Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend in Cardiff, Wales

I went to class in the morning and then packed for the trip. I only took a backpack and a purse so I had to pack light! Jena, my traveling buddy for the weekend, and I met up with some other people heading into London for the train ride. We had a little trouble getting train tickets and probably paid too much, but we really didn’t have a choice since we needed to get to London on time to catch the MegaBus to Cardiff. It was close, but we made it on the trains and then on the bus and we were off the Wales! We made it to Cardiff without a problem but we got dropped off in the middle of the city and had to figure out how to get to our hostel. We ended up taking a cab, checked into the hostel and stayed in for the night. The hostel was nice and they provided sheets and I rented a towel for 50p. We stayed in a room with three girls from Germany who were nice but were not very considerate. They definitely had the rule of the room and we tried to stay out of the way.
We got up Friday morning and had the delicious free breakfast provided by the hostel with bacon, eggs, hash browns, croissants, etc. We decided not to spend money on taking a bus so we walked about thirty minutes to the city centre. We visited Cardiff Castle first and spend the morning exploring and taking pictures. We went to Subway for lunch to save money but took it across the street to a really pretty garden and had a picnic in the flowers. We explored another garden after lunch and then went to the National Museum. After the museum we explored some of the little shops in Cardiff, and then came the long hike back to the hostel. We stopped at a grocery store on the way and got this great meal deal for 5 pounds which we cooked up in the hostel kitchen. After dinner we ran into some other girls from Sussex who were staying at the same hostel and went out to dinner with them (minus the food of course since our meal was so cheap and delicious already). We took the notoriously late buses to the City Centre this time though so we wouldn’t be walking in the dark. Then we went to an Irish pub and an 80s dance club before heading back to the hostel for the night.
We decided to spend the day with the other group of seven girls, so after another nice breakfast, we walked across the street from the hostel to Roath Park which had gorgeous gardens, a playground and a lake! We spent the rest of the morning there, taking pictures of the flowers and playing on the playground. We then took a bus to the City Centre where we caught a bus to St. Fagan’s, a historical village a little bit like Williamsburg. We ate Nutella sandwiches made at breakfast for lunch and explored the village. We also found another castle on the grounds which had more gorgeous gardens. We were all pretty tired by this time so we headed back into town and Jena and I separated from the bigger group to get the same meal deal at the grocery, cooked it up, and then went to bed early. Saturday was the only day we didn’t carry all of our stuff around with us because we locked it up with the other girls’ stuff. The other days we had to tote around all that we brought!
We had the free breakfast for the last time and walked into the City Centre. The other group of Sussex girls had left the night before so Jena and I were on our own again. We found that it’s a lot easier to travel with fewer people though, so it was nice that it was just the two of us. Our German roommates had given us some sightseeing bus passes the evening before. They were good for 24 hours so we were able to use them that morning to get from the City Centre to Cardiff Bay. We walked around the bay and got some lunch at a different grocery store. Then we sat on the wharf for a while before deciding to splurge and take a four pound boat trip around the bay. It was really nice and then we got ice cream as a treat for eating so cheaply all weekend. Our bus tickets had expired by this point so we walked from the Bay into the City Centre where we were able to catch the MegaBus into London and then a train and a bus back to campus. There was plenty of walking all weekend, and we traveled pretty cheaply- I think I spend less than 150 pounds for the entire trip. It was also a good practice trip for future trips!

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