Sunday, April 01, 2012

Pre-Easter Break: Day 3 (Sunday)

Today it’s Cardiff, by train. And what a bargain - £6.50 return each from Swindon!
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Heading towards Swindon Station was an interesting challenge! First, there was the infamous ‘magic roundabout’ – a mini-roundabout surrounded by five err, mini-roundabouts to navigate around. Good job it was a Sunday, as it took me a few revolutions to work-out which road led to the station! I knew were in trouble when the sat-nav spluttered: “..at the roundabout, take the roundabout and then take the second left off the roundabout...” - and then fell silent! Ooo err missus!Still, five minutes later, with that part of the journey sussed, the next challenge was finding the Station.

Amazingly, the sat-nav had now recovered from its nervous breakdown and took us there without a problem. However, our second challenge started when we realised that the area surrounding the Station was now a building-site and the signage to the car-parking, to us, seemed very confusing . After a second lap around the block, we eventually found the long-stay car-park that seemed like it was 150 miles away from the Station, full of pot-holes and not very big (surely this can’t be THE long-stay* for the mighty town of Swindon???) ! The irony was that it cost more to park the car than it did for the journey from Swindon to Cardiff and back again!

*Apparently it IS!

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The train journey was pretty smooth and quick, considering the distance – about an hour. We noticed that some seat-backs in the carriages had TVs (just like a plane), where travellers could pay a small fee to watch TV and films, but unlike our local trains, there were hardly any charging points for phones – a strange sense of priorities! The train pulled into Cardiff Station around 10.45 and as we hadn’t planned anything specific (we haven’t been here before), we thought we’d just see how the day turned out .

We decided that our first stop should be Cardiff Castle, but their card-machine was broken and they were only taking cash bookings – so we just took a few photos and then headed for our second fave area - the shops!

Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle

It was a gorgeous day, if a little cold, but the bright blue sky certainly brought out the shoppers of Cardiff – eventually. All-in-all, we had a good time as the whole shopping area is pedestrianized with lots f new shops – John Lewis, BHS etc – maybe we spent more time shopping than soaking up the culture, as I think it’s fair to say that the shops we visited were beaten to within an inch of their lives with our custom, as were the coffee shops and free wi-fi opportunities – perfect!

Proper cups!
A glorious day in Cardiff
We headed back to the station where it seemed our train was pretty popular – it was was packed with  equal quantities of over-sized luggage together with their owners – the latter showing little or no regard for any reserved seating – ours included – cheeky b*******!

An hour-or-so later, having claimed our rightful seats, we trundled into Swindon, ready fro the yomp to the car-park. Soon enough, we were back in the car heading to the cottage, all ‘shopped-out’ and ready for something to eat.

It’s been another great day – we enjoyed Cardiff and it t was a shame we ran out of time – there’s so much to see, so next time, we going to spend more time on the cultural bits!

Cirencester tomorrow!