in the Land of Sheep – Part 1/3

16Nov09

Originally written on November 16, 2009

Hello!

The fortunate thing about taking charter flights is their low price. The unfortunate thing is that they can delay one’s flight for HOURS without a good reason. Hence, here I am at Gatwick airport in London completely exhausted, waiting extra time for my flight back home. This is my daily rant! 🙂

My last email ended with me being on a train and heading from London to Cardiff while looking at the English green pastures full of sheep. Ironically, although I stayed for a couple of days in agricultural Wales surrounded by sheep, I didn’t taste any lamb over there. Hehe…

Wales

Cardiff Castle, Wales

Cardiff, the capital of Wales, would be worth a one day visit. It’s a smaller city with a nice little castle and a fortress. Luckily, the weather was relatively good at the beginning of the trip, so I did a lot of walking.

Golden Ceiling of the Arab Room in the Cadriff Castle, Wales

The Welsh are very proud of their heritage, and one shouldn’t offend them by calling them English. Although all the signs are posted in both English and Welsh, barely anyone speaks Welsh anymore. To me, it sounded like Hebrew. Hehe…

Wales Millennium Centre, Cadriff

On November 5th there is a holiday in the UK called Guy Fawkes Night. It commemorates Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament in 1605. Thus, on this night and for several upcoming nights, British display fantastic fireworks. A bunch of us went to my sister’s roommate J.’s house from where we watched the fireworks on the coast overlooking the Bristol Chanel. It was quite a fun night, and a pleasure to meet her mother who’s the second most important political figure in Wales (think of the provincial Deputy Premier). Most of J.’s friends seem to be afraid and quite reserved in front of her mother. Yet to me, she seemed like an ordinary lady with a strong authoritative presence. LOL

Since there was not much to see and do in Cardiff, I headed back to England for a quick tour of nearby Bath and Bristol.

– England

Bath is the most beautiful English town I have ever visited. Architecturally I could call it Florence in the Georgian instead of the Renaissance style. Due to the sand coloured stones and bricks that were used to build the city, Bath maintains certain rustic gold colour appearance even on the rainy days.

Bath, England

The Romans built a bath (hence the town name) around the hot water spring dedicated to the goddess Minerva. It was considered to be a sacred place due to the miraculous water temperature of 46C. To walk around such a preserved Roman building and the best preserved Roman bath in the world leaves one in awe with the ancient technology and plumbing which more than 2000 years ago allowed them to build something that could be still used in the present days. Since I was in Bath during the low tourist season, it was wonderful to wander around the ancient complex without seeing hordes of tourists.

Roman Baths, Bath

The best treat of the day and a dream come true was going to “Jamie’s Italian” restaurant. The restaurant, itself, is designed in a style that very much reflects the image of Jamie Oliver, himself – somewhat rustic, yet contemporary, simple and efficient. It was over there that I had the BEST chocolate brownie ever – perfectly warm, crusty on the outside and incredibly rich and creamy inside. It came with sprinkled raspberries and bourbon vanilla ice cream tasting like a piece of heaven. No wonder the dessert was high in demand in the restaurant.

Since I’m already writing about food, I need to mention how awful the British diet is. Sure, the British cuisine has never been considered magnificent, but people eat chips (so called crisps) and French fries (so called chips to add to the confusion) with EVERYTHING (e.g. buns stuffed with French fries?!?! HELLO, what happened to the burger!?!?).

Bristol Cathedral at Night

My short stay in Wales was enough for me. As my sister and I were driven to the Bristol airport to board the flight to Prague, I saw yet again sheep right next to the terminal. One seems to always be reminded of their presence one way or another.

…to be continued.

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