Wale hello there! Dw i heb dy weld ti ers talwn! (Long time no see!) I went to Wales this weekend, in case you hadn’t read the title of this post or just thought that the introduction of this post was the product of me banging my head against the keyboard of my laptop. Nope. That is actually what written Welsh looks like. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it.
We had a laid back Thursday night and woke up at the crack of depression and immorality (5:15) on Friday morning to meet up in the lobby of Herringham Hall at 6. The ten of us all walked towards Baker Street to catch a bus to Victoria station. Since it’s London, it was raining, and since I’m not a functional human being at that horrific hour, I forgot my umbrella – as did most of us. We were off to a terrific start. We got to Victoria station where I purchased a latte and a muffin to keep from passing out. Then the bus driver wouldn’t let us bring our coffees on the bus, and there was no “rubbish bin” in sight. The bus driver looked at me and Tiffany like we had just grown a few extra heads when we asked where a trash can was located. Rubbish bin, it is. Turns out, there was a trash bag on the bus but we had to dump the contents of our coffees out on the pavement outside the station. A cop looked at us and rolled his eyes. Tiffany and I could not get on that bus fast enough. We’re so good at traveling.
Luckily, the bus was empty enough where we could each have a window seat. The ride was about three and a half hours, and I slept for most of it with my headphones in my ears. We were dropped off at what basically looked like a park bench under a shelter, but we were surrounded by beautiful government buildings. Once we figured out how to get to the Cardiff city center, it wasn’t hard to find our hostel. The lobby/sitting area had a bar in back and it was beautiful. It was tastefully decorated and looked like it had been decked out in home decor from Anthropologie. Check in wouldn’t start for a couple hours, so they told us they’d keep an eye on our locked suitcases for us while we explored the city and killed time.
We were pretty starving, so we wandered around and discovered a restaurant/coffee shop called Torre. We all got different breakfast food. I got two eggs sunny side up with a spinach ricotta roll, roasted peppers, and micro greens. It was so incredibly perfect with a flat white. I felt like a new person, as did everyone else when we finished our food. We went across the street to Cardiff castle, which we could look at from a distance for free, but it would cost each of us £9.50 or $15.60 to tour it. We weren’t really into the sticker price, so we opted to look from afar and explore the gift shop. We went through the Cardiff museum too – which was free! The exhibits were really cool, too. I liked the giant whale hanging from the ceiling. Because when in Wales …Whales. We also popped into the Cardiff Market which is really cool with all different stalls where you can buy meat, fish, produce, baked goods, candy – everything. Jess and I got a huge box of delicious strawberries for £1! We ate them all the way back to the hostel – without washing them. Sorry, Mommy.
We got back to the hostel and checked ourselves in. Our room had 18 beds total, so 9 bunk beds. The bathroom had two showers and two toilet stalls. It was all very clean and we were pretty impressed. We learned quickly that there was a button on the showers that you had to press every five to seven seconds just to keep the water going. That was a pain, but at least they were hot. We also had to pay a pound to get a towel. They sure don’t make it easy to stay clean in Wales. The first night, our room had fifteen people, but it filled up to eighteen the second night. Everyone we stayed with seemed nice. Some didn’t really speak English. I think they were Portugese. They found my towel turban to be hilarious.
That night we got food at The Prince of Wales pub. Generally in the UK, you order your food at the bar, if the restaurant has a bar. The waiters and waitresses only bring the food to you, but they don’t actually take your order. I think they get paid better than server’s wage because they don’t rely on tips. Way to go, Britain. We didn’t really go out and get drinks after because we were all pretty exhausted. I went back early, showered, and went to sleep. Breakfast would end at 9 the next day, so sleeping in was not going to happen.
I slept like an angel, despite the noise coming from the nightclub next door and the pub across the street. The next day, on the recommendation of one of the girls who worked at our hostel, we ventured over to St. Fagan’s Open Air Museum after a light breakfast of off-brand rice krispies and delicious tea. It was a short, fifteen minute bus ride away. The bus driver had on an awesome radio station, and when “What is Love” by Haddaway came on, we all started singing it. He cranked the volume and danced in his seat. Welsh people are fantastic.
Saint Fagan’s was in one word, gorgeous. We walked through different foot paths that took us into castles, fishing houses, weaving houses, over bridges, through gardens, and into a little town center where I had a scone hot out of a wood burning oven that changed my world for the better. We walked through a little general store where Jess bought a cute dish cloth and Michaela bought some Welsh beer. The pictures don’t really do the place justice, but they’re above. After Saint Fagans, we headed back to the city center and took a nap in the Hostel. We struggled to find a place for dinner that would accommodate the ten of us, but we found a tavern and make the hike through the Cardiff University campus to get there. I had passionfruit cider. It was the girliest drink I’ve ever had, and that includes a cosmo with an orange twist.
The next day, we went to the Pettigrew Tea Rooms and had a tea party. It was amazing. There really aren’t words. Unfortunately, on the walk there, we experienced a downpour with hurricane-style winds. A car flew by us on the sidewalk. The timing was perfect. The tire went through a lake puddle and SOAKED Kelsey, Jess, and I from our jackets to our toes. Do you know what’s worse than wet jeans? Besides, like, terminal illnesses, poverty, and terrorism? Pretty much nothing. Walking the rest of the way towards the tea room, I felt pins and needles all over my legs and my feet squished water in my sneakers and socks. Luckily, we were headed for HOT TEA, which was going to be perfect given the circumstances.
First, we all got our own tea pots filled with hot, hot water and tea leaves of our choosing. I chose “Angel Peach” which was described as, “A delicate blend of Sencha green tea & sunflower blossoms with a deliciously fragrant peach taste.” With one lump of brown sugar, it is the stuff dreams are made of. Then came the itty bitty finger sandwiches and scones with jam that came on a three tiered plate rack. There were cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and cheese with mustard, roast beef, brie and chutney, hard boiled egg, and tomato with cheddar. All of the above were fantastic. Last course was a slice of cake for each of us. Me and Tiffany split a coffee pecan cake and Welsh cakes. That place was a dream.
We putzed around shops for the remainder of the day. Checkout was at 10:00, so we left our locked suitcases at the hostel and looked at all the stores with stuff we couldn’t afford. My pants and coat were pretty much dry at that point, which made me incredibly happy. We hopped on the bus at 6:20 and headed home. An awesome weekend, indeed.