Monday, 25 May 2015

CMK TRAVELS : TOP 6 THINGS TO DO IN WALES, UNITED KINGDOM

I've realized that the best time to write about your trip is right after you've done them, given the luxury of time. That way, feelings and experiences still linger as if they happened just recently. Literally :) Special thanks to Bonnie and Len for taking my picture above! You guys have no idea how many takes, dips and turns we've had to capture that scene! Ahh, the joys of traveling with friends!

United Kingdom is composed of 4 different territories, namely: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We decided to spend one weekend in Wales. I've spent my Christmas 2014 in Scotland and it's such a beautiful place. I have high hopes for Wales and indeed, it was wonderful.

One has to have a UK Visa to visit Wales. For my personal take on requirements and application, click HERE and HERE. We got there from London (Paddington Station) via First Great Western Train. It took us about 3 hours of travel. We left at 8:30 am, arrived at Cardiff Central at 11:50 am. We were seated regular class going to Wales, and first class back to London. I'd say, first class has some perks. Like spacious seats and stuff. If the price is right, who would say no to a first class upgrade?! Fee is approximately £89.00 (Php 6,200) for a round trip ticket.

OWAIN GLYNDWR
That's the thing about Welsh language, they don't have much vowels on their words. Very interesting, is it? We were so famished when we arrived and as with all travels, what's the first thing to do? FOOD TRIP! Yay! We've ordered Classic Combo (to share), fish and chips (can't go wrong with that, mate!) and Risotto plus drinks. The place speaks Victorian vintage all throughout. We've spent around £45.00 so that's £15 (Php 1,000+) for each pax. The meal and experience was worth it. The burp got me going for the next 4 hours of walking and sight-seeing!




CARDIFF CASTLE
There's an abundance of castles in Wales. And real ones! I am awed by the idea that this was a proper, working castle before. Wow! Cardiff Castle is one of the Wales' popular tourist spots. You have to pay £12.00 for a standard entrance fee. The place was HUGE! Colossal, gigantic, I'm running out of adjectives to describe it! We didn't manage to scour the entire place because our bags were waiting for us. Say whut?!

TIP: Once you arrive at Cardiff Central station, you can leave your bag at a locker within Cardiff Tourist Information Centre. Fee depends on the locker size, we've had all our bags stored for a measly £8.00. However, we were told that the place is only open up until 15:30 (3:30 pm) hence, we have to hurry of our castle adventure. 

Nonetheless, 2 hours is not too bad to pose, click and jump for the camera. We were marveled by their structure. And I am overly happy because it was bright and sunny when we visited. I can wear my blush dress!
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ST. FAGANS HISTORY MUSEUM
Friendly reminder: You can spend an entire day being a kid at St. Fagans History Museum. It's not your typical museum, it's one-of-a-kind. My favorite museum, officially! It's like a Universal Studio but your playground revolves around castles and gardens! Pictures below are just the tip of the iceberg. We've gone to a carnival, mini-market, cafe, farm and a whole lot more... get this: WITHIN the history museum.
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Here's a mini-tour of St. Fagan's Castle. You can take a peek on how the royals lived. On the old picture below, that's Lord Windsor on his mother's lap. This reminds me of President Ferdinand Marcos' home in Ilocos. It's always surreal to walk on the place where great men began.


MERMAID QUAY & BUS RIDE
Just when you thought you've seen enough, you ain't seen nothing yet! Who would've thought they have boat adventures in Wales? And prices start at £7.00! Not too bad! Only catch was, the adventure was fully booked until June (!) plus the fact that we're too pressed for time. You have to try their buses too. They say one way to immerse is to ride a place's public transportation. 
TIP: They have all-day bus tickets but in case you want to buy per ride, you can do so. Heads up that Mr. Driver will ask you for an exact fare. He doesn't give changes. Cab is pocket-friendly as well. It ranges from £5.00 approx for places within the metro.
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GHOST TOUR AND CARNIVALS
Quite a contrast, I know but try it for once! It was my first time to join a ghost tour and it turned out to be a comedy tour! I don't know if I will do any justice explaining things in narrative but in a gist, the walk was more of laughter rather than fear-fest because of mishaps here and there (insert boisterous giggle here). Seriously, I find the walk interesting. It sums up the urban legends and unsolved mysteries surrounding a place called Llandaff. We went out at 9 pm and ended the tour at 11 pm. It was cold (to think it's summer) plus I was so hungry - good thing there's a Chinese resto nearby.
Carnival, it's another laugh trip because of the mirrors that turn you into a dwarf. We were laughing so hard because we finally knew how we look like had we been midgets. Ghost tour costs £10 and magic mirror, £1. 


WELSH MARKET PLACES
Welsh culture is very rich and this fact trickles down to the variation of items they offer. From lovespoons (wooden spoon given to your special someone) to fudge (their choco-mint concoction is a piece of heaven) to pork sausages (which left me with regret because I should have hoarded 4 packs of that - perfect for Longsilog!) to artisan chocolates (Peanut butter is a sure-fire hit)... you cannot leave the place empty handed!

TIP: St. Fagans National History Museum has so many yummy treats for the public. That's where we bought our fudge, artisan chocolate and sausages. How's that for a museum? I want to teleport and come back!
WONDERFUL WALES
This is one of the places that makes you wish you can go back again and again. I thank the LORD for giving me friends and opportunities to travel. The whole journey won't be as much fun without the people you're comfortable with. Here's a special shout out to Bonnie who made all the preps and itinerary, very much appreciated! And to Len, who untiringly took pictures with her uncanny skills :)

PS: It took me nearly 2 hours to complete this post. Must be the reason why there's still a lot of CMK TRAVELS posts to prepare and publish by yours truly. That's okay, as long as we're happy with what we're doing, it doesn't feel like work, isn't it?! For now, let me say Fi Cariad Cymru (I love Wales). That's the translation, verbatim. Go figure. -CMK

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