Monday, January 30, 2012

My Favourite City

This month, Cardiff entered into the top 10 UK destinations. Aww this makes me proud! My favourite city has been recognized as a great place to visit and I can't disagree. Here are my reasons for why it's great to be a tourist in Cardiff.

1) It's easy to get to from London. Just hop on a train and about 2.5 hours later it'll drop you off right in the center of Cardiff.

2) It's a very pretty city. It has a castle and it has a grand-looking museum and a gorgeous central park. It also has a fantastic looking bay area with impressive and beautiful buildings like the parliament building and the Wales Millennium Centre.

3) It's not too big. You can't really get too lost in Cardiff and if you do find yourself REALLY stuck. The center of town is only about an hour's walk from any corner of the city and all the buses pretty well go to the central station.

4) It's more friendly and less gray than London. Don't get me wrong, I love London too (for other reasons) but don't ask for too much friendliness from Londoners. They are busy people with busy lives and don't have the time for lost tourists. The Welsh, on the other hand, seem to love it when people come to visit their country and if you ask them to tell you about the history of Wales, be prepared for a lengthy and dramatic tale (maybe go to the pub).

5) Like sports? Check out the Millennium Stadium. It is impressive! And the moving ceiling is pretty cool too.

6) Like Dr. Who or Torchwood? Go down to Cardiff Bay and check out the 'familiar' scenery. There's also a Dr. Who exhibit in the Red Dragon Centre down there too.

7) Like the arts? There's loads going on. Check out these places.
The Gate Arts Centre
Chapter Arts Centre
The Sherman Theatre
The New Theatre
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Wales Millenium Centre

Friday, January 20, 2012

Welsh Art Café in Taff's Well

While I was on vacation, I was able to take a mini trip up to Taff's Well. It's easily accessible from Cardiff. There are buses but I find the easiest way to get there, if you don't have a car, is by train from the Queen street station (it also stops at Cathays and Llandaff North). It only takes about 15 minutes from the heart of Cardiff.

Taff's Well is a very cute village. It's name is derived from it's location next to the river Taff and it's history of being a site of natural hot springs since Roman times. It is a great place to spend an afternoon or day. The local pub is great and it's nice to just walk up the Taff trail and take in the Welsh countryside.

While in Taff's Well, I definitely recommend visiting Umber & Sienna Art Café. It's an easy, short walk up the Taff trail and a great little place to see some local Welsh art. Have a tea or coffee and a slice of delicious homemade cake (or other tantalising treats!) while enjoying an environment filled with local artwork. If you have children, bring them too. There are child-friendly snacks and drinks available and they will love creating their own Lego® artwork on the walls!

The owner of the café, Rachael, has done an excellent job of arranging the place and will be happy to make you feel welcome. The café is open 9:30-3 pm Tuesday to Friday and 10-5 on Saturdays.

How to get there in a 5 minute walk

Across the road from the Taff's Well train station car park, you will see the Taff Trail. Follow it (north) over the bridge and to the first gate. At the first gate, you will see two cottages, one on the left and on the right. These are the Rhymney railway cottages (so-named after the Rhymney Valley railway connection).

After the cottages, you will come to a second gate. Just after this, on the left hand side, you will see a little track and a sign pointing you to the art café.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jet Lag is Weird

I'm back from my vacation and fighting jet lag. Jet lag is such a strange thing isn't it?

I fly to Europe fairly often and I find that no matter whether I'm coming or going, the same weird things happen to me every time for the first few days. My symptoms include the following:

1) I get the EXTREME munchies at 3 am and usually end up consuming large amounts of cheese to drive off the hunger.

2) I wake up at 5:30am and read a book. I have tried various books to stop this but alas no genre seems to curb it!

3) I scare my friends by suddenly becoming a perky morning-person. This is possibly the worst of all my symptoms; my poor friends live on tenterhooks for the first few days until I finally become my groggy self.

4) I relive my old university skills of staying up late and use bullying tactics to get the others around me to do the same. Sadly, they all become pumpkins at midnight.

5) I'm wide awake at sleepy-time and sleepy at wide-awake time. O_o

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nun's Prayer

I know it's been weeks since I've posted anything. With Christmas and being on vacation without internet, it's been nearly impossible to get any good blogging done.

The other day I was visiting some folks in Bristol, England and they had this on their wall. I had never seen this prayer before and thought it was quite nice. My favourite verse is the one about sour old people being a crowning work of the devil. LOL so true!

Lord Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy.
With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.
Seal my lips on my aches and pains.
They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years by.
I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others pains, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint some of them so hard to live with, but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people.
And, give me 0 Lord the grace to tell them so.

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