As I begin this post, I am on the terrace deck at the hotel, sipping a Chardonnay and thrilling to the fact I am off my feet. We arrived at the infamous Cheese Festival around 11:00 AM. A drizzling rain was falling, which allowed me to wear Sandra’s fabulous rain cloak with hood. I felt very dramatic as we walked the Cardiff Castle grounds, cloak billowing in the breeze. We were one of the few who braved the weather, and were greeted immediately by a young man at the cheese tossing area who asked where we were from. Apparently Sandy’s “Hello!” was a dead giveaway that we are not locals. He tried to entice us to toss a large block of cheese to each other. This is performed by one person taking a giant step backward after each successful toss and catch, and repeating the process. Luckily, we had enough sense about us to refuse on the grounds we were each afraid our competitive natures would lead us to potentially render the other unconscious or with a broken nose from an overexhuberant toss.
We did watch others, though…
The jokes of the day? “Stay Stilton!!” and “I Camembert the pressure.” (Jokes courtesy of the cheese toss referee.) Got complaints? Talk to him.
We visited the museum, then purchased our tickets for the castle tour. Premium, baby. Your own tour guide and all. He was a charming older gentleman who could climb the 51 steps to the chamber level of the castle far easier than I. Sandy has taken some great pictures, again, but I took a few with my phone. Items of interest? The castle had central heat in the late 1800s. And, it is still working today.
These were taken in the dining hall. Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Nelson Mandela have all dined in this room.
We also climbed to the keep, which was amazing, and spotted the peregrine falcon perches in the distance. Note to self: add “Falcon” to Christmas list this year.
And of course, what’s a Cheese Festival without cheese? It’s just a festival, that’s what.
We sampled cheese until we couldn’t stand it anymore. I had visions of trying to sneak a ten pound block of cheese on the plane in a baby blanket, like the episode of I Love Lucy, when Lucy and Ethel have to try to eat the entire cheese before they get charged for another ticket.
We resisted the urge. However, we will be googling and ordering cheese upon our arrival back home.
A couple of bands played as well, but our favorite was the Severed Limbs. (I am not making that up.)
The sun came out this afternoon and everyone lit up with smiles. It was warm and absolutely perfect. Apparently we have brought some Texas warmth here, and temps are expected to continue into the mid and even upper 20s C.
Tonight, we enjoyed a steak, red wine and bacon pie at a nearby pub. Tomorrow,we attempt to be our own tour guides and find some ruins to visit. Caerleon, here we come!
Bad news last night: Our tour of Romans & Ruins was canceled. We will regroup and arrange to see those places on our own now. Plan B was to attend the Cheese Festival. We decided to skip to the previously non-existent Plan C, due to the chance of rain today. Plan C turned out to be AWESOME. And by awesome I mean it involved more yummy food, a pint, and a freezing cold and windy ride across the viaduct which resulted in that panicky kind of hysterical laughter that happens when you think you are going to turn to ice and break into a million pieces. Sigh. Good times.
First, we walked over to Cardiff Castle, where we realized we better be on queue first thing in the morning, as the Cheesefest is POPULAR.
There, we boarded a tour bus headed for interesting sights around Cardiff.
Click HERE for Sandy’s intro.
It was a hop on-hop off type tour, so we did just so at the Millennium Centre. Sandy took a jillion pictures, which is great, because I took approximately 6. With my phone. I figure hers are better because 1, they were taken with a REAL camera, and 2, it’s impossible to be a worse photographer than I.
We wandered about Cardiff Bay, where we found a carousel…
Please click CAROUSEL to view the Cardiff Bay video.
Lunch was rarebit – bread, cheese with ale sauce, plus a pint at Brains.
We walked around Millennium Centre’s gift shop where I came perilously close to purchasing this book. Warning: Best title EVER.
Then, we visited Cathays Park where we saw some amazing wildlife. Making no sudden movements while stealthily tracking them, Sandy was able to snap this pic of the seldom seen “Flamboyant Trio.” (Or as Sandy calls them, Harry Potter gone bad.)
We ate a subdued dinner since we were – Whoop whoop! It’s the word of the day: KNACKERED. (Very tired, exhausted.)
However, I was not too knackered to try for a quick photo of one of the lovely freshers strolling (stumbling) around in the rain. However, it is not as easy as one might think to look “not guilty” while trying to take a photo with which to mock someone. So, this was the best I could get tonight. I have a few more nights to try again.
Tomorrow, the Cheese Fest. Really. That is Plan A, B and C. Stay tuned. EyeonWales tells us it’s brilliant, and we can’t wait!
OMG! There’s cheese tossing!