Thursday, September 05, 2013

Cardiff Castle & Bay - Stunning Scenery and Seaside in Wales

Cardiff is a gorgeous historic city with a charming castle, beautiful gardens and a majestic view of the ocean. Ocean! I love the relaxing, so cool, breezy and so picturesque. Dima joined Janice and I for our daytrip, and all three of us girls had blast!

Cardiff Castle was absolutely stunning - and so different to Edinburgh Castle, which I visited in July. While there was less "castle", than Edinburgh and less military information with fewer prisons, there were beautiful gardens and halls and halls of history of its times from the Vikings to the Second World War (at which time it was used as a war bunker for the royal families). It took us three hours to roam the castle, read, and learn about its history. The free audio guide handset was fascinating - and I wish I'd taken notes to tell you more about Welsh history (I will for the rest of my trip, I promise!).  We met a couple of Welsh guys on the train back to Oxford, though, and they filled us in on a few fun facts, though I should have whipped out my notepad at that point, too.

  • The original Welsh flag was a black background with a gold cross
  • The Welsh celebrate St. David's day, not St. Patrick's. To be honest, I forget the story he told us....he seemed to know so much about the country's history and kept talking for over half an hour!
  • Gallic (a Scottish language) and Gaelic (an Irish language) came from Welsh  (not sure how true that is...)
  • Famous Welsh people include: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Christian Bale, Richard Burton and Roald Dahl!
  • He also told me how to pronounce Lllewelyn (a Welsh name I saw on tv credits somewhere) and I tried a few times, but I really can't get it. Maybe next time I see Nia (since she's from Wales), I'll ask her!
Check out the slideshow below for photographs of both inside and outside the castle - I took this opportunity to whip out my zoom lens, portrait lens and what is left of the knowledge I gained a few years ago when I took those photography courses with Pam and Sean in Edmonton. I have decided though, that once I find a job, I will definitely be buying a landscape lens and some more photography lessons. I miss it!

If you're going to notice two highlights - check out 1) historical, engraved stone graffiti and 2) the old library book on Statistical Methods - thank goodness for SPSS!

Cardiff Bay

Salt: The Essential Ingredient - quite fitting for a seaside restaurant! This is where we ate a late lunch after walking around the castle and the bay.  I think - *gasp* - this may actually NOT be a chain! It seems that nearly every restaurant and pub I eat at in the UK, no matter how quaint, is really owned by a large, corporate giant of pubs. The food at Salt was delicious - I had the vegetarian risotto and rocket - and we couldn't have asked for a better view on their terrace. I would definitely recommend coming here. We were lucky enough to see the sunshine and have time for a mini photo shoot!  

Dima and Sapna

Janice & Dima

Seaside Fun
The only dog Dima will ever hug ;P

Union - in the Future!
This may be the last time I see Dima before graduation in November, since she's headed back home to Lebanon a day after I return from my trip with Janice...and what a beautiful way to spend a last day! Cardiff, I must say is an excellent, worthwhile day trip from Oxford - under two hours on the train - and voila! Gorgeous seaside. I love the UK!

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