Castles and Doctor Who in Cardiff, Wales – England & Wales trip part VII

You say Cardiff, I think Doctor Who.

Cardiff is a city in southern Wales and is notable for several things. Including being the site of filming for Doctor Who.

Don’t worry, I didn’t go there solely just to stalk Matt Smith, because I know that’s what you’re worried about. Originally I was just going to Cardiff to sleep there overnight in between trains, but I changed my journey slightly due to exhaustion and so ended up staying there a whole day.

When I arrived in Cardiff, the day was sunny and warm. I walked to my hostel with few problems because I actually found street signs (it’s like seeing a unicorn!), checked in (the guy in reception was super cute), and then dropped my stuff off in my room.

Well, most of it anyways. The hostel had lockers but unfortunately they were too small to hold my computer. I toyed with the idea of simply locking my computer into my backpack and hiding it under the bed, but I decided it would be far safer off if it came with me.

Boo for hauling around computers all day, but yay for still having it today.

As soon as I struck out from the hostel, the wind picked up, it grew quite cold, and it started to rain.

This kind of stuff happens to me all the time. Mother Nature just likes to spite me, I think.

I just wandered without aim, as I like to do, and soon came upon Millennium Stadium. You’ll be hearing that name again since it is one of the sites for the Olympics. Now you can brag to all your friends that you know where it is and heard of it before the Olympics began.

Afterwards I wandered over to Cardiff Castle, which is a castle quite literally just randomly in the middle of the city. Gotta love Europe.

I spent a few hours wandering around the castle and learning about its history. The castle was initially built by Romans as a fort, but it was destroyed and then rebuilt by the Normans. Its reconstruction was thought to be done by William the Conqueror. In more recent times, the castle was important in World War II as a wartime shelter. Many people huddled in the castle’s walls for shelter, believing that the study stone walls would provide more protection than their homes. Numerous changes have been made to the castle throughout history—in the picture to the right, you can see a wall of stones. This is all that remains of a high wall that stretched from the castle walls to the keep.

In the picture to the left you can see the keep, which sits on top of a motte, a grassy hill. A moat surrounds the motte.

Speaking of moats, a moat used to surround the Tower of London. The moat was fed by the River Thames and in its beginning was cleaned every day. Even with the cleaning, it soon turned into a cesspool, filled with garbage and human waste.

Okay, back to Cardiff Castle. Sorry for the random jump back to London.

To the right you can see a picture taken from inside the keep. A building used to stand on the grassy area—historians know this because of all the holes in the keep’s wall. The holes used to hold poles that would connect the wall to the building in the center. There’s also a triangular-shaped hole in the wall, in the left of the picture. This was believed to have been a spot for a fireplace.

People actually lived in the keep, which is a little hard for me to believe because the rooms were so tiny. But, they did, and to the left you can see a picture of a toilet. It’s just a hole in the wall that charmingly opens onto the motte below.

It’s stuff like that that makes me glad I live in the times I do.

I climbed all the way to the top of the keep, which was actually a little difficult. There are many stairs to take to the top, and most of them are incredibly steep. Plus you have to navigate circular staircases with stairs that are too narrow even for my feet, which means that you end up putting your camera away to prevent its death and you grip the handrail as if your life depends on it when walking back down the steps.

After surviving my trip up to the top of the keep, I went inside another part of the castle. This part of the castle is from more modern times, I believe the 1800s. The rooms were stunning, as you can see by the pictures. The decoration was exquisite, and I could have spent hours reading in the library.

Coming out of the castle, I witnessed something that made me extremely angry and cause me to lose hope that people aren’t all idiots. A man was walking into the castle, smoking.

Excuse me. Just, excuse me. Let’s think about this for a minute here. Do you SERIOUSLY think that you’re going to walk into a beautiful, preserved 19th century castle and smoke?!

Yes, by all means, do so. It’s not like your cigarette smoke is going to ruin the castle, or like the castle’s important or anything.

Also not to mention the fact that there’s a sign right in front of the castle door that says you can’t smoke inside the castle.

Luckily for me there was a security guard walking past right at that moment who told the guy he couldn’t smoke inside the castle, otherwise I probably would have started yelling at the man.

Some people are so stupid that it’s infuriating.

After leaving Cardiff Castle, I walked over to Cardiff City Hall and then strolled through the Gorsedd Gardens. I was then planning on walking to Cardiff Bay and over to the BBC filming area, but unfortunately the Bay was quite a long walk away and my ankles were protesting quite loudly. In addition, there was no hope of potentially glimpsing Matt Smith since it was Easter and I figured he would probably be given the day off.

Sad. Maybe some other day, though.

I putzed around the hostel that night, met a Scottish guy (HIS ACCENT, OH MY GOODNESS), and went to bed, expecting a good night’s sleep.

Little did I know that I would be sleeping in the same room as a woman who holds the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s loudest snorer.

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2 responses to “Castles and Doctor Who in Cardiff, Wales – England & Wales trip part VII

    • Thank you for visiting, and thanks for your kind comment! I think Cardiff is definitely worth a visit–Cardiff Castle was very interesting, and there are more things to see near the bay area, which I didn’t visit. Plus, the Doctor Who Experience is opening in Cardiff this summer. That alone makes it worth a visit in my book 😉

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