Day 1 - Sat 27 Jan 07
I haven't been feeling that great for the last couple of days, and I did think twice about going on this little trip, but "get busy living, or get busy dying" so I decided to head off. The 07:45 was on time, and I took a taxi over to Paddington and arrived in plenty of time to get the 09:45 to Cardiff Central. I found my reserved seat with no problems, I got an aisle seat with an empty window seat next to me. It appears that at the weekend you can upgrade to first class for £10 - if that's on offer on the way back I may well take them up on that.
Well, this train isn't exactly a shinkansen, there is engineering work, so we've had to do a little detour around it. Trouble is that we seem to be only able to travel at 10mph. At least the train manager is keeping us informed of each new delay.
Got into Cardiff at just gone 12:30 and found my hotel with ease, it's just around the corner from the station. However the room isn't ready yet, so I'm going to head off to see the castle instead. It's just how I remember it from my last visit, but this time I pay my money and go inside. It's an interesting place and it was "done over" in the late 1800's by a bloke called William Burgess for the Marquess of Bute (the richest man in the world at that time).
The rooms are very ornate, some in the Arts and Crafts style, some in the Arabic style very reminiscent of the Alhambra in Spain. And the biggest surprise? a beautiful little enclosed garden at the top of the building. Another highlight was the children's room with hand painted tiles with characters from children's books. Oh and the mirrored ceiling in the Marquess' bed room (complete with a single bed). After the tour I had a look around the grounds, and then back to the hotel to check in.
This time I managed to check in, and even got to the room before a member of staff comes up and tells me that the room isn't ready. I head back down stairs and they give me a different room, a double, but I think the original room had a better view. Oh well. I have a bath, and then head out again just as the sun is setting.
Walked down from the city to Cardiff Bay, saw the Millennium Centre and very impressive it is too. Got some good photos. The it was back to the Hotel - the last bit of excitement was the fire alarm going off! The hotel is good, and the room is cool, but the internal noise is the worst I've ever heard - the room seems to be above a toilet, so you can hear doors and hand dryers going. Not Great.