Yes, I’m staying in the United Kingdom with today’s post, and yes, I will venture out into other parts of the world. This, however, is my obsession at the moment! I imagine that Rebecca and I will eventually take Griffin (and baby #2) on a big trip to Europe at some point. I honestly feel like I could move to the UK for a little while to get ingrained in a culture other than the U.S. (I love the States, but I just think it would be super fun to live somewhere else for a while). The trouble with that is how much Rebecca and I want want Griffin to have a great relationship with his grandparents and cousins that are all within 45 minutes of us. For now, I’ll settle for small chunks of time. Today, I’m going to be talking about Cardiff, Wales, a place that I didn’t know much about until a few months ago. During the fall of 2019, Rebecca and I decided that we really wanted to go on a long vacation. Meaning, we wanted to be away for a month or so. I don’t know what really got us to that point, but we just wanted to get away. We began looking for destinations, from South American places like Buenos Aires, to many different European places like London, Rome, Brussels, and Copenhagen. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an opportunity to do this because of normal life circumstances, but the one place that we both seemed to like while doing some research was Cardiff. It’s difficult to explain why, but Cardiff didn’t seem like the place someone would think of when planning a trip to Europe. That made it more exciting because it wasn’t really a mainstream destination. However, when comparing the costs, along with the fact that we had Griffin going with us, this seemed like a nice place to take a family. Here’s my top places I would HAVE to go to if and when we visit Cardiff!
First: Cardiff Castle.
Are you noticing the same thing I am with all these places in Europe? Castles! They’re freaking amazing! I’m so mesmerized by the history behind these castles; how old they are, who once lived here, the wars that took place around them, everything about them! The Cardiff Castle is the top rated destination in Cardiff on several websites I visited, and I couldn’t be more excited to visit when we go! From what I’ve been reading, this castle was built in the 11th century (which is insanely old in it’s own right), and the land it was built on was a 3rd century Roman fort! I’m nerding out so hard right now. I still can’t believe how much I love history compared to when I was in school. I used to dread it. Now, I can’t wait to dig deeper on a particular landmark and find out not only what, but also, who, when, and why! If you like history at all, I implore you to research this castle! Even if it’s just on Wikipedia or something like that. This castle has been through almost 1,000 years of history. It’s crazy to me how old we think people are that are 100, and all the history that they’ve been through. This place has been here for almost 10x that!
Next: Principality Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium.
I told you, I’m a sports nut! Principality is where the Welsh rugby team plays, and boy do the Welsh take rugby seriously! Also, fun fact, I had no idea that the people of Wales were referred to as Welsh until Rebecca and I researched this trip. Then we have Cardiff City Stadium, where Cardiff City FC of the English Football League Championship (one step below the top league in association football) plays its home matches. About a year ago, I would turn on the tv on Saturdays before college football would start. During that time, other than listening to previews for the day’s games, the only sport on would be rugby from the Six Nations Championship (a rugby league in which the national teams from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, England, and Italy play each other). I became fascinated because the object of the game seemed so simple, although I’m sure it’s much more complex. I really enjoyed these parts of my morning because I was able to watch something that most Americans don’t really care about unless they’re from another country. The Welsh rugby team is the current champions of the Six Nations Championship, and they have the most overall titles out of the six nations that compete. How’s that for intense?! Another thing I’d love to take in is a football/soccer match from Cardiff City FC. What would be even more amazing is to see a match between Cardiff City and Swansea City, their biggest rival located about an hour west of Cardiff, and the 2nd largest city in the country.
Last: EVERY OTHER CASTLE!
I know, this feels like a cop-out answer, but I genuinely want to visit so many of the castles in or near Cardiff. I read that Wales has the highest concentration of castled in the UK, and there are dozens of castles within an hour drive of Cardiff. How amazing! I can’t write in detail about all of the castles, but here are the ones that make my list! 1) Caerphilly Castle, built in the 1600s and only 15 minutes from Cardiff. 2) Castell Coch, built in the 1800s on a site that had originally built a castle in the 1000s, and only a 20 minutes drive from Cardiff. 3) Ogmore Castle, built in the 1100s and just over 30 minutes from Cardiff. 4) Raglan Castle, built in the 1400s and about 40 minutes from Cardiff. And lastly, 5) Chepstow Castle, one of the the oldest castles in Great Britain, built in 1067, and less than 40 minutes from Cardiff! I seriously think I could take a trip to Wales and do nothing but castle-hop the entire time. What amazing works of art and centers of history.