Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Wonder Of Wales.......

Since we were in between house sits and it was nearby we decided to head over the bridge into the country of Wales. Soon after crossing the bridge the first thing we noticed was that the road signs were in TWO languages.  Apparently the Welsh language has made a comeback and many of the locals speak both English and Welsh. As we continued our drive the landscape changed to green, fertile rolling hills dotted with sheep.

A Lunch Of Pork, Apple and Cider Pie With Mash and Green Beans

A Quaint Pub In Wales

We made our way to Cardiff, a lovely port city on the south coast of Wales that became its capital in 1955. Because we had just one night to spend there my darling hubby found us a quaint guest house close to the historic center of the city. After checking in we chatted a bit with the owner, a young lady from Sicily, Italy.  The restaurant also featured an Italian restaurant apparently because of the heritage of the owner. Like many cities parking is difficult so our intention was to tour the city by foot with our rental car tucked safe and sound in the hotel parking lot. The hotel owner mentioned the city center being just a TEN minute walk from the hotel and added it would be easier to take a taxi than drive. Did she think that we could NOT walk TEN minutes and needed a taxi? Despite what she thought we bundled up for the chilly weather and set out by foot to explore.

Our Hotel, "Elegano," With The Purple And Black Sign

Our first stop was the famous Cardiff Castle which turned out to be one of if not THE best castle we have seen in our travels. The price of admission included a guided tour which was to begin in about ten minutes.  We made our way to the starting point and queued up with the others.

The Grand House Of The Castle Grounds

The Keep Of The Castle Grounds

Clock Tower

Gargoyle Rain Spouts

These Animals Were Originally Along The
Wall That Surround The Castle Grounds Now On A Park Wall

This Fireplace Decoration Was
Hand Carved Out Of One Piece Of Stone

The Family Dining Room

Man Of The House's Bedroom
Small Bed Because His Wife Had Her Own Room

The Loo.....Full Bathroom With Running Water And A Flush Toilet

The Commode

This Kitchen Table Was Designed With A Hole In The Middle For A Reason
The Servants Would Cut A Grape Vine, Put It Into The Hole So Everyone Could Enjoy Fresh Grapes For Dessert

This Is The Arab Room Used For Ladies Socials

During the tour our guide explained that the owner inherited the massive structure when he was just SIX months old.  Talk about being born with a silver spoon in his mouth....wow! But this castle was after all just his summer home where he only spent about six weeks each year. Talk about having waaayyy too much money! Anyway, eventually he had enough of paying for the upkeep and GIFTED, as in GAVE the castle, palace and whole estate to the city of Cardiff to turn into a tourist attraction. It is a gorgeous, elaborately decorated estate that is a must see for anyone visiting this pristine, coastal city.

View Of Cardiff

Walkway Connecting Buildings Of Castle Grounds

Drawbridge Over To The Keep.....Looking Down From Top

Afterwards we walked around the city center and shopping district taking in the sights, sounds and smells before stopped for dinner. We passed by a pub advertising "brains" and "faggots with chips," which made us stop to scratch our head and wonder.  Turns out that "Brains" is the name of a local beer and brewery so nothing scary there.  I later found out that "faggots" are local meatballs made from a strange assortment of pork parts such as heart, liver, fat, belly meat, bread crumbs and more. We passed on the faggots and settled in for some rustic, brick oven pizza that turned out delicious.

Sights Around Cardiff

The next morning we were treated to a traditional English breakfast at the hotel for free. Certainly not something we'd want to eat too often it included a large sausage, a thick slab of bacon, baked beans, an egg, mushrooms, a roasted tomato and toast. Truly a heat attack on a plate!

A Traditional English Breakfast....Toast Also

With just a half day left of exploring before heading off to our next house sit we drove to the nearby town of Llandaff to see the cathedral. I admit that I went thinking it would be just another boring cathedral when I walked inside I was wowed.  See for yourself in the photos what the inside of this amazing church looks like.

Llandaff Cathedral

A Celtic Cross

Grounds Around The Cathedral

Back outside we strolled around the church grounds and stopped to say hello to a local man sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper. A few minutes later we heard someone running behind us and calling out. "Excuse me, where are you from?" the voice asked. We turned to find the same gentleman walking up to us.  We explained where we were from and what we were doing in the UK, house sitting and sleeping our way around so to speak. He went onto tell us about a museum that we MUST SEE in the next little town of St. Fagans.

The St. Fagan's National History Museum is an open air museum with over 40 full sized buildings that were brought there and reconstructed from elsewhere in Wales. These structures give visitors a glimpse of what life was like through the ages in Wales and even better is that admission to the museum is FREE.  Many of the buildings were furnished just as they would have been back in the day while others featured skilled craftsman demonstrating their talents.  An amazing walk back through the ages as we got to experience a bit of Welsh life, done up in an orderly, well thought out fashion. And to think had we not stopped to chat with this local man we never would have known this place existed.

Old Farm House On Museum Grounds

Another Ancient Home

Small Post Office

This is Cock Ring
They Would Bring Their Fighting Cocks
Here To Do Battle

A General Store

Interior of General Store

Exterior of Black Smith Shop

Inside Of Black Smith Shop
This Is A REAL Blacksmith
We Chatted Him Up For A While

Community Water

Fireplace Warmed Us Up Here!

Row Housing, These Were Small
One Bedroom Attached Houses

Another Fireplace To Warm Us Up

Wales is a beautiful country that we will be exploring more of next month as we head back that way for a house sit in the town of Maesteg. So many places to see, so many things to explore in the United Kingdom.......along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE

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