Travelling to two cities: Cardiff and Liverpool

On the weekend of February 18 and 19, I got a chance to go to two beautiful and historically rich coastal cities. Cardiff and Liverpool.  First comes Cardiff…

Cardiff – It is the capital of Wales. “Is Wales a state, so that it has a capital?”, I asked, while walking on one of the main streets of the city. “Hush,hush…. don’t say that,call Wales a state, locals won’t be happy to hear that, they consider it a country!”, replied Rebekah, my friend from London and one of my fellow travellers. As I mentioned before she is studying Spanish and Italian in University of Birmingham. I was amazed that the Welsh people still consider it a separate country, I mean it used to be, but as far as I know it is a part of U.K. Whether a country or not, Wales is in U.K. and is magnificent, with it it’s own language called Welsh.

So Rebekah, her friend Vanessa from Peru, who is an international student studying history of arts and myself made a plan to travel to Cardiff during the reading week, it is a week long holiday which you get to do some reading assignments, maybe relax and travel as well. While trying some Indian street food in a small restaurant in Halls green area of Birmingham, a little bit off the main grid of the city, I mean nothing special about this area, just mentioning the name since I remember the name, hahaha, we pulled in my flat mate Vlad, who is from Romania, for the trip. He is an international student who is studying Physics and plans to take a Bachelor’s degree from University of Birmingham. That’s what I love about studying abroad, how diverse your group can be. We were four people from different countries and cultural backgrounds and travelling together, really exciting!

IMG_2386_LI
After desserts at the restaurant

We took a train to Cardiff from Birmingham new street station on the Saturday morning and after getting off we headed straight towards the National Museum Cardiff. The museum was interesting with a huge electronic painting of an imaginary city, with a background changing into day and night and voice over by the artist himself, explaining the meaning of the painting. This was one of my favourites of the two paintings I found in the museum. The other was the famous French painting of “lady in blue”, it was truly gorgeous. I remember myself dragging and showing my friends the painting, because how beautiful it was and then being laughed at my amusement, because they had all read about it and seen its image in their high school books. I still wonder why I never happened to read about it.

IMG_2418
Vlad and me, in the train
IMG_2423
The train we took to Cardiff
IMG_2428
A main street in Cardiff

IMG_2433

IMG_2438
National Museum Cardiff

Anyways, we got out of the museum and strolling around the city we found ourselves trying to search some restaurants because it was lunch time. Finally we found a pizza hut. for all the people reading this and thinking you go all the way to Cardiff and eat at pizza hut, instead of trying some Welsh food, no I am not joking, there is a big reason why we chose to eat there. Pizza hut in U.K. offers buffet for lunch for just 7 pounds which is like $8.5 or something similar. Not a bad deal at all.

IMG_2440

After the lunch we moved on to the castle, we took an audio guide for each of us as it was free with the tickets.

IMG_2439
Cardiff Castle

I was quite excited to see the catapult kept on the campus of the castle, although I discovered it was not from medieval times but just created for some old movies.

IMG_2460

We climbed on top of the tower and after that went inside the big mansion looking part of the castle.

IMG_2463
The tower

IMG_2457IMG_2479IMG_2481

IMG_2482
At the top of the tower

IMG_2488

What I found grand inside the mansion was the Arab room and the library. The Arab room was all made of marble and gold, really stunning. Have a look for yourself:

IMG_2465
Mansion part of the castle

IMG_2476

IMG_2491
The ceiling of Arab room

IMG_2493

The library had books in five different languages and the collection had copies of books, thousands of years old, owned by the rulers of the time but still kept preserved.

IMG_2503
The five famous people representing five countries from where the languages are
IMG_2508
Oh, the humiliation we faced inside the castle!!

IMG_2514

We went to a souvenir shop after coming out of the castle. I got a tea towel for my mum. I was curious if the shopkeeper knew to speak Welsh, so I asked her and she did! I asked her the meaning of the word ‘cwtch’, it was written on some of the shop items. She told me it is pronounced ‘cutch’ and means to cuddle.

Next we moved on towards the bay area of Cardiff. It was relaxing to see the sea at the end of the day. There were some nice bars. The evening view was really mesmerising, it felt as if the sky and water were trying to immerse in each other. We went into one of the bars and relaxed for a while before heading off to the station to catch the train back to Birmingham. My friends could sleep till late if they wanted to, the next day, but I had a bus to catch for Liverpool early in the morning.

IMG_2533
The auditorium of Cardiff

IMG_2535

IMG_2538

IMG_2541
Cardiff bay – This view was really mesmerising.

IMG_2552IMG_2555IMG_2557IMG_2558

IMG_2559
I got a tea for myself, with milk in that small bottle, haha

Liverpool– It is my favourite city straight away, of all the cities I have seen s far. I had bought a ticket for an organised tour, I would say it was somewhat like a tour because once we got to Liverpool they told us that we can wander around on our own and come back by seven in the evening. I went to the Walker Art gallery first. It had unique exhibition related to the things of daily use from 16th to 18th century like tea sets, drinking glasses, combs, mirrors, etc. There were some famous paintings of the English rulers from 16th to 18th century, also some artistic sculptures.

IMG_2573IMG_2575

IMG_2583
Walker art gallery

IMG_2584

IMG_2600
World museum

Next I moved on to the world museum very near to the art gallery. The museum was more for children, but I liked the dinosaur section. I walked through the city’s main market to reach the dock area where the museum of Liverpool was but unfortunately it was closed as it was under reconstruction. I saw the building of the Cunard shipping company, rival to the White star lines, the company that built the Titanic.

IMG_2609IMG_2620IMG_2629

IMG_2640
office of the Cunard shipping company
IMG_2643
Museum of Liverpool

IMG_2649

Now comes the most exciting part and what makes Liverpool my favourite city – the Albert dock. The place where international slavery museum and Titanic museum are, not to forget the Beatles exhibition, as the beetles were from Liverpool. International slavery is one of a kind museum in the world, there isn’t any other museum like this in the world. It tells the history of slavery, how it began, it’s consequences and how it ended and also how Liverpool was the most important centre of this horrendous trade. I still get goosebumps thinking that I was right at the dock where several slave ships were built and used to come and go.

IMG_2655

IMG_2657
Albert Dock
IMG_2658
International slavery museum and Titanic museum
IMG_2668
Entrance to the Beatles exhibition

Next was the Titanic museum. Titanic was brought to Liverpool after being constructed in Belfast. It was brought here so that fittings inside the Titanic could be completed. Liverpool was at it’s height of trade for timber among other things during that time, hence this. It was a big trade centre for timber and other raw materials, for a long time before Titanic being built there, that’s why a lot of ships were built there. After going through the titanic museum I felt excited, thinking one of  the most powerful and grand ships of that time was right here at this dock.

IMG_2683
Albert Dock in the night

IMG_2685

I wanted to go to the Beatles exhibition but it was already five by the time I got out of the Titanic museum, and it was closed. I bought some postcards to send to my friends and family from a souvenir shop and started walking back towards where the bus was.

I would highly recommend making a trip to these two cities when in U.K.! I hope my post makes encourages you to!

Cheers!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s