Then we took a cab to Paddington and got some passport pictures from a booth at the station, since we’d finally got a confirmed appointment at the Consulate to deal with our little passport problem. Then we got on the train to Cardiff.
On the train, I dozed off a bit, to the mellifluous sounds of a Welsh woman who talked nonstop for what felt like the entire 2 hour and 45 minute trip. Upon arrival, I had my first OMG DOCTOR WHO/TORCHWOOD SQUEEEE moment as we got off a the same station that Mickey did in Boom Town.
At first we couldn’t even find our way out of the station and on to the main drag, but once we did…we were SO HAPPY! The street leading up to the Castle was a big, wide street with hardly anyone on it compared to London. No crowds. The cars and busses were not trying to kill us. It was the first time I’d felt completely relaxed since the massage.
Sunshine. Blue sky. It was such a joy just to walk about the open space. We also instantly fell in love with the arcades full of shopping and restaurants topped by beautiful skylights. At least it was beautiful the day we were there. I still can’t believe I lucked out with gorgeous weather in Cardiff, given the number of fan I know, who’ve made the pilgrimage and ended up cold, soaked or both.
After a bit of wandering, which include hubby getting in some mandolin time at a music store, we met filthgoblin near the Castle. After all the screw-ups and misconnects and near-misses, this time our rendezvous went off without a hitch. filthgoblin was exactly where I expected her to be at the exact time I thought she would be there and I recognized her immediately. Such a relief.
We said hello and went to a vegan café called Crumbs for lunch in one of the Arcades. It was different, but good. Hubby had a vegan chili that he really liked. I can’t remember what I ate at this point, but my notes indicate it was very highly seasoned. As I’m writing this I’m vaguely remembering some kind of mixed veggies and rice. There was tea of course. YAY TEA.
We did some walking around and then hopped on the tour bus to get off our feet and to get the lay of the land, and also to get down to the Bay for the major bits of Fannish Squeeee!. Our guide was very droll and world-weary. He didn’t mention anything about Doctor Who or Torchwood, even when we were right in front of the Millennium Centre.
He talked a lot about the Marquess of Bute, the statues of animals escaping from a non-existent zoo and the ever popular Brains Beer.
We got off at the Bay, so I have some major Fannish Geek Out Moments at the water tower and the Millenium Centre. We also check out the “shrine,” which is looking quite a bit tatty, I don’t mind telling you.
It was still vividly sunny, but also very windy, especially by the Bay. We declined an offer of a Bay cruise that was yelled out to us as we were walking along the Bay (where Tosh and Owen were in the rain after To The Last Man) and instead ducked into the Assembly building, where we got to hear various members welcoming (I think) the new minority leader, including one speaking in Welsh with instant translation.
We waited awhile for the tour bus and then got the idea of most of the rest of Cardiff, before getting off back downtown for an absolutely lovely tea and sweets at John Lewis. OMG-so good. I had a piece of carrot cake and it was absolutely amazing, and topped off one of my favorite days of the whole trip. Thank you so much filthgoblin!
If I ever get back to the UK, in other words if we ever pay off the bills from this trip, I want more time in Cardiff. My Caerdydd sweatshirt is now one of my proudest possessions.
We got back to Paddington an took another set of passport pictures, since our early morning faces were less than gorgeous, then left the station to look for dinner. (Not that I was exactly hungry at this point. Did I mention the carrot cake?)
Hubby was starting to get really pissy about the number of fast food chains lining the streets of London, but we did find a Korean/Chinese place. I had soup and some appetizers, Hubby managed a full-blown entrée.
Cab back to the hotel. TV. Probably some more Frost and a Buzzcocks, which I was happy to see. I was trying to get Hubby in Never Mind the Buzzcocks since we’d gone through all of QI (to date) umpteen times. He wasn’t all that enthused. Too much piss-taking of current British pop stars that we’d just never heard of.
Coming soon: OUR LAST DAY IN LONDON!