Monday 12 November 2012

Reading Week in the UK - Part 1 - Cardiff

Finally back from my 'whirlwind' UK trip last week! It was definitely a lot of fun and I can now officially say I've been to every UK country.

I have learned that 4 cities in 9 days is a bit much, however, since we were rather travelled out by the time we got to Glasgow and probably didn't end up enjoying it as much as we should have.

Looking back, I wish we'd gone to Edinburgh or Newcastle instead of Glasgow (though I did like it!) and spent less time in London and more time in York, but it was fun overall.

Our first stop was Cardiff!

Cardiff Castle - Cardiff, Wales, UK
The entrance to Cardiff Castle.

As you may or may not know, I was somewhat recently introduced to Dr. Who, and also the most recent BBC version of the Sherlock Holmes universe and have become quite a big fan of both.

Coincidentally*... they are both shot in Wales and Cardiff in particular, so it was pretty much a no brainer for our first stop.

Dr. Who Experience, Cardiff Bay - Cardiff, Wales, UK
A somewhat unconventional parking space.
The Dr. Who Experience recently opened in Cardiff Bay as well, so that was our first touristy thing. The experience portion was fun and rather cute (it's a bit geared towards children) and the exhibit was lovely for me since they had all the outfits for a large portion of the main characters and villains over the years, so I made sure to get photos of almost all the outfits.

I feel like there may have been something in the middle of the room that I forgot to photograph... but I just can't quite remember....

I picked up a few souvenirs for a friend of mine who is an even bigger fan than me - I'm hoping she likes them, even though she has to wait a few months to get them! - and tried to find a little Dalek for Tobi, but didn't have much luck, so I just picked up a little sonic screwdriver for me and a t-shirt for my boyfriend.

Maybe I'll be able to find one once I get back to Canada.

Cardiff Castle - Cardiff, Wales, UK
Then after that, we were off to Cardiff Castle, where we spent an hour or two lost in the walls and the keep (right) and then wandered in to the main 'house' to check out the fancily decorated rooms.

Most were done in a 'traditional' English-y style, but there was one room (creatively named the 'Arab Room') done in an incredibly detailed gold-leafed mosaic and a stunning library unfortunately filled with tomes of city council minutes and copies of Dickens novels. :/


The Old Library at Trinity is similarly designed (if a tad more impressive), though I don't think they would appreciate us sitting in there for long periods of time ruining it all for the tourists, but if I ever find one that is both similarly decorated and well stocked you may not hear from me for a while.

Maybe I should just buy a house and decorate the basement or something. That might be easier.

'Arab Room', Cardiff Castle - Cardiff, Wales, UK
Gilding. Gilding everywhere!

I probably could have spent at least an hour staring at all the little details in that room, but there was about 2 square feet for you to stand in smushed at the corner of the room....

My camera was basically on the floor for me to get this shot. -_____-

As we were leaving, I noticed that there were actually stuffed parrots placed along a mantlepiece all around the room.

Definitely wishing I'd asked someone what that was all about.

I brought Tobi and Jonas along on the trip, but only ended up taking one photo of either of them...

Jonas - Bisou Ai Bonbon; Tobi - Unoa Lusis hybrid; Cardiff Castle Tower - Cardiff, Wales, UK

Overall, I really loved Cardiff. I think 2 days was enough for the city centre, but I wouldn't mind going back and visiting Caerphilly Castle as well.

Maybe when the 12th Doctor appears and they add him (her? :O ) to the exhibit! :P

*It's probably not coincidental, they're both written/directed/produced by the same people.

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