This was our first time to Wales and thoroughly enjoyed it. We got a late start from Bath but the drive is pretty quick and straightforward. Going over the Severn is a highlite in itself. The only hang up was construction (and more construction to come!). We found our way to Mercure Lodge hotel. You can see my review there. I was a bit disappointed, but had chose it for rate,free parking and it's proximity to both bay and city center. On those criteria alone it served it's purpose.
We checked in and walked to City center. It's bit dodgy running across the roundabouts off Bute beacuse people fly, but only about an 8 min. walk to center.
From the edge of the center where the new St David's shopping center is being built there was construction everywhere! Certainly looks like Cardiff is a city on the up! I know the Ryder cup is coming there next year and when it came to my city it was construction madness also. We spent the afternoon just wandering the streets and old arcades which are beautiful. Good thing they are covered also because there was a pelting down rain in the afternoon. We walked up and around Cardiff Castle. I was very disappointe we did not get a chance to do the tour but hubby had caught a bug (prob on the plane) and was not feeling well. So no Brains for us either! :-( Took him back and put him to bed to be ready for our next days touring.
We set out early and drove up to Caerphilly Castle which is beautiful. It's funny how such ancient sites are smack in the middle of so many towns in the UK and people get to walk by everyday on their way to work. It was a beautiful day after the rain and it seemed alot of residents were taking advantage of the park for lunch. We were fascinated by the weapons and how difficult it appeared to be to take a castle. I learned that alot of time the opposing army would just send slaves to pic away at the foudnations in hope of bringing down the walls! What a job! I guess the easist way was simply to starve the residents out, thus avoiding getting a boulder off your head.
We drove on the 470 up to the A40 thru the Brecon Beacons and the vistas along the road are simply stunning. We stopped for a couple of walking trails and wished we had more time to explore. We made our way finally to Abergavenny for late lunch. I'm sorry I failed to note the name of the restaurant but it was inside the downtown market. It is a lovely town and the graveyard in the center is fascinating.
Made it back to the hotel in the dark and headed to the Bay for a walk around and late dinner. It was jammed with people despite it being past summer holidays. We just stopped in a pizza restaurant as they had the shortest wait. Looked like lots of stags and hens. Parking was cheap and we ended up just sitting on the bay enjoying the night breeze and watching all partiers going by.
We would definitely come back to Wales in hopes of seeing more of the country. It's naturalally beautiful place and everyone we met was friendly and helpful.
Also thanks to Cardiff Jim for answering my questions and giving me driving route. It was superb!