Ok, so Cardiff Castle was quite a pleasant surprise. We were thrilled to be able to leave our luggage in a locked room at the new hotel and have the whole last day (pretty much the entire day) left to explore Cardiff Castle as our flight wasn't until 8:30 that night - meaning we didn't have to LEAVE Cardiff until 6pm (the airport is an hour out of town if you can believe it!)
ah, much better.
We signed up to take the "house" tour to see more of the castle - it was VERY informative and very cool - the part of the castle with the housing in it was building in the 1700's and 1800's just about the time my ancestors were were in that area. My mom's ancestors were from Ponty-Pridd which is just north of Cardiff. And I found out from a nice lady while at the top of the Keep - that it is pronounced "Ponty- Pree" Ok, works for me. Her husband is Welsh and would ride his bike in the north gate and out the south in his youth on his way to work as it wasn't locked at that time and wasn't a tourist attraction - they would zip on through and not think twice about riding right past what we pay to see now. Very interesting....
Johns bedroom - very ornate and it's said he rarely slept here. It did have a bath and toilet at the top - so this is about 4 stories up. Engineering was pretty good to supply this in the 17/1800s
Roof top garden!
I didn't look UP when coming up the super narrow stairs... I looked up before I went down this time!
The rest of the day was eating a nice lunch at a little italian pizza place - I need to remember to give them a good rating on the site they gave me a card for :) then a bit of shopping
We also shopped at Primark - which is like a European Target. Angela was able to buy three shirts and a pair of jeans for $33 pounds - not bad for all she picked up and they were cute shirts too!
With all we did, we headed to the airport using the direct shuttle that picked up near the train station. We planned on being there at 7pm to get our flight... we were right on time. We got there knowing we were on a smaller plane and would need to check our luggage - I paid out the nose to check the luggage at the airport (MORE than our flight cost if I'm not mistaken), but it was necessary for the size plane.. then we went through security.... Security at the Cardiff airport was interesting. Very lax, and not very "directive" not that ANYTHING was easy to follow or there were many instructions in Wales... this was no exception.
We finally get through security - mind you three security folks were standing around watching a fourth take care of a little old lady in a wheelchair while folks stacked up behind us. They finally got her through on the other side and outside started to move again. Only one line, but honestly not that many folks around anyway. Ok, through security and the ONLY thing in front of is the duty free store and it looks to be self contained with NO exit. Hum... back to the hallway which is also a dead-end.... where on EARTH are we supposed to go? NO signs.... finally follow someone behind us and they went THROUGH the store and out the other side.
On that side is the waiting area with lots of seats... a bar/restaurant, snack bar, a bookstore, and a money exchange and two signs to gates. Ok... I look at the monitor on the wall and our flight is listed with NO gate... so it becomes apparent we're to wait here and not at the gate.
So we finally get our flight, we finally get on it, we get to Dublin airport at 12:30 - get our bags, get out, find our shuttle area - just missed it at 12:30 and have to wait until 1:30 am for the NEXT bus. Get that bus, get to the drop off for the hotel and it's another 1/2 mile to walk to our hotel up and over the freeway overpass... and we're tired and GRUMPY and I'm hear broken from news I got from home... and it was just a suck wind end of the trip for us at this point... we were DONE with a capital D.
The only bright spot of this super late arrival (2:30+am at this point) we were only charged for ONE night in the hotel and we fell into bed at near 3am...