Thursday, September 25, 2014
Cardiff and Bristol
The next day I thanked Julia and Jürgen for their incredible hospitality and for all the fun we had had. I packed, we said our goodbyes and promised to meet up again sometime during the rest of my trip. I was off again. Next destination: Cardiff. One of my friends from university has been doing his postgraduate studies there for the last few years. Friend, actually is an understatement. When I started university, he and another two physics student, who were all about to graduate, adopted me like a little sister, so to be figuratively correct, I was going to see my big brother. I got there a little later than planned, but all good. Javier was there waiting for me and after a hug and our many remarks of how different we looked, we walked to his place. After we had caught up on our lives and plans and reminiscing about the old times when I would spend my afternoons at his place in Merida watching movies and eating pizza, I convinced him to watch my favorite 'terror' movie:
The Conjuring. After the movie and a feeble attempt at trying to scare him a bit to no real effect, I was pooped and it was time to get off to sleep. The next day Javier took me out for a traditional English breakfast which was huge, and I actually liked it. I love eggs for breakfast. After that he had to work a bit so I ventured through the city. First the cemetery, then downtown, past the castle, into a park and I found myself a boat ride that would take me to Cardiff Bay. The ride was nice and quiet, and once in the bay I was presented with an assortment of modern and old fashion buildings. I had no idea that Roald Dahl was from Cardiff, but here was a 'Plass' in his name. I walked through it and went to the Wales Millennium Center where there was a performance of professional dancers accompanied by dancers with down syndrome.
It was very well done with choreography and improvisations. Then I headed for the Pierhead where they have a paint gallery on the last floor. After a few pictures, I started to walk down the Wales Coast Path passing by the Y Senedd, the Norwegian Church where Dahl was baptized and finally reaching the Doctor Who Experience building and the Tardis. I headed back downtown passing through The Red Dragon Center that, to be honest, was a rather empty and semi-dead shopping mall. I arrived at Javier's and after I caught my breath from the walk, we were off for a pub crawl. I think we did four pubs. Three, where we drank beer and one of wine, since I already had drank my obligatory Guinness as there weren't any other options in dark beers. Just to clarify, nothing against Guinness, on the contrary, I love the stuff, however I had expected England to offer a wide variety of dark beers, but to my disappointment when I asked, people would look a bit perplexed and would say "we have an amber ale". To which I would shake my head and say "just give me a Guinness". There is a limit to how many Guinnesses one can drink and continue to walk decently, so I opted for wine. Downtown Cardiff at night was a bit empty except for the occasional group of bare-legged university girls and their male friends. I would freeze in their skin! After out fair share of drinking we went back to his place. Next morning after oatmeal and tea, I asked him for some paper and pens and did my best effort to draw Bristol's famous Bridge. I was going to try to hitchhike on my own this time. I thanked him and after saying our goodbyes I left with a heavy heart. I hadn't seen him in so long! It had been great getting to hang out again like in the old times. Thanks for everything Javier! And for putting my clothes out to dry while I was exploring the city. You're a sweetheart! So there I was trying to figure out where the hell to get a ride. It wasn't easy, after asking around and walking quite a bit I finally got to one of the exits. I pulled out my mini-poster and an upturned thumb to the traffic. After like a 15 minute wait, a man in his early 40's asked me, "Are you crazy?". "A bit" I replied. "Hitchhiking, aren't you afraid something could happen to you?" he asked. I replied, "Not really, I just need to choose my rides wisely" he looked at me with a quizzical eye and said "I can't take you to Bristol, but I can take you more than half the way in that direction and leave you at a station where lots of cars stop." We chatted all the way switching through a variety of topics: his background, my background, about how crazy I was, and about parenting. Finally reaching my destination, he wished me the best and again gave me one of those quizzical looks before shaking his head and driving off.
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