Cardiff – Overview

October 20, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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Cardiff is a nice city. I know that’s not the most ringing endorsement but Cardiff doesn’t really seem to offer much out of the ordinary. There are some pleasant places to wander like Bute park, any number of arcades criss crossing the main streets and there of course a number of attractions.

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However none of these really stood ut. Cardiff will be a good place to hang out and chill but there are plenty of other places you can go to first.

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Certainly a weekend would be sufficient. I found the the people incredibly friendly and helpful so that’s a plus!

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'The Tube' Visitor Information Centre

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The Norwegian Church (closed when I came)

After going to the city’s main attractions I was still largely none the wiser what it means to be Welsh, what the historical events that shaped the country were and what was the impetus for devolution. Granted I was only visiting for a brief period but I would have expected to come away with some level of appreciation for the differences and uniqueness inherent in Welsh culture. Unfortunately not.

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While I was in Cardiff I stayed at the Hotel Mercure Lodge. It was reasonably priced and offered a large double bedroom with ensuite. Really the only negative is that it’s not well located.

More photos at Flickr.

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Got harrassed by some youths for taking a photo of the street on the way back from Cardiff Bay

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Cardiff seems to be rebuilding nicely after the troubles from earlier this year.

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Cardiff – Wales Millennium Centre

October 19, 2008 at 3:21 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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In Cardiff Bay is the Wales Millennium Centre. For £5.50 you can get a tour and a behind the scenes look at the building. If you’re lucky you might end up being the only one on the tour and much like the Senedd my guide was very friendly, informative and open about the centre.

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While larger and more extensive than Sydney’s Opera House the tour retains the same basic structure. First, a walk outside to look at the construction and the range of materials used (sourced from around Wales) and then inside to look at the artwork and design elements used within.

Inside you’ll be treated to a backstage look at the dressing rooms, set construction and the rehearsal spaces.

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One of the final sections is a chance to sit in the main theatre. The space was designed to enhance the audio visual experience. There are no columns in the space to restrict viewing and depending on the performance special screens can be lowered to influence the sound.

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The tour is recommended as it’s reasonably priced, only an hour and quite informative with friendly staff.

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Cardiff – Doctor Who Exhibit

October 19, 2008 at 1:04 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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A few minutes walk from Cardiff Bay is the Red Dragon Centre. In amongst the cafes, restaurants and cinema is the Doctor Who exhibit.

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For £5 you can take a relatively quick tour before being deposited in the gift shop and the exit. The exhibit features some props ad costumes from Old Who but most the prosthetics, models, aliens etc are from New Who (particularly seasons one and two).

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I assume that the exhibit couldn’t secure more floor space thus explaining the lack of quantity or diversity from all of the Who-verse. What it had was good but brief.

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At the end of it I thought “was that it?”. If you’re a fan or bored and don’t want to buy a ticket at the nearby cinema it might be worth it.

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Cardiff – Senedd – The Welsh National Assembly

October 19, 2008 at 12:46 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | 2 Comments
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The Welsh National Assembly, the Senedd (Senate) is a unique building situated on Cardiff Bay.

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Throughout the day they offer free tours. If you’re lucky you may even be the only one on the tour. My guide was happy to answer my questions about the building and Welsh politics. The building was built with the environment in mind both in terms of sustainability and the materials available in Wales used for its construction.

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The spacious atriums are  filled with natural light and with the slate floors and wooden ceilings provide a warm and pleasant atmosphere. The upper level allows you to look down on the assembly chamber. The assembly chamber itself is danker than the rest of the building. It feels contradictory given the amount of potential light to come down. A small fact the ceremonial mace was donated by the government of New South Wales, Australia as a gift on the opening of the Senedd.

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Overall the 30 minute tour was interesting from an architectural and political perspective. While the building may largely just house the assembly chamber but it also provides a focus for the nascent Welsh political system.

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