Picture of the Week

10 September 2013

Week 35: Wales with Monica

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:12

I spent most of the week in Wales, accompanying my daughter while she re-sat some exams at the university and moved into the house where she will live next year.

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Sunday night was the last evening together for our little family. Monday morning Monica and I were going to fly to Bristol, and during our absence, Moses was going to fly off to California where he was starting his new job after Labor Day. So Sunday night was it. Among other things, we celebrated with some good food and drink. Here is Moses serving one of his favourite Belgian beers, Kwak:
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Monica likes the fruity beers like Mort Subite. These two children (who are no longer children) are my pride and joy:
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Monday morning, tearful goodbyes were said in Alicante airport, and Monica and I flew to Bristol, rented a car and drove to Cardiff. Along the way, we stopped just beyond the Clifton suspension bridge to have a look at the Avon river gorge. If you look closely, you will see a climber up there:
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Here is a better view of that climber:
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But I liked the climber’s assistant on the ground:
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Then we drove to Cardiff, and installed ourselves in the Future Inn in Cardiff Bay, our home for the next seven nights. Cardiff Bay used to be called Tiger Bay and had become rather seedy, like many waterfronts elsewhere. But in recent years it has been revitalised, and especially when the weather is nice, it is a wonderful place to be.

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Next to our hotel was the Red Dragon Centre, a large restaurant and entertainment complex (including a gym which I joined for the grand sum of 15 pounds for the week). The day we arrived, an animal charity had a display of rescued birds of prey outside the centre:
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Close-up of one of the critters, watching me attentively:
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I really enjoyed the sights of Cardiff Bay that Monday afternoon. It was a bank holiday, the weather was great, and it seemed that half of the population of Cardiff was at the Bay:
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There were stalls selling various foods. I enjoyed a generous serving of bigos and beer from a Polish stand, but this seller of Dutch pannenkoeken was more photogenic:
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Monica and I finished the day with dinner at Wagamama in Cardiff Bay. This set the pattern for the rest of the week; we ate our way through Cardiff:
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The next morning Monica wanted me to take her to Rihdi’s Beauty, a place in an ethnic neighbourhood near the main train station where she could have some torture done on her eyebrows for 5 pounds:
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Across the street there was a particular kind of shop, and this woman with a little dog waiting outside. I wondered whether her husband was inside buying toys for the evening:
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Back in Cardiff Bay. This is the seat of the Welsh Assembly, the devolved parliament of Wales (which, frankly, does not decide on anything of importance, as opposed to its Scottish counterpart):
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And this is the Wales Millennium Centre, an incredibly impressive concert hall and cultural centre. I just never get tired of looking at this building:
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The next day I walked across the Cardiff Bay Barrage, a sort of causeway connecting Cardiff Bay with Penarth. I spotted this amusing sign in a boatyard:
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The Barrage is a wonderful recreation area. I resolved to rent bicycles and go cycling there with my daughter later in the week:
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Waiting or maybe just relaxing:
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One of the pleasant aspects of this trip were the many delicious and low-cost meals we had, most of them vegetarian or vegan. Possibly the best was at the lunch at the Vegetarian Food Studio, an Indian restaurant on Penarth Road. This spread was £6.50 if I remember correctly, and it was so filling that we skipped dinner that evening:
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The next day lunch was at the New York Deli in the High Street Arcade in the centre. This place makes excellent hoagies and burgers, including veggie versions of both. I don’t know if the people in the picture behind the cash registers are the owners:
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Lunch at the New York Deli:
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Monica, like any 19 year old girl, spent a lot of time talking on her phone:
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…Or texting on her phone:
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We also visited the neighbourhood, Roath, where Monica will live this academic year. This hairdresser’s sign on City Road is typical of the area. I do not think there is any sign on City Road that is just in English. This is one of the things that makes the place so attractive:
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On Saturday we drove the 70 miles to Carmarthen so I could meet Monica’s boyfriend and see the town. There was a vegan festival in the centre:
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More vegan vendors:
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Peace, veganism and the Welsh dragon:
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Carmarthen is on the River Towy. A few miles to the south, the river runs into the sea at the village of Llansteffan. On this Saturday afternoon, the beach was quite deserted:
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Monica and Shaun and tracks in the sand:
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Back in Carmarthen, an American-style muscle car in the car park:
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Then we drove back to Cardiff. More Wales pictures can be seen here.

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