Cardiff Travelogue– A group of friends, hectic term, long weekend- Trip planned!
Living in the UK, we were eager on visiting Wales and planned a trip to its capital city, Cardiff. Along with my 3 other friends (Diva, Sanskriti and Suruchi), I started planning for this exciting trip. Little did I know how adventurous it was going to be!!
We were all too excited for the trip and began booking for our travel and stay.
DAY 1- Exploring on Foot
We travelled from Leeds by National Express bus, which was a 6 hour long journey. On reaching the coach station at Cardiff, we decided to stop by the Bute Park to grab a bite before heading to our hostel. The summer mornings at the park were just perfect- people cycling, walking their dogs, having ice-cream and picnicking.
Enjoying some really delicious sandwiches and refreshing coffee at the Summerhouse Cafe there, we were all set to walk down to our hostel, NosDa Hostel (Despenser Street, Riverside).
The hostel overlooked the river, presenting a truly refreshing view. Initially, we were provided a 4-bed room, which wasn’t in a good condition- window wouldn’t open, doors wouldn’t lock, spider webs on the wall. After requesting for a better room, we were shifted to a 6-bed dorm which only the four of us occupied. This was the beginning of this one hell of a trip!!
Post resting for a while, we were all set to walk around the city. Our hostel was right opposite the Principality Stadium, which looked really beautiful on the outside.
We started walking towards the stadium to have a closer look and were overjoyed by a complete lane of graffiti walls circling the stadium. Walking another mile, we reached the Cardiff city centre which boasts of stunning and really interesting architecture with buildings and shopping arcades dating back to the 19th & 20th century.
Our next stop was the Cardiff Bay, which stood comparatively empty on a working day evening. I guess that’s what gave us a better opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this place. The architecture of Cardiff makes every spot seem so much more meaningful and picturesque. How can one resist clicking pictures there- and so did we!
DAY 2- Too much adventure (and shock)
Next day, we were all fresh and excited because we were going to visit Barry Island, outside of Cardiff (about 18 Kms)!!
We started the day by walking up to Cardiff Castle in the city center. Climbing some 50 stone steps, we reached the top of the Norman Keep which presented a breathtaking view of the city. We just stood there, taking in that beautiful view as the cold and fresh breeze brushed our faces.
Relishing the beautiful weather, we were on our way to the Cardiff market but couldn’t resist stopping by and enjoying some delicious Welsh cakes. We were greeted by the very beautiful Lissie at ‘Fabulous Welshcakes’, right opposite the Castle. She offered us some mini Welshcakes to taste and made us try many different tempting flavors. I don’t have a sweet tooth but trust me when I say, those were some mouthwatering Welshcakes and all four of us bought a lot of them (well, had to make some for our friends back in Leeds too ;)).
Local markets always enthuse me as they give a glimpse into a particular local culture, people’s preferences, and of course, exciting souvenirs. Hence, I was eager to visit the Cardiff market, a Victorian indoor market. With my DSLR in hand, I couldn’t help but click so many pictures of the beautiful architecture and stalls at the market and even did a photoshoot for Sanskriti (our in-house model <3).
One of the exits from the market leads us to St. John The Baptist Church and I became a happy kid; I love spending time inside churches.
Barry Island- Calm before the storm
It was now time to head for Barry Island!! The train from Cardiff drops you at the Barry Island Pleasure Park which is just opposite the Barry Island beach. Here we were, all set for some beach fun. Suruchi was the most excited and beach ready in her stunning beach suit!!
Walking through the beach, we were headed to the Friar’s point to catch the beautiful sunset. I cannot describe the splendour of this place in words. We found a spot there- calm, serene and a place where everything seemed just perfect. The four of us sat there on the cliff, absorbing the fresh cool air and the eternal silence. I felt happy!
But as they say, that was the calm before the storm for me. After grabbing a bite at one of the restaurants on the island, we were off to the train station, heading back to our hostel in Cardiff. On exiting the station at Cardiff, we entered a supermarket right beside it to buy some milk and bread. Moments after leaving from there, I realize that – my bag is missing!
The bag had my documents, wallet, and my BRP (British Residency Permit) and I had lost it. I panicked assuming I had forgotten it on the train which would have left the station by now! I ran everywhere for 10-15 minutes, before going back to the supermarket asking about it.
Luckily, the staff knew where my bag was and directed me towards the Lost & Found. After about 15 minutes of chasing and enquiring, we found it! Throughout this chaos, I had Diva by my side, running everywhere along with me and keeping me calm (even though she was worried too <3).
Ending this eventful day, we finally headed back to the hostel and had a fun night- our last night in Cardiff!
DAY 3- Goodbye!
Just when I thought the worst was over the previous day, my morning still had the hangover. I couldn’t find the key to my bag’s lock! While staying at a hostel, you have to be very cautious about your luggage and since my bag’s number lock wasn’t functional, I had a tiny key-lock to it.
I searched for the key at the places I usually keep it but couldn’t find and finally decided to break the lock. I went downstairs and requested the receptionist for a tool to try open the lock and he handed me a hammer (I am glad he didn’t think I was a psycho)! After all the attempts, I still couldn’t open the lock.
Thankfully I had taken my fresh clothes out the night before and finally decided to get the lock opened once back in Leeds. We checked out of the hostel and headed towards the train station. On our way, we made one last stop by the river through Bute Park.
The place was tranquil, with only the sound of water and ducks swimming in it. We sat there for some time, spellbound by the beauty of that peaceful moment. We were delighted to have taken that trip and came back rather refreshed!
I hope my experience helps you in planning your trip to Cardiff. If you find my Cardiff travelogue quite useful, please rate the article by clicking stars. Do join our Facebook community for reading and sharing travel stories.