Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Trip to Cardiff (11 & 12 January)

I felt more organised for this trip for some reason and had all the clothes ironed and packed by the afternoon before. We drove to Machynlleth and paid to park at the storage centre. The journey was good with no sign of all the snow that had been threatened. We didn't have long to wait in Shrewsbury for our connection, but did just have time to buy a sandwich from the cafe on the platform. I'm still not entirely pleased that Starbucks have taken over from the Pumpkin cafe because they seem to focus on toasties and things that need heating. This is fine if you have plenty of time to wait for your train, but not so good if you want to grab something and go. So basically with regard to sandwiches, it was BLT or nothing, but at least we had something for lunch.

On arriving in Cardiff, the hotel was only a short walk from the station, so we were soon checked in and eager to explore. The hotel is almost opposite Cardiff Castle and the start of the Taff Trail, so we decided to walk along the river. It was a lovely bright afternoon, though very cold. Having investigated the route that G would take to his meeting the following day, we returned via a slightly different route through Bute Park.

Our first thought was to get the train to the Cardiff Bay Area where there are lots of places to eat. Unfortunately, when we reached Queen Street station, the next two trains to the Bay were cancelled. We therefore gave up the idea, concerned that even if we waited for nearly an hour for a possible next train, we might get there but have problems getting back. (Note to self: Before next visit, investigate bus routes.) So instead we just found an Italian restaurant in the St David's shopping centre.

Day 1: Shopping & Museum

I planned to do a bit of shopping while we were in Cardiff. The main thing I needed was a new pair of hiking boots. My old heavy duty pair had become non-waterproof, which is a serious drawback here in Wales. The soles of the lighter pair had become seriously worn and didn't provide enough cushioning for my feet. The walking shoes I bought are a fairly decent replacement for the light weight boots, but they are not boots and not up to serious walking on rough ground, hence the need for a new pair.

I had Googled outdoor shops and, as it turned out, there was one less than 5 minutes walk from the hotel. I wondered whether to do the rest of my shopping first, but then thought I may as well see if they had anything suitable before venturing further. There were lots of boots on sale and, after browsing the display for a couple of minutes, I was drawn to a traditional leather pair which seemed more suited to the shape of my feet than the other models. They were my size and, somewhat to my astonishment, they fitted and felt comfortable. So I bought them! I had fully expected to spend hours trailing around in a fruitless search, but I gleefully carried my prize back to the hotel before setting out again.

Having used up all my shopping luck by finding the boots, the search for a new pair of shoes for spring proved hopeless, so after eating a bacon roll in Starbucks and exploring the shops and arcades (so many wonderful old arcades!) and buying a couple of small cheap notebooks, I made my way to the musuem which is also an art gallery.

I had jokingly said to G that I would try following the instructions in the Welsh Linguaphone course (now 40 years old) which includes a lesson on visiting the Cardiff art gallery in which you ask the way to picture of The Blue Lady and are given directions. You are told to, "Go up the stairs, turn to the right and then the Blue Lady is straight on."

Did it work? Well, it sort of worked. You actually go up the stairs, turn right, carry straight on through a couple of long galleries, turn left and the wander through another room or two and there she is. It's possible that she has been moved since the course was made, but it's just as likely that that was a simplified version. Anyway, it did work and here she is...

Ladi Las (Blue Lady)

Y Ladi Las / The Blue Lady

The proper title of this picture is "La Parisienne" and it's by Renoir. However, the popular name is Y Ladi Las (The Blue Lady) and it's easy to see why!

After wandering round an art gallery, I needed a cup of tea and a little something to keep up my strength so I had a pastry and cuppa in museum cafe.

Cup of tea and a pastry

After the art gallery, I completely failed to find Welsh centre or Waterstones and as the weather was wet and cold, I headed back to the hotel where I had a text chat with our daughter to arrange meeting tomorrow. G returned from his meeting around 4.30 pm and we went out and ate dinner in same restaurant in the St David's centre.

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