M & A’s guide to…Cardiff

Big beautiful old buildings? – Check.
Gorgeous laneways full of boutique shops? – Check.
Small restaurants serving up mouthwatering food? – Check.
Some great tourist attractions to fill your day? – Check.
Cardiff had it all. 
We didn’t really have many expectations as we trained to Cardiff with our laptops out and music on early on Sunday morning, and if we had any, it was that it would actually just be a ‘nothing’ town – how sad I know – just somewhere to do a little exploring, a little eating, but more of a stop over place on the way to bigger and ‘better’ cities. How wrong we were. Maybe we enjoyed ourselves so much as we were only there 48 hours so crammed as much in as we could, but I doubt it. It really was such a quaint little town full of crazy speaking welsh, gorgeous restaurants and warm pub serving great cidar, and if you get the chance, should be put on your own travel map. We didn’t stay there long, and we didn’t do a huge amount, but I think that was the key to such a fantastic experience here – short trip, relaxed atmosphere, doing tourist ‘stuff’ on our own terms. Here is Morgan & I’s synopsis of how Cardiff should be done, in a mere 48 hours..

What we did …

  • Cardiff Castle
  • Explored the whole town…by foot
  • Ate in two ‘must go to’ pubs/restaurants – “The Spotted Pig” & “The Yard”
  • Walked through the huge beautiful parks 
  • Infamous Cardiff Markets

Highlights…

  • Putting on our running shoes when we first arrived and literally jogging/walking the whole town of Cardiff – it is small, and this is do-able and if you are going to go to Cardiff, something we highly recommend. We had such a fun time doing it on the first day, we actually got up early day 2 to do it again – it was one of the best ways to see the city on a whim. 
  • Cardiff Castle – & doing the Premium tour. This saw us get taken through the old living quarters of the owners who used to live there back in the 1800’s with all the stories and secrets of the castle. The castle itself (stone, outer walls) is over 2,000 years old and … you are allowed to touch it! So Morgs & I spent our time running our hands along the rough stone walls marvelling in the fact we were touching something so old with so much history.
  • The Yard – great food, amazing beer (& cidar) and friendly bar staff. We went to go and take an hours bus ride to a National Park but got sucked in to this gorgeous pub with vintage decor instead. We sat on old chester couches in the warmth watching the Olympics drinking delicious beer & cidar. P.s the pubs are fantastic over here, if you aren’t sure what you want to drink they let you sample whatever you like (on tap only though). So Morgs & I had our own little beer tasting session – for free! – here as well.
  • Walking through Cardiff markets and buying lots of little bits of food to munch on – we ate a traditional welsh cake here & it was delicious!! (Think a sweet piklet, smothered in sugar).
  • The hostel – surprisingly! It was such a great little place and our very first hostel experience. We had booked a private double room with ensuite but when we got there realised we had a tiny room …with bunk beds and a shared bathroom. We took it all in our stride though & still really loved it. That, plus the free apple pie & ice cream in the common room that night. Plus Morgs hilarious response when he realised we got bunk beds made it all just a laugh. 
Memorable quotes… 
  • “Quick babe, avert your eyes or look the other way or something, that could be part of the castle and we can’t see it yet!! We need something to do tomorrow” – Morgan (in all seriousness! He said this as we first arrived & realised just how small Cardiff was and were wondering how to fill our 48 hours).
  • “WOOOOOO I bags the top bunk!!” – Morgan. “Nooooo I get itttt” – Anna. “Nope, boys only, sorry hunny”. 
A very short time later, after spending only a few hours on the top bunk….
  • “You can have the top bunk at the next hostel babe, I don’t want it” – Morgan (said very forlorn as he realised top bunk wasn’t as cool as he remembered it haha)
  • “Hun, please..you can’t have perfume AND bottom bunk on this trip, be serious now” – Morgan (being completely serious in duty free on our way to Ireland when I asked him to buy me some perfume…we had already struck a deal I’d get all bottom bunks if it happened again so he felt that was enough for me apparently!)
  • “I went in to go shop lifting twice with the guy, and he wouldn’t even go in to help me!” – Random young Welsh boys walking past our window at 2am that woke us up, talking about the shop lifting escapade they’d just been on!!

Cardiff…in snapshots

[ Arriving at Cardiff castle – admiring the living quarters where the family that owned it used to live – can you imagine! ] 

[ Posing with the sign excited that we were about to see & touch history more than 2,000 years old ]
[ A later addition added to the castle built by some guy…who won lot’s of battles whilst protecting the castle walls..we were listening I swear! ]

[ This guy!! This is the guy who built the above castle add on. Robert Consul – the prisoner in the bottom left of the picture was his Uncle, who had been imprisoned by his brother – after a fight of who wanted the throne ]

[ Being touristy & stuff .. this was the rooftop gardens where it was said the owners would bring guests to entertain ]

[ Morgs spotted an Eagle on the grounds, so naturally, had to pose with it – he related it to his football team West Coast Eagles ]

[ Because what is a Castle visit without lame tourist photos? A castle less visited that’s for sure ]

[ We both wanted in on the lame tourist photos ]

[ Morgsy had his own arcade!! He has lots of Arcades all over UK actually – everything here is Morgan something! ]

[ Drinking after a hard day of…holidaying ]

[An amazing street art lady who stood, dead still, for hours, as a statue. It blew our minds ]

What to pack for a big trip

So here we are day … day whatever. It doesn’t matter what day it is. It even feels good to say that, but living it, really living it is even better. We realised that it is possibly one of the most blissful things about travelling, it doesn’t matter what day it is, or the time even and letting go of that was surprisingly one of the fastest things we got used to. Days and time – they don’t have any meaning in our lives anymore, only adventure, good food and following our wants and needs. Morgs & I seem to be getting more in sync and understanding as the days go on. Don’t get us wrong, sure we have little tiny bickers here and there – isn’t that part of it all though- but the level of understanding and calm is something we’ve never experienced in our relationship before… and it’s nice. Really nice. We still can’t believe we’re actually here and are absorbing all the lessons and growth that is humanly possible. I’ve loved seeing Morgs out of his comfort zone just as his enjoying seeing me out of mine. On our recent train ride from London to Cardiff we compiled our own list of what everyone needs to pack if they’re planning a similar trip as we were saying just how different the rest of the world to Australia really is.
WHAT TO PACK WHEN YOU’RE TRAVELLING..apart from the obvious

  • An open heart … Ready to absorb every emotion and feeling that consumes you while travelling in worlds unknown.
  • An open mind … To be respectful and understanding in any and all situations a new country can throw at you.
  • A calm demeanor – there is absolutely no point, ever in getting angry, it only escalates a stressful situation from bad to chaos. 
  • A semi organised mindset … This accompanies the above point rather well
  • A gypsy spirit .. Free to fall in love with all the strange allys, vast country sides and huge cities you are trying to get lost in.
  • An amazing playlist of music – to listen to on planes and trains and any other time that calls for it. There are honestly no words to the feelings you experience seeing a strange world whizz past you with your favourite song playing in your ear. It was the first time I got emotional on the holiday. – this will happen a lot.
  • A fellow adventurer who you can spend 24 hours with, 7 days a week. Perfect if they’re a ying to your yang. Solo travel has its merits I’m sure but one of the first things we realised over here, is that travel is that much more amazing & fun when all your experiences and emotions can be shared.
  • A neck pillow, and a good one at that. It will save your life. Mum bought me a memory foam one before we left & it has saved me – thanks mama!
Below are some snapshots (mainly for you mum 1 & mum 2 (Jenny & Sheryl-lee) & family reading this who don’t have Instagram) of little moments here and there over the past two cities – London & Cardiff. Sure we have our big fancy camera, and our great little video camera, but sometimes nothing beats an iphone snap that captures moments you want to remember. Like touching a building over 2,000 years old or cheesy grins as we lap up being tourists on a double decker bus. So enjoy the story the pictures tell of our first travel adventure through London & Cardiff, we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed living them.

Anna & Morgs xx xx

1. Showing off our exit row seats on the plane on the way over. It pays to ask for upgrades!! I did it on both flights & both flights we got upgraded to huge exit row seats – the flight over was fantastic.
2. Our coffee’s on the very first morning in London. The apartment we were sharing with a London couple had all the bells and whistles – we felt right at home.
3. A shot I snapped on a whim that surmised London to me perfectly – Big Ben, a Red bus and a Red telephone box – one of my fav shots yet.
4. The first shot we snapped of Big Ben & Parliament house. No photo will ever do them justice though. It literally took my breathe away.
5. We loved stumbling upon all the signs that had places we’d only ever dreamed of visiting. I.e. Buckingham palace.
6. Morgs papped a photo of me as I sipped on a delicious cup of coffee-the first good coffee we found in London which was a huge milestone!!
7. Just an old building we walked past that had no sign postage. I loved how old and beautiful it was thought.
8. Lunch on day 3…about the healthiest thing we’ve had – which is saying something!
9. THE most delicious breakfast I’ve ever had. Blueberry pancakes. Cooked by our gorgeous hosts in London – Meara. She was a whizz in the kitchen and cooked these up for Morgs & I on our last morning.
10. The view from the top of the London Eye … one of the best ways to see London (tied with double decker bus tours and just walking around getting lost).
11. First transit we did – London to Cardiff. So far, we’re finding we don’t mind travelling between destinations. 
12. On board an iconic double decker red bus – we had so much fun cruising London this way.
13. On one of many trains we caught in London.
14. Morgs looking adorable, waiting patiently at Paddington station for our train to Cardiff – we were actually really exhausted by this stage due to the hectic’ness of London.
15. Touching 2,000 year old stone. It gives you goosebumps. This was us soaking up every inch of Cardiff castle.
16. Lunch in a local pub in Cardiff – our first taste of Yorkshire pudding in the UK. Was delish!
17. City Hall building in Cardiff – would you believe?! It looks like something out of a 1800’s fairtytale, but that’s the beautiful thing about travelling. Marvelling at the beauty in old buildings.
18. Part of Cardiff castle (we toured in that section, a family lived in there until mid 1900’s until they gave the castle away to the People of Cardiff as the current owner at the time didn’t want to pay any more death tax’s – so interesting!)
19. Drinking cidar looking out a pub window in Cardiff – enjoying life.
20. Walking around the whole of Cardiff we found another big old beautiful building – this one was said to be ‘Industry & Commerce building’. 
21. Doing the tour of Cardiff castle it took you through the original library with some of the books that were in there – I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Although you’re not allowed to touch the books, I scoured the bookshelves to see all the titles and stories…and was lucky enough to find…”Dictionary of the Bible” .. it looked ancient. (I found it right near the original books of Charles Dickents..amazing!)
22. A plate of food that was delicious – but huge. Morgs & I ate a whole plate each. Oops!