It was a glorious day yesterday so I went to Cardiff. Perhaps you think that a visit to the Welsh capitol could have been deferred until it was raining, but I love Cardiff when it’s sunny, because there are so many places where you can soak up the sun and eat and drink (these seem to be my favourite occupations).
Cardiff has changed a lot since I was last there thirteen years ago. Saint Mary Street is now pedestrianized and every alternate shop seems to be a café or a bar. I chose one to sit in and asked for a black frappé which is an iced coffee, Greek-style (I am informed that the first frappe coffees were made in Thessaloniki). What I got after some deliberation amongst the staff was an Iced Americano – with milk! I was later told by my daughter that you can’t get black coffee very often unless it’s filter coffee because milk comes mixed in all coffee blends so as to give the coffee froth. Hmmm!
My next disappointment was that I was early and my favourite pub didn’t open until lunch time. Most pubs open for breakfast, but not this one. We could have gone to Cardiff Bay and eaten or drunk but chose to stay in the centre. We could see the Millennium Stadium hovering over the city like a flying saucer, and I recalled going to the old Arms Park to watch Wales play international rugby matches. The new stadium is much more impressive! I was once told by Brett Easton (a former Australian international rugby player) that the new Welsh stadium had the best atmosphere in the world as far as he was concerned.
We adjourned from the café and went to a pub, “The Corner House” which had been a gay pub last time I was there. We could sit outside on the pavement and have a glass of wine, but the problem with this and many other watering holes in that area is that the toilets are on the second or third floors. Luckily there are toilets on ground floor level for the disabled.
At lunchtime we went to the Old Brewery Yard area and there was a plethora of eateries to choose from. I chose the Spice Quarter where we had a duck dish with some of the best paratha have had outside the Indian sub-continent. There were a good many Italian places and a Greek taverna as well as the food chains such as Wagamama’s just outside that area.
Later we sat in the Old Brewery Yard and soaked up the sun again. The old tobacconist was close by and the moth-eaten bear from my childhood is still there! I was impressed. Once I accidentally bumped into the stuffed bear and said “Sorry!” to it, only to realize that it was a bear. It was good to know that some things remain the same. There was a DJ playing “sunny” music in the square for the punters, and people seemed to be generally chilling and enjoying the ambience. (The new Brains brewery is situated at the back of the Railway station which is only a stone’s throw away.)
There are many interesting places to visit in Cardiff, and you can always feed the ducks on the lake in Roath Park, or watch a cricket match in Sophia Gardens. The castle is at the top of Saint Mary’s Street and the National Museum is also close by. Naturally you can shop til you drop in Cardiff and there are the arcades to potter around near the Yard area. However, you can shop when the weather is cold or raining. Yesterday it was far too nice to shop.