Wales: It is like England, but oh so different. The signs are in English and Welsh, and the people have a different sort of style and swagger than any Brit or Londoner. I have a lot of time for Cardiff. Here is why.
Cardiff Central Station is an easy train ride from London. Check out the National Railway Map for other ways to get to Cardiff. From this station you can easily grab a bus that will take you to any number of hostels or B&B's. Cardiff is an easy city to navigate.
With the whole world collectively accepting English as the language to speak, different cultures are losing their identity. Wales stands out because even though they primarily speak English, they still have Welsh as well as English on all the signs. What a language Welsh is. To still keep this part of their identity shows a pride which some places of the world never had, or used to have but have since lost over the years.
At Victoria Park, located in Cardiff, you can find literally dozens of dog walkers throughout the day. Not sure if it is because Cardiff is an exceptionally dog friendly city, or if this is the only dog parks for miles, but if you are traveling and miss home, sometimes a nice dog can cheer you up and this might be the place to go and hijack a Welsh dog's affection.
The fog on this day was particularly mood setting.
The city of Cardiff seems to center around the world renowned Cardiff Castle.
Nearby in the Castle District you find pedestrian walking streets lined with shopping arcades, alleys and Pubs.
Support Live music and the arts. I gave this fellow £1. I still don't know what song he was playing, but I would like to think it's a Journey cover. Oh no, Welsh Busker, I won't stop Believin'.
Spoiler alert, Cardiff also has a Winter Wonderland. It includes Ice skating, a Ferris wheel, and the Helter Skelter as a few of the attractions. This festival is only a short walk from the castle district and runs from mid November until the first week in January. With all this Christmas, you will need a good drink.
What do Soulja Boy, Justin Bieber, Boys 2 Men and Maria Carey have in common? They are all on the background music at The Old Library. This place wasn't special in its food or drink selection, rather the mix of music was kind of like the worlds crappiest iPod on shuffle. Made for an interesting selection of sounds to get stuck in your head for the next day.
Washing down all that ale with some more ale does the trick, and the Fat Cat Cafe, on Greyfriars Road can do just the trick. This is Brains Black, a delicious product from Wales' biggest brewer. Delicious as it was, the show must move on. After a few more pints of course.
A great place for live music is the Live Lounge. They play a lot of alternative from the 90's which is perfect if you're a child from that period, as I am. The Live Lounge has a bar up and downstairs, and they stay open until 4am. Such a relief as many places close before midnight. With drinking being one of the biggest pastimes in the country, how can so many places close up shop so early?
Hello Mother. It's 3am. Do you know where your child is?
It's because of this drinking culture that people do get a bit rowdy. People like this guy, who we found puking out of the police car at about 3am outside the Live Lounge. Very classy. He followed that up with some mumbled threats my way and how I better not take any more photos of him, and then some more garbled throaty noises as the police drove off with him in the back seat. I am sure he'd have given me the finger if his hands weren't cuffed behind his back. Too bad, douchebag.
Anyway, back to the story... at the end of the bar close, all of the drunks stumble over to what is known as "Chip Alley". Cardiff's answer to the demand for drunken greasy food at 3am. Because that is a really good idea. Find Kebabs, Doners, Pizza and burgers all right here at Chip Alley. Sadly a lot of it ends up on the ground, probably for the best. You could still eat it and not notice the difference.
And so end the night out in Cardiff. Great drinking experiences. Lots to do and see. And great people.
If you are going to be in London and have an extra weekend, please do your self a favor and take the train to Cardiff.
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