Day 14&15: Cardiff Part I

So as it turned out, Cardiff is a very fun city… I don’t know why… But it has a completely different feel than Bristol, despite how close these two are physically… Maybe history? Maybe the places I live?

So I arrived on Monday, still exhausted from my walk and sleep deprived. Naturally, the day was spent napping. I also did some preliminary research on a few writing ideas, caught up on one of the reviews for Northumbrian, and did some cooking with my host. My host is Bulgarian, but the curry was the best Indian I’ve had in years! Here’s the pic:

And of course, in researching, I realized how next-to-nothing I know about WWII in Britain… I’ve always known that London and some southern cities were bombed, but the fact that the Blitz affected nearly all major cities was completely bewildering for me, and pushed me to re-think my concept of WWII. I guess since my only exposure to Western History is my Canadian history knowledge, one that is based on Louis Riel and Tommy Douglas, I tend to forget that its mother is a warrior with loads of battle wounds… Be it industrialization and decline, or the wars, the U.K. has definitely suffered – and sublimed – far more misery than I can imagine… And one thing is crystal clear now: medieval folklores are not the only thing worth looking for.

This morning signalled the real start for my stay in Cardiff, and unlike Bristol, I know this is a city that I can at least tolerate when I see the townhouses – or terraces as the Britons call them.

The street arts are much less than that of Bristol or Montreal, but they seem to be more comprehensible… And as I’m not familiar with the whole Uganda thing I can’t tell whether this is a satire or a genuine campaign, but either way it’s more for my liking. I wonder what would happen in Liverpool?

American breakfasts: pancakes, bacon & maple syrup… Man, you might as well say it’s North American as you seem to offer a mix of American and Canadian options…

Yes Canadians do eat pancakes with maple syrup, and yes maple syrup is one of the Canadian icons… But no one in their right mind has pancakes, maple syrup, and bacon together?! No cheeky “but we’re using Canadian maple smoked bacon” excuses!

Stereotypically speaking… Americans tend to have pancakes with honey or corn syrup a lot more often than maple syrup… Not sure if they don’t want to, though… It’s just that maple syrup is virtually monopolies by Quebec. And when we have bacon for breakfast, we do it with eggs, sausages, and some sort of potatoes… It’s like a full English but without the beans/veggies, though places often offer a piece of fruit.

Oh, and when we do have pancakes with some sort of topping and sauce, it’s called crêpe. Thank you very much.

More terraces, and then one of the main streets which apparently ends with a carousel… I think one reason that I like Cardiff better is that it appears much less industrial (despite its history) and much more family-friendly. Bristol just seems too… Rough?

I wonder what “bwyty” means? It reads like “bri-ti”, that much I know…

Ingenious street artist! At first I thought they were Voldemort lol… I tell you it’s a real person in that costume… Can you figure out how he’s managing to appear floating? Took me a while to figure out.

Ohhh those “WTF” moments when you realize this bilingual site values the other language better than English, and that “other language” is something close enough to English to be considered a dialect in rare occasions, and far enough from English that you understand nothing… And it’s neither French not Mandarin! It’s a bit annoying as my brain keeps expecting French and hence keeps pushing me to read and learn, but nope. Thank you Welsh!

As annoying as it appears, Welsh isn’t the least boring… Who knows England is “Lloegr”? And what on earth is Scotland lol? It reminded me of the time that I forgot my Google was somehow French, and looked up places in UK with the .ca domain… You can picture my horror and bemusement when a giant “RAUYAME UNI” appeared across my screen with a map of Britain around it… Indeed, after the until shock, it is always fun to learn place names in different languages. Who knows the Netherlands is “Pays-Bas”, or literally “the low-countries”? I don’t know enough Welsh to know if it’s the same here, though…

It took me about half an hour to walk from city centre to the Cardiff Bay, and it wasn’t the happiest of all walks as the weather was quite gloomy, but things were still enjoyable… And there are surprises waiting for me at unexpected spots.

Like this. I wasn’t able to find an explanation nearby, but this looks like a memorial to all seamen, especially the Royal Navy? And if my assumptions are correct, those poppies have been here since Rememberance Day, unless a memorial for all marine crew was held was held

And this. Looks like Dominos with a twist, and I have no idea why it’s there. Just because, probably. It still made me smile, and cherished the fact that I didn’t turn a blind eye. This has definitely made the city more adorable.

This terrace somehow reminds me the ones in County Durham, those dwelled by miners and their families like in Billie Elliot. I know they are very different, but something about the style connects…

When I approached this bridge-thing, I thought it was a river underneath… Well, so much for watery commutes!

I can’t decide how to caption this, so I’ll do both lol

“Time flies by when you’re a driver of the train, speeding out of Trumpton with a cargo of cocaine.”

“The train came around, sixteen coaches long. The train came around, sixteen coaches long. The girl I love is on that train and gone.”

How on earth can I not love HMHB?

Well, the day ended as I dashed into the Marchnad Caerdydd for some quick grocery, before cooking up some Chinese with my host. I was thinking about chicken wings when I walked in but the market was basically closed by the time I popped in, so I settled with some eggplants and cabbage. I didn’t manage to burn the house down, so I guess it turned out all right.

And this, my friends, marks the half-way point of my winter trip. It’s definitely been a very compelling experience so far, and it is indeed a little sad knowing that it’ll be over so soon… Places of interests keep coming up as I go and I can’t exactly fit them into this trip at all, but I might come back in summer… The next half would be faster-paced, with seven full days in and around London, and the other week going up north, then slowly down south. Less rural settings, too, which would be a miss. But the few days in Cornwall and Wye Valley should be enough to keep me going until the Cheviots in Easter, hopefully. And before then, I’ll cope.

The more I see, the firmer I believe rural England can be a potential place of residence for me… But hey, Canadian citizenship first, mate!

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