The best way to get to know a city, is to get lost. Fact. I did precisely that this morning on my way to the National Museum where I was supposed to meet the tour I was going on. The museum is located in this area of the city (behind the castle) known as Cathays Park, where everything looks the same - these big stately Edwardian buildings that are all some way or other important situated around gardens. Coming through a the tunnel from the city centre, I turned left instead of right and so promptly got lost amongst these buildings. After doing a loop of them all (and Alexandra Gardens, which has a gorgeous war memorial), I finally found the gallery - but alas I was by then twenty minutes late for my tour. So there went that idea!
To be fair, my lateness could have been avoided if I had actually gotten up at a reasonable time instead of merely thinking about it as I would then have had more than ten minutes to get there. But now I know precisely where it is and I will be able to get there, no problems, tomorrow morning for the other tour! Try again, as they say.
Anyway, regardless (or rather because) of that mishap, I have had a fantastic day. After realising the tour was now a dream, I wandered down to trusty Tesco (where I also found an ATM - I have since found another thousand, turns out I'm just blind) to get something for breakfast since the thought of something heavy was very off-putting. Only after acquiring my yogurt (and diet coke, which I would have been willing to kill for) did I realise I had no spoon...so imagine me if you will sitting in the Gorsedd Gardens eating yogurt with one half of a twix bar. You'd be surprised, it worked quite well. Though I may now be responsible for a cultural perception that all crazy aussies do this. Aaaaanyway, I went back to the museum which is just brilliant (and free!) It has one of the biggest collections of impressionist art outside of Paris, and it's just a great space. A lot of the collection is on tour in the US at the moment, but there's still an impressive range there. I love impressionism and was quite thrilled to get the chance to gape at Monet's Twilight, Venice which I just adore. More impressively, it all came from a pair of sisters who bequeathed it to the museum in the sixties. Can you imagine owning all these masterpieces, just having them in your house? There are ginormous Rodin statues as well, it just blows my mind that someone could own these things. At the moment they've got a live video feed set up on the ground floor so you can see the peregrine falcon nest in the City Hall clock tower - so cute.
I wasted a lot of time here, then I hopped back on the tour bus I took yesterday (yay for 24-hour tickets!) and headed down to the Bay. I spent about two hours here, trying desperately not to run around gleeing like a tool. I settled for grinning like a fool at things nobody else would have found even remotely interesting. I had an ice cream at the exact same spot Gwen and Rhys did in 'Meat' and then had to resist the urge to run screaming towards the tower begging Torchwood to save me when a bee landed on my hand. I hate bees, they freak me out. The fact that I managed to remain calm in this situation is just testament to my strength of will. Also my incredibly good mood. And it looked like quite a friendly bee. It did put me off the rest of my ice cream though, and I quickly tossed it and moved far, far away. I wandered round the boardwalk, Starbucks in hand, and revelled in the lunch-time crowd. I stumbled down to the "tourist office" entrance and I must admit, I am surprised that the memorial is still there - and bigger. Some of them are quite new, it's all still in good condition. It's almost been a year you know, I'm supportive of my fellow fans' determination. The locals don't even seem to notice it anymore, though many a tourist stopped there looking a bit perplexed. I found it amusing. I crossed Roald Dahl plass, did not stand on the water fountain, and took ten bazillion photos of the Millennium Centre which I am just obsessed with.
Back on the tourist bus, I headed back into the city and checked out Cardiff Castle. I love castles, even though they are all essentially the same. The main house has the most brilliant ceilings and a gorgeous library. If anyone passed me as I was walking along the wall, they would have heard me muttering about "needing to find a box" I could barely see over it!
Having thoroughly entertained my inner tourist, I wandered about some of the many arcades and called in to Tescos again to stock on junk food as I now need to do some uni work. Which is why I'm here, blogging, clearly. Procrastination is the same overseas as it is at home! I want to finish it at a decent time so I can go down to the Bay again for dinner, but I don't think it's going to happen.
My overall impression from my wandering about the city is that it's virtually a combination of Sydney and Melbourne. It has all the lovely arcades, cafes and bars that Melbourne is so proud of, without the annoying artsy attitude and trams of doom, but it has that waterfront charm and laid-back sense that I adore so much of the Sydney harbour area. It's significantly smaller than both those cities, but I kind of like that.
Oh, I must commend everyone here in the Northern Hemisphere as you are all clearly made of stronger stuff than I am. I have seen girls in summer dresses today, people in shorts, guys have been wandering about without their shirts on - now it's a gorgeous sunny day, but I'll eat my converse if its warmer than 24. I've had my jacket on all day, and I even had to button it up down at the Bay cause it's so damn windy. One very summery thing though, hayfever. I'm having an epic attack as I type *head explodes from sneezing*
Anyway, conclusion, I love it here, I may just move.
Music: The weakest link...don't know where the soccer went