So finally we reached, we were in Cardiff! After being “lost” in London and finding Carlos by a coincidence while eating at Subway… we did it! Cardiff showed up to us why this city were PERFECT to our first trip together…
Cardiff was a “small” and nice city, the weather was good, the architecture interacted with the landscape in a sinuous dance of beauty and we were finally with our friend Carlos. We had everything to have a nice time together
#Day 1 – “I can’t ANY more”
After taking a bus we reached Carlos’ place. He was living in a nice building for students form the Cardiff University, there we could get in touch with more students and also some Brazilians. I never realized that Brazil had that much of people studying abroad! I mean, we see the numbers and statistics but in fact we never meet a lot of people…
In the first day we were so exausted from our flight + bus trip that we couldn’t do so much. We just spent our time going in the downtown to buy some Brit-beers (hell yeah!) and planning our travel in this amazing city.
New Travellers in Wales just need to know that, due to the
God’s Will Alcohol licensing laws of the United Kingdom, supermarkets (and also some clubs) just sell beers until 23:00 (11pm). This rule works in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may be different. So if you want to try some good Ales, is better not to be that late!
Some nice things to do in your first day are also to: change your money (if you didn’t followed our tips for travelling), and find a place to buy a map. Normally you can find the solution for both problems in airports of train stations, maps can be found in souvenir stores too.
How we deal with maps?
If you aren’t a analog person, you can simple use some apps instead of a big landmap. But remember of bringing a portable charger for you phone/tablet… If your batery goes out, you will pray for having a normal map.
#day 2 – reaching the walls
For the first time in my entire life I’ve saw a real castle. Ok, it wasn’t the biggest one or something like that but… Was a castle! They had walls, towers, a shinny green field and also an underground floor. – Thiago
Well, let’s speak a little bit about the Cardiff Castle:
The castle is a real medieval castle dated as being built at the 11th century! It was built on the top of a old Roman Fort (yes Cardiff was somehow part from the Roman Empire), and had some important noble owners during its history.
The motte and bailey castle survived several conflicts like, battles between the Anglo-Normans and the Welsh, the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr (do not ask us how to spell this), the War of the Roses (when it started to loses its millitary importance), the English Civil War and
of course the World War II.
During the Second World War Cardiff had the biggest seaport for coal in the World, that is why it was so heavily bombarded by the Axis. Historians estimates that more then 2.100 bombs fell in Cardiff ’till the last air raid in 1944. Due to the air raids the city suffered a mass civilian evacuation, those who couldn’t go away found their shelter in the “bunkers” constructed under the walls of Cardiff Castle.
At 2nd January 18:37, Cardiff had its worst night of bombards. Something around 100 german Bombers hit the city, killing more than 150 people and destroying 350 homes.
In those bunkers you can feel a bit how it was at that time. They provide a sound system with radio news from U.K. during World War II and also the sound from the air raids, giving you the whole environment for the experience of hidding while an air raid occurs.
The Bute’s Mansion
In the corner of the Castle’s yard you can find the Victorian Gothtic-revival Mansion built next to the Clock Tower. All the mansion is hugely decorated with murals, stained glass and marble (including the towers). Some rooms have also their own thema, as we can see in the Mediterranean gardens, Italian and Arabian rooms.
Military History – Fairs, Actors and a lot of gunpowder.
We had for sure a lot of luck in Cardiff, if you are like us you can find yourself in a Military Fair inside the Cardiff Castle. The castle already has a Trebouchet which was built for the movie Ironclad, but during those fairs you can go deep inside the battle camp.
Suddenly the Royalists form a straight shoot line, while the forces of the Parliament prepare their defenses. A voice spread the order of FIRE upon the calm yard, seconds later all that you can hear is the echo from the muskets. The smoke difficults the visibility and all what you can feel is just the gunpowder smell and a strange taste in your mouth.
But while the Royalists aim their muskets, all the kids ran to the front of the line. And when they fired, the kids jumped all over the yard acting like real war heroes, they diserved a Oscar! How sweet can be a war like that? 🙂
After this amazing day we just couldn’t imagine what was going to happen in the next morning.