Thursday, May 27, 2010

27 May 2010

Cardiff, Wales was the destination for today. We got up extra early today to catch a very early train from Paddington Station, but we were treated to breakfast by Professor Wolfe who bought us all bananas, and three different kinds of croissants. After we speedily ate our breakfast, we all swiftly made our way to Paddington station from the Bakerloo line since there were closures this morning on the Circle line. After we hustled through Paddington station we were able to rest for a few moments, and get whatever else we needed (coffee, etc) but we didn't have Professor Parkhouse yet. It was at the last moment, due to closures, that Professor Parkhouse arrived at the station and made it on the train which left the station at 9 45 am. The ride was about 2 1/2 hours but it went by fast. Once we got to Cardiff Central Station, we took a walk over to Cardiff Castle where a bus tour was leaving for a 50 minute tour of the city. Since Cardiff is being revolutionized, it was interesting to see parts of history intermingling with 21st century buildings. We started off with a history of the castle and continued from there. The bus was full of people, mostly Germans. We saw different Victorian Era buildings on the tours right along side some of the more modern areas of Cardiff. One of the most modern was the Millenium Stadium, and that was the backdrop of the Cardiff Castle. We found out that Cardiff was once a great port city, with many ports and at one point a person could walk across without getting their feet wet. Now that Cardiff is re-inventing itself, there is much more going on in what was once the most desolate and fruitless parts of the city. It was also home to some Irish during the Potato Famine and now those parts have been renewed. After our exhilarating, yet slightly chilly adventure in the tour bus, we then stopped at the Castle for some lunch. Professor Wolfe, as always, got us all a wonderful lunch that filled our tummies. Following lunch, we then went on a tour of the castle. We got a private tour from our guide, David. He led us to several rooms which were constructed by William Burges but it was occupied by John Crighton-Stuart who was the 3rd Marquess of Bute. We saw the Arab Room, the Dining Room, the Garden, a bedroom with a full use tub and flushing toilet, the Drawing room, and a few other rooms which were absolutely breathtaking. The architecture and small quirks added character to each room and they were all different. There was a theme of animals all made with architecture from different parts of the world. There was one room with a Italian Cathedral theme, the ceiling was made the same way as a cathedral in Palermo Italy; the children's personal room was surrounded by fairy tale characters. Each room was unique with its own style and particular quirk. Burges had a sense of humor which made each room have a comedic flare to it. John Crighton-Stuarts bedroom, before he married, had a mirrored ceiling, and his closet was in the shape of a confessional. It was the little things in each room that brought out the uniqueness of the castle. There was one room, however; which did not have that kind of style. It was the drawing room, which remained in the Georgian style, in that it was very simple. After our wonderful tour from our spectactular guide, we then set off to walk up the 110 steps to the keep. Being that the stairs were rather narrow, and there was little room to move made us all wary of not falling any which way to our doom. Oddly enough, we came across an Elmira Alum from the Class of 1983. After the excitement, we then headed back out to the entrance where we saw Professor Parkhouse waiting for us. From there a few of us decided that we were going to head out back to the train station to catch the 3 55pm train back to London Paddington station. Today was a rather long day, but it was well worth the trip. Seeing the city being transformed and the spectacular views and rooms at the castle made today a well worth it trip.

Until tomorrow, we shall see whats in store.....

1 comment:

  1. A few of us (Rob, Carlie, Emma, Melissa, Adam, Luke and Shannon) stayed and explored Cardiff and took the 5:25 train back to London. We explored the Arcades which are the shopping lanes throughouut the city, went to the Rugby store and went to a local pub for some traditional Welsh pies. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was awesome. We met a local man who shared stories with us, which was a cool way to have some insight into the culture of Cardiff.