaurants around here as well, including halal ones and I had some pretty good Thai noodles here, while listening to some Malaysian kids from Taman Tun telling their Mat Salleh friends how Malaysian public transportation sucked. Seriously, I'm not making this up.
Then, it was a walk back to the train station for the journey home. Overall, a good day trip with plenty to write home about. But oh yeah, one very weird thing was; because of the Cardiff's football team's Malaysian connection, it's a pretty common thing to see people walking around wearing jerseys with the name "Malaysia" printed on their chests. For sure it made me feel damn proud :)