Monday, April 11, 2011

Adventures In England--Day 22 & 23

Saturday, April 9, 2011
We had to catch a 9:25am train at Llandudno Junction to get us to Cardiff Central by the afternoon. Another 4 hour train ride to get us from the Northern most point in Wales (Conwy) to the Southern most point (Cardiff). The train ride was long and boring and when we were about 30 minutes away from Cardiff, I suggested that we get out our travel book so we can have a game plan when we get to the city. Well...we looked in both our backpacks and couldn't find our book. No book, no map, no game plan. I was writing things down the night before and I guess it fell between some blankets. We looked through the room but I guess we overlooked it. Forgetting everything back in Conwy was not how I wanted to spend my Saturday morning. Unfortunately, it set the mood for most of the morning in Cardiff. I hated that I forgot the book! Our first stop in Cardiff was Cardiff Bay. The weather was beautiful and we wanted to see the ocean while the weather was good. It didn't take too long for the sunshine to warm me up and get out of my bad mood and enjoy Cardiff. The Millenium Center is a building right before the marina that has shops, theatres and other forms of entertainment. The building was so big that it was hard to fit in a picture.
The Pierhead is also a very pretty, church-like building right on the ocean. Jason wanted to go see how the locks worked down at the end of the bay so we walked along a foot path out to the very end of the penninsula.**Notice our backpacks--we didn't go to the hotel before we started exploring Cardiff so we had to carry them. By the end of the day I was wondering why we packed so many things! We finally made it to the end and we were able to watch the locks. There were a few boats that were returning from the ocean so we got to watch the locks in action. It was very neat to watch--something we've only seen on the History Channel before.
Once the boats were in the lock and securely tied to the side, then the back door shut and water was released into the lock. The boats slowly raised and when the water level was even to the bay, the front doors opened and the boats could drive straight into the bay.
Once we finished exploring the Bay, we caught a bus and headed to our hotel, the Copthorne. The Copthorne is on the outskirts of Cardiff so we grabbed some dinner and headed to our hotel. Another great day in Wales....another day where we didn't have to fight sleep! All the exploring wore us out!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

We explored Cardiff Bay on Saturday but we still wanted to explore Cardiff a little more before we caught the train and headed back to Epsom. I'm not going to lie...I wanted to leave for Epsom as soon as we woke up. I had enough walking, enough picture taking, enough carrying a heavy backpack, just ENOUGH. I was tired and wanted to go home--quite a whine bag if you ask me! Jason assured me that I would be so disappointed once we got back home if we didn't explore when we had the chance, so I agreed to make the most out of the day. We both agreed to leave at a decent time so we could make sure that we got back to Epsom before it got too late. Our first stop was the Millenium Stadium where all the local futbol (soccer) games are played and I think that there might have been a World Cup that was played at the Stadium too.
Cardiff Castle was another spot that we stopped at along our walking tour through Cardiff. The Castle was right on the corner of Bute Park, which happened to be having a flower show. We didn't attend the flower show but I'm guessing that because of the turnout for the flower show, they wanted the park to look as pretty as possible. Maybe the parks are just always this pretty. Tulips and flowers were planted EVERYWHERE...so beautiful!!
I'm really glad that we explored a little more in Cardiff. We got to see some of Cardiff's history through the buildings and some of Cardiff's beauty through the parks. We headed back to Epsom around 12:30pm. Good thing we left early because there was some engineering work going on with the trains and it took us quite a bit longer to get home than we expected. We had to get off our train, load onto a bus, go about 5 miles down the road and passed the engineering work and then get back on a train again. Talk about a nightmare--especially when everyone is trying to get home from a busy weekend. Unfortunately, it took us 7 1/2 hours to get home instead of the normal 4 hours. We literally dropped our bags on the floor, ate dinner, showered and collapsed in bed. Our weekend in Wales was pretty amazing...we got to see so much of where our family came from!

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