My first trip into Wales would not have been complete without spending some time exploring the capital but what was obvious from the get-go is that this IS NOT a city built for tourists. On first impression, I felt as though I had landed in suburbia instead of the city center where all the action should be. Granted, a little thing called the internet had told me that this was a small city but the hype it gave about areas such as Cardiff Bay had left me utterly disappointed as everything seemed more spaced out and disjointed than I had expected. Thankfully, my long-lost Welsh friend soon came to the rescue as she zipped us around in her little car and showed off her city with pride and gusto as we guzzled down gallons and gallons of tea.
It was a privilege not only to have a local escort us around town for the weekend but also to help us plan what we should see. Before departing for this trip, there was no game plan but before long one started to vaguely form as we drank more tea and plotted were we’d be getting our food-on for the rest of the weekend. I could go into boring detail of tea rooms, outdoor museums, shopping, Welsh cakes, assorted pub food, and the typical things people do in Cardiff but one of the things that I enjoyed the most was taking some time out from eating our faces off and visiting the fairy-tale castle known as Castell Coch aka Red Castle.
We were all under the impression that this castle was one that the Victorians built to resemble a Medieval castle but we soon found out that we were all mistaken as this was a restoration project undertaken in the Victorian era. From the outside, this looked like a Medieval castle but from the inside it was clear that the Victorian stamp of approval could be seen everywhere. Going from room to room, the Victorian opulence was evident and it was weird seeing the Victorian take and fascination with the Middle Ages. But it was this opulence that had us hooked as we tried to figure out what was actually medieval versus what the Victorian’s believed it to be.
It didn’t take us very long to make our way through the entire castle and before long we were buckled up and eating a little treat in the car as we made our way to our next stop of the day. In true Welsh weather form, we were hit with rain, sun, and everything else in-between as we toured the castle and beyond but I thought that Castell Coch was a nice place to hit up that got us out of the hustle and bustle they call city life in Cardiff and showed me a side of Wales that I was more than delighted to explore.