Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Day Thirteen

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!)
 What a surprise to come out into this GRAND open area behind the walls with the lush lawns and fin cute Keep at the top of the hill!
 Oh, yeah... we're having fun now - hahaha!
 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....
 LOVE, Love, Love the goat and chicken heads on the spouts!
 I wanted to know what was behind those doors... and they were all closed - the higher ones were all cracked for ventilation and screwed in place - the hasp on the closed one is also screwed in place so you can't open it either - drat it!
 These are the zodiac signs on the ceiling of this room - if I remember right it was the men's smoking room?
 VERY ornate
 The windows were the days of the week - but there were only 6 not seven... they joked he couldn't count, but really I think Sunday was left off for the day of rest :)

 Look at those paintings and the detail!

 Tile work that Mike would appreciate in the fireplace!

 And that door - to die for!!!
 I don't know where this curved door goes, but how pretty is that?





 love these alcoves in the dining room!
 the grate work is pretty interesting - it's open to below - not sure if they had heating under there or what...





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

 flushing toilet - notice the painted bowl.  I remember seeing this in the Ann Frank house - toilets back in the day were something decorative - not what we have now with plain white bowls.




Roof top garden!
 There were some cute details on the fountain.  they have it covered with plastic to catch the rain now as there are leaks and water issues - so it's no longer running.  Maybe one day they will restore it to have water again?
 A photo of what it looked like with water and plants all over - very pretty!

 Windows with arrow slits - now seeing these and the shutters, I'm fairly certain that is what is behind the shutters we saw in the beginning.





 I didn't look UP when coming up the super narrow stairs... I looked up before I went down this time!
 nice little howling wolf at the top of the stair finial!
 These are the stairs we came up and will go back down... and instead of coming up two flights we're going down four.
 They were in serious shadows in parts and got a little hard to see coming down... made for a slow decent for me!
 check out the monkey on the top of the doorway into the library!

 theres a mouse tucked into the roots - and every where you looked in the carvings on the doors, in the brass work, in the paintings, there were always little critters hiding in there to be found.


 Loved the monkeys with the books!  Would have been cuter if they were chewing on them :)
 mice, bugs, snails, worms.. you name it, you'll see them.
 mice on the drawer.
 love the fireplace and the mantel.
This is the ceiling in the woman's drawing room - talk about over the top ornate!!

 we were super happy with the day, the adventure, the castle, the whole experience so far and decided to go to the TOP of the keep!!  Yep, the TOP!
 And this is what we could see from up there!
 And these are the scary steep stairs we had to come up and down from the very tippy top.  It didn't get much better for the duration the steps were dang close to ladder straight up/down.  but there were handles - for which I will be forever grateful for me to grip with a death grip.

 when we got done with the Keep we decided to backtrack to the tunnels that were along the outer walls of the castle grounds - they were fortified and the tunnel ran from the north entrance all the way around to the south.  I'm pretty sure they ran all the way around and into the house area, however, we weren't able to access that side of it.  It was DARK and there were spiders... which Angela hated!
 random stairs going down...to where, I have no idea...
 The far side where the windows were unblocked - much less creepy with a little natural light coming in from the north side of the castle wall.
 What you see outside those natural light windows!

 the view of the Keep from the North Gate.
 South gate, open, but look at those gates - they look serious!!

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.
 Snack bar in the background.  Monitor showing.  At some point the flight in front of ours goes delayed by HOURs.  Poor folks!!!  Then ours just drops off the screen - yep.  Gone.  With NO ONE to ask what the $%^& is going on... so I ask the gal at the bookstore as she's right there and not busy.  She confirms that we call from a little phone right there in the corner and ask them.  So I go there and someone has already called them and is asking about our flight.  Yeah, no information on why it's not on the monitor - it is delayed... no information on HOW LONG.  What???  OK, so we go down to the gate where AirLingus is loading a Dublin flight and ask if we can swap - nope, no way, no how.  Sigh.  We are stuck!!  We got a whopping 5 pounds towards food while we wait for our flight that is scheduled now for 11:45pm... yep, you read that right... almost midnight.  YIKES.
Look it's finally on the board, but note the time is 22:28 and we aren't at the gate yet - the gate isn't even listed yet.  The flight to Edinburgh didn't go before us either!!  Poor them!!!
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...

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