Saturday, 29 September 2018

Bath, England (30 Cheltenham Street) 

After a quick breakfast we packed our suitcases and got ready for our trip to Cardiff, Wales. We were able to quickly secure a taxi for a ride to the train station and we were on our way soon after arriving at the station, though we try to leave time for one or both of us to order a cup of coffee for the journey.

We hadn’t originally planned to stay overnight in Cardiff. Somehow we had forgotten to book a stay for this night, but it actually worked out okay. To include a visit to Cardiff Castle, it would have made for a very long day for us if we were to stop off at Cardiff and then proceed to northern Wales. Now, we could stay in Cardiff and enjoy a longer stay. I made reservations at the local Hilton in Cardiff and used accumulated points to cover the cost of two rooms.

Because we arrived early, we learned both rooms were not available so I put my suitcase in Corrine’s room (which was ready) and we waited in the executive lounge to have a quick snack in hopes that my room would be ready as well. We decided to go ahead and leave rather than spend any more time in the hotel.

Our first stop was to find a replacement USB cord for Corrine’s phone. We found the cord and then walked over to nearby Cardiff Castle (a late 11th century Norman castle built on an earlier 3rd Century Roman fort) for an afternoon visit. The Castle was across the street from our hotel so it was an easy walk. We purchased our tickets and picked up audio guides for each of us. This location has a lot of history associated with in and we tried to piece together all of the changes to the castle over the years.

From Wikipedia:

The castle, or what remains, are comprised mainly of the earthen walls, the “keep”, the “black tower” where prisoners where held, and the mansion. Some of the Roman walls still remained and were incorporated into the present day walls that surround the castle.

After listening to a few recordings from the audio guides we walked over to the restored north gate then to the “keep” remains. Corrie climbed up the keep tower and I took a picture of her from the ground floor of the keep. We tried to imagine what it was like when the keep still retained the wooden structure within the keep. Now, only the walls remain. Still, even in its present state, the keep is still impressive and seemingly impenetrable with its thick walls.

On the way over to the mansion, as I was taking a picture of the clock tower, I dropped my phone on the paved sidewalk. It still worked but the screen had some cracks in it. Regardless, we toured the mansion. Along the way we learned the mansion has changed over the years as successive owners added to the original medieval building. It is now an impressive Gothic revival mansion that the last owners remodeled into what we see today. In 1947 they donated the mansion to the City of Cardiff. Surprisingly, after the last remodel in the early 20th century, the owners only stayed there a few weeks out of each year.

Each of the primary rooms of the castle were remodeled into a specific theme. In the Victorian style, the themes were exaggerated and the results were a little over the top by our standards. I guess if you have the money to invest, why not? Some of the rooms were furnished, but when the castle was in use by the last owners, I’m sure these rooms were filled with period furniture.

After we took a few more pictures and returned the audio guides we walked back to the hotel. Rather than rest before dinner I decided to look for a replacement phone. Both of us were hungry and the lounge had a few more items by this time for guest to enjoy. After taking my suitcase to my room I decided to walk over to a Samsung store to see if I could find a replacement for my phone. I guess I could have had the phone’s screen repaired, but first wanted to see what was available as a replacement.

The Samsung store was a 10 minute walk away. I immediately found a new version of my phone for a reasonable cost. The sales associate was able to transfer my data to the new phone and I was on my way back to the hotel in less than 20 minutes.

I had planned to meet up with Corrine for dinner after a short nap, but I slept through my alarm. Corrine patiently waited for me in the lobby while I pulled myself together.

Corrine suggested a nearby Italian restaurant and I was immediately on board with her suggestion. Who could say no to Italian food?

The restaurant turned out to be perfect. And not just because we were hungry. The food was delicious and the staff was very friendly and helpful. Corrine selected a carbonara as a main course and I ordered ravioli. We left enough room to share a tartufo. After dinner we walked around the neighborhood before returning to the hotel. Many people were also enjoying the evening and were out on the streets or in nearby restaurants and bars.

I returned to my room to continue setting up my new phone and to write my daily travel blog. While I enjoy having new “toys” to set up, I would have liked to have more free time to do it right. But, I’ll make do with the time available and will finish up any lagging details for later.

Tomorrow we leave for Conwy (there is no “a” in the name) and we expect this to take most of the day. There isn’t a direct route by train to Conway so we are planning to switch trains twice on this journey. We will definitely see a lot of Wales’ countryside along the way.

To see pictures: 

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