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Bernard and Eira Wyns' trip to Cardiff Part 1:

We always knew that South Walians had a strange opinion of North Walians (Gogs) but we were still surprised by our welcome in the capital City. Why were all the Cardiffians staring at us? Are we Gogs that different to the sophisticated inhabitants of the City of Cardiff ?

Cardiff Castle KeepWell er ..no, belatedly we realised that we were in the only car driving around the pedestrianised precinct in the shopping centre of Cardiff.

Hiding our blushes we made our way back to the main street and continued in the correct direction towards our hotel. We passed the Castle entrance and turned left into the correct Street. The NCP Westgate Street Car Park was ideally placed between the Millennium Stadium and the popular High Street / St Mary Street. We already new that the hotel ( The Royal Hotel ) did not have a Car Park and we had resigned ourselves to paying for overnight parking. But we were pleasantly surprised to find that the hotel had special terms with the Car Park enabling us to receive a discount on the parking charges.( It does not state this on the web site, and you have to remember to ask for this at hotel reception)

However parking the car turned out to be the easy bit. Although we were only a few hundred yards from the hotel we trundled our cases up and down St Mary Street for half an hour. This was due to the fact that they have a strange system of numbering properties in Cardiff. Having reached number 98 St Mary Street we carried on down the street in search of number 10. Little did we expect that number 10 would be just four doors away from number 98. But then it is South Wales!

The Millenium Stadium looms like the bow of a massive ship among Cardiff's City Centre buildingsRealising that we had a problem we retraced our steps and eventually found the back entrance to the hotel. By this time we were getting rather concerned about the standard of accommodation that we had pre booked on-line. But we needn't have worried, as although the hotel did not have a wide ground floor frontage the inside was very pleasant indeed. The web site did not do justice to the hotel and the directions were atrocious, but the hotel was much more than we expected. It is a clean modern designer boutique style of hotel, giving excellent value for money in a prime City centre position.

Having spent more time then expected visiting St Fagan's in the morning it was late afternoon when we checked into the hotel. We had a quick kip and a shower to test the hotel facilities and agreed that they had passed with flying colours. The newly fitted bathroom was spotless, with an excellent shower over the bath, indeed the whole room was excellent. The views were nothing spectacular, city roofs and the shopping street below, but we could see the Millennium Centre and harbour buildings in the distance, and the massive Millennium Stadium was just a block away at the rear of the hotel.

At 7.00.p.m we set out to look for food but unfortunately the first Pub we found had just stopped serving. The Pub, called the Cottage, was a nicely fitted out traditional Pub, just across the road from the hotel, with Cottage Pub in St Mary Streetpictures of famous Welsh people on the walls. After I had sampled a pint of Brains bitter the friendly barman pointed us in the right direction for another restaurant and we walked a few yards along the street to "The Brewery". This is a lively collection of restaurants and bars, presumably built on the site of an old brewery.

We chose Nandos restaurant, and enjoyed spicy Portuguese style food at a reasonable price. OK it may be a franchise but the staff were friendly and the service was excellent and we both enjoyed our meals. The chicken was so spicy I had to force down an extra bottle of Brahma brazilian beer!

The trip to St Fagans in the morning had by now begun to take its toll so we visited one last Pub and headed back to the hotel for an early night. Early nights in Cardiff are relative. In Cardiff, especially the St Mary Street district, 11.00.p.m. is an early night. As we entered the hotel for bed the street outside was heaving with young people just starting out on their night out in the City.

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Please -- click on the pictures below -- for enlarged pictures of places we visited on part 1 of our visit to the City of Cardiff, Wales, UK.
© All pictures copyright Bernard Wellings
Church of St John the Baptist at night Entrance to the Brewery Quarter, a good selection of Pubs and restaurants
Church of St John the Baptist at night  
Entrance to the Brewery Quarter, a good selection of Pubs and restaurants
Our bedroom at the Royal Hotel Cardiff
Our bedroom at the Royal Hotel Cardiff 2
Our bedroom at the Royal Hotel Cardiff  
Our bedroom facilities at the Royal Hotel Cardiff
 
Royal Hotel St Mary Street Cardiff
   
Royal Hotel St Mary Street Cardiff

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