Today the route of the tour bus took us into Wales three times before we ended up at our final destination of Cardiff.
After leaving Liverpool, we entered Wales briefly only to to cross back into England shortly after. We stopped at an adorable medieval English market town called Ludlow. Its narrow shop-ridden cobbled streets wind uphill to where a medieval castle sits perched atop a hill. A farmers market occupied an open space just beneath the walkway leading up to the castle. I stopped at a cafe, had a latte and listened to the locals speak. Each region we’ve been to in England has its own distinct dialect. Ludlow’s is definitely more refined than Liverpool’s “Scouse” accent. The weather was beautiful in Ludlow –not too cool and lots of sunshine.
After leaving Ludlow, we crossed into Wales briefly only to cross back into England for about twenty minutes before crossing back into Wales for the last time. Lunch was at this cute little pub directly across from the Tintern Abbey, the ruins of a 12th century cistercian monastery. It was gloomy and looked like it might start pouring any minute. The dark clouds were the perfect backdrop for this gothic monument. The UK is full of abbey ruins thanks to King Henry VIII’s “dissolution of the monasteries”.
After Tintern Abbey, we rode into Cardiff. The tour bus took a roundabout course so that we could get a panoramic view of Cardiff Bay. Peter took us through the city and talked about its history and pointed out landmarks. (I saw the clock tower from Torchwood!) It was cloudy in Cardiff and at this point we were losing the sun, so Peter took us to the Cardiff Castle so we could take pictures before nightfall.
We were then taken to our hotel where I took a bath and relaxed for a while before getting ready for dinner at the Cardiff Castle for a “traditional Welsh evening” which was a cultural fusion of musical theatre and audience engagement. The performers were top notch and I appreciated the experience a lot more than I expected to.
The hotel is in the center of Cardiff and each room offers a unique view of the city. Here is the view from my room around dusk.
Cardiff is an energetic city and I would love to see more of it. Unfortunately, today was a long day and tomorrow is an early morning departure. First, Bath and then Stonehenge and at long last, London, a city I have wanted to visit since I was a teenager. Only two more days of the Best of Britain tour from CIE Tours.