I tend to go to Birmingham and London to hang out with my blogger mates so it made a nice change for someone to cross the Severn and let me show off the lovely capital of Wales. I probably should have got up a little earlier rather than having a lie in because we had to cram a lot in to one day but we still managed to take in some of the main sights. I'm so glad we made the most of the sunshine last weekend when Hannah and Steve came to stay with me and Martyn because it's looking rather grey at the moment, we were very lucky with the weather. I took them to my favourite spots, for a bit of record shopping and to see some lovely architecture before the main event at night. The reason for the visit was to see the Manic Street Preachers play one of the best albums ever in its entirety but I'll get to that later on...
Cardiff is home some wonderful Victorian Arcades and indoor market. The Central Market is a Grade II Listed building and is the best place to head for some record shopping and Welsh cakes.
Welsh cakes, still warm mmm
We crammed in a whistle stop tour of Cardiff Bay just before the gates opened at the castle for the gig. It's had a huge urban regeneration project which transformed the city’s old docklands. They were originally used to ship coal out from the Valleys but are now a mixture of modern architecture and renovated historic buildings. On the eve of the First World War in 1913, coal exports reached their peak at over 13 million tonnes. At this time the international price of coal was struck in the Coal Exchange building and it was here that the worlds first £1 million pound deal was signed.
We took a look at the Senedd – the Welsh Assembly’s parliament building, the red-brick Pierhead Building and the white wooden Norwegian Church where author Roald Dahl was christened, which is now an arts centre and café.
The bay’s most recognisable building is the Millennium Centre where I've seen musicals, ballet and comedy.
The copper-coloured frontage has a poem by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis built into it which is lit up by night. Translated it means “Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration”. You might also find it familiar because lots of Doctor Who and Torchwood was filmed in this area. The bay is also home to the Doctor Who Experience
After a afternoon of sightseeing we headed to Cardiff castle to watch the Manics. The setting couldn't have been better. It was dry and sunny, in a beautiful castle and they were playing an album that's had a huge impact on me and many other fans, The Holy Bible. I'm from the same town as the Manics so it was hard for me not to grow up aware of their success and musical legacy. It was a really special night for me and hearing 10,000 people sing along to She is Suffering was a pretty odd but beautiful moment.
We went home from the gig and watched it all again because it was shown on BBC2. We got up to lots more touristy things the next day which I'm sure I'll share later this month. I've written a few posts about Cardiff and the rest of Wales which might be worth a look if you're thinking of visiting.
Have you ever been to Cardiff before?