Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Wale of a Tale

This past weekend consisted of a spontaneously-planned trip to Cardiff, Wales. Everything about this trip was slightly awkward, yet beautiful and still enjoyable... for some of us. Others didn't quite fancy the experience too much, but overall we made it through. We began our excursion with a bang, rushing to catch a
bus to the Victoria Coach Station after our 7 hour day of classes. Due to traffic and some other nonsensical reasons or bus decided to "change it's destination" on a whim. This meant we had to get off and travel by foot for approximately 2 miles, and when I say travel I mean sprint, to catch our bus to Cardiff, Wales. At this point we had about 40 minutes until our bus left. Of course we didn't pre-plan for this occurrence so none of us knew exactly how to get to the station without use of the buses or the tube, which was also backed up. Miraculously, two lovely English women sitting near us on the bus were heading in the same direction so they kindly ran with us until we were close to the station. Luckily, we got to the station just as the bus was boarding and made it just in time.

While on the bus, we continued to unintentionally act as awkward, confused Americans. An example of a series of events went as follows:
- Dana tried to use the bathroom on the bus before we left but got stuck on 
  the bus seat, nearly spilling the contents of her bag everywhere
- While in the bathroom, the bus, of course, starts moving
- I attempt to shut off the overhead light near my seat but accidentally hit the panic button
- Katie opened her pungent bag of Cheese and Onion chips (crisps), filling the already
  lacking air of the bus with quite an interesting odor

After 3 hours we finally got to Wales, where it was dark and rainy. We wandered to our hostel like a disheveled mob. (Fortunately, the hostel turned out to be very nice, other than the fact that it smelled like cats). That evening we ventured out to a pub where we interacted with an assortment of people. One was a Welsh woman who was extremely patriotic about her country and not too fond of England. We got some insight on a common Welsh opinion of the British from her. Next was a highly intoxicated gentleman who enjoyed "butt-bumping" every object/person he came in contact with. And last was the lovely sir who was dressed up in a costume of a popular female reproductive organ. (Which some of us actually believed was a piece of bacon at first).

On Saturday we went to Cardiff Castle which turned out to be well worth the £9.50 we spent to enter. We walked around, climbed the steepest steps I've ever encountered, and saw old housing areas. Here are some beautiful pictures:

Rainbow over the castle
Outside of the air-raid shelter
A mote!
Large understatement
Just hanging out  in some stocks
During our explorations we went through a small door to an area which turned out to be an air raid shelter. At the time, we weren't entirely sure if we were allowed to be back there so when a voice recording started talking to us we ran away out of fear. Here's a video of this enticing experience:

While walking around the castle we also met some lovely, handsome Australian boys who introduced themselves to us using a line from the TV show How I Met Your Mother. I enjoyed this so much that I, for some reason, later decided it would be fine to ask the boys if I could make a video of them. I didn't anticipate how awkward it would be for me to walk up to a group of 10 Australian soccer (football) players and ask if I could record them for my personal amusement. Either way, they did me the favor and I ran away after. (Actual video and example below).

After the Castle we walked through a few shopping centers, called Arcades. (Not to be confused with the gaming-center type of arcade... unfortunately). We ate some food and went out to a bar later that evening where there was an interesting mix of young boys and old men with a sprinkle of middle-aged women wearing revealing clothing. Very classy. We also found that the nightlife in Wales is rather unique in that groups of friends will dress up in costumes on any given night, just because they want to. Because of this we saw some gypsies, Hooters girls, 80's workout girls, golf boys and girls, and nerds. On Sunday morning we walked along the River Taff down to Cardiff Bay and ate at an American -style diner called Eddie's.

Cardiff Bay
Oh hey Swan
Eddie's American Diner
In my opinion, the trip was a success. We saw some really beautiful things and didn't do so bad for our first trip, even thought we only planned it a few days before.


P.S. - I recently booked my trips to Prague and Amsterdam... onward!

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