By the time we arrived at Maison Galles in Cardiff, it was after 9pm so we just chilled out in the lounge room while we waited for our traditional Welsh dinner to arrive. As soon as we finished the pizza, it was time for bed. It was a fairly casual start to the day, a late breakfast at ‘home’ before wandering out towards the city centre. Sarah and I had been to Cardiff plenty of times, and the closest we got to visiting Cardiff Castle, was when we walked up the entrance and took a photo. To keep Uncle War happy, we went in.
At the beginning of our self-guided tour, we were offered to view a quick film that would give us a better understanding of the castle. Seven minutes later, we were none the wiser, and perhaps, actually more confused. We walked out on top of the castle walls into the open air, looked at our map that said to type in #1 to start the tour. After our little audio contraptions started telling us about the tunnel we were in, we decided that, maybe, we should just wander around and absorb everything ourselves. All of this aside, I did really enjoy it. Walking through the Main Lodgings was quite spectacular with the Egyptian Room, Banquet Hall and Library the highlights.
As we wandered out of the Main Lodgings and into the Castle Grounds we looked up at the Shell Keep to see the Welsh Flag flying in front of the dark sky meaning rain was imminent. We were in Wales after all, so there had to be a bit of rain. We quickly went up the stairs into the centre, but as the rain started to fall, I deviated from the folks and climbed the steps to the top. I took a few terrible photos and turned around to walk back down and immediately regretted my decision. Those who know me know I am ‘quite the girly man’ when it comes to heights. While it took me merely seconds to ascend, it took about 10 minutes to inch my wobbly knees down the steep(ish) steps.
With the rain set in, we quickly ran across the road and into the nearest pub, The Goat Major. It was a bit of an ‘Old School Boozer’ that focuses on ales and your choice of food was a pie. And the pies were delicious. We are not big ale drinkers, but as each different pie option had matching ales, we all gave it a go. Even Mum, who “doesn’t drink” ordered cask ale. The ale was good but after one, we were back on the lagers for the next hour as the rain poured down outside. As much as the boys were getting slightly tired of visiting castles, Muminator was getting a bit tired of pubs so I pointed her in the direction of Cardiff’s old shopping arcades for a look around. We finished up at the Goat Major and jumped in a cab back to the house. We were all starting to fade, probably the pies, when my mate, Petey Pie (preferred name) rang, so, Uncle War and I wandered on down to the Conway to catch up. By the time Mum, Dad and Mrs Pie arrived; we were very much caught up so staggered wandered back home to polish off the last of the pizza.
The next morning I needed a Lucozade for some reason before picking up the hire car. We had one stop in Newport where we found the house that Mum’s Great Grandmother once lived in before heading over the enormous Severn Bridge and into England bound for Winchester.