Friday, April 8, 2011

Part the XXVI: Where Nick goes to Caerdydd, Cymru.

"Ding dong ding: Your attention please, I am sorry to announce that the 11:40 train to Cardiff Central is cancelled..."
Well, thats problematic but at least the recording is polite...
"...due to a fatality via train strike".
Alright, thats not good.  Seriously, I know that this a serious matter in all, but how do you get killed on the British Rail System near Bath.  The rails are nowhere near street level.  There are no grade crossings near roads for 30 miles until you get out into really rural areas.  They say this is one of the first fatalities in this area for years.  I end up talking to the station master who gets me passage on a train to Bristol Temple Meads.  From there I am to connect 10 minutes to Bristol Parkway.  There I can catch the train to Cardiff.

I arrive in Wales a little after 3.  Much later than I would have like but so it goes.  I know that I won't be able to see much so I move fast in order to see as much as possible.
Everything is written in Welsh first, then English.  Even the train announcements occur in Welsh first.  1 in 5 people use Welsh as their first language and classes are often not taught in English until middle school.

Old Cardiff Central Station

Millennium Stadium: The home of Welsh National Rugby.  It will also be home to the 2012 Olympic Football Tournament. 

Cardiff Castle

Detail of its Clock Tower

The Keep at Cardiff Castle.  The castle itself is over 2000 years old and dates back to the Romans, then the Saxons, and then the Medieval Period.

These fellows saw me taking photos of Pub Signs and wanted a photo of themselves.  They were actually quite nice and I ended up having a drink with them before dinner.

Brains Beer.  Weird name, great taste.  The local in Cardiff, the brewery is just down the road and it is delivered fresh everyday.  

I am sad I wasn't able to see more but the accident today put a damper on my original schedule.  If I get a chance, I will try to make a return to Wales.  Cardiff is an amazing city that has gone from a market town in the 1300s to an industrial dynamo 600 years later.  By 2000, it was a cosmopolitan European Capital.  It is amazing what a millenia can do.

Tomorrow: My Rail Tour of the UK comes to a close 15 minutes down the line in Bristol to see the famous Suspension Bridge, S.S. Great Britain, and the Bristol Rovers fight against Exeter City in an attempt to stave of relegation in League 1.

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