I’m sure by now I’ve told most everyone this, but I’m sure there are people who I’ve missed or haven’t had the chance to speak to yet, so before I start my travel blog, I want to make a formal announcement that my time in London is coming to an end. I’m sad to leave, and looking forward to being home, but I’ll write a proper blog about that when May arrives and I have to face that fact for good. For the next month or so, I’ll be in and out of London on many adventures, and I intend on blogging the whole thing for you here. At the moment I am embarking on my first solo backpacking trip longer than a weekend since I went to Chicago about three years ago. It feels so nice to be out travelling again. As I have several stops on this leg of my journey, I’ll be posting a new blog when I leave a city. I’m currently leaving Cardiff on my way to Liverpool, but I’ll start at the beginning why don’t I?
My adventure began on a Wednesday, which is a good day for adventures, I think. Contrary to my usual state of being, I got up before my alarm went off and managed to get to Paddington with far too much time to spare. (I looked around for lost bears, but didn’t see any.) I got some breakfast and set myself up by a window to do some people watching. It was so strange, having finished my job only five days before, to see the Londoners rushing about, off to work and various other important things, as I used to do. Strange, but not unpleasant. I will miss my job and my coworkers so very much, but this whole trip just feels like a beginning.
A short train ride had me in Cardiff before noon, so I dropped my bag off at my hostel and set out to explore the city. When I travel alone, especially in the first couple of days, I find myself talking to anyone who will give me the time of day, for as long as they will tolerate me, which is how I found myself chatting with a charity worker attempting to sign me up for a charity that I couldn’t sign up for. (You may recall that I found myself in the exact situation when I was in Chicago. I think it’s because charity workers are literally paid to talk to me.) This lovely woman spent fifteen minutes chatting with me before I thought I’d better let her get back to her job, but not before she suggested I go to Bute Park for the afternoon.
The weather was gorgeous, and Cardiff seems, when I was there at least, to be about a hundred times more sunny than London, so I took to opportunity to have a picnic by myself in the park. I wrote a while back about taking myself on dates. Even though I’m travelling alone, finding a quiet space to have your own thoughts can be difficult, especially when you’re in a big city and staying in a hostel, so I cherish these moments like one of those dates.
Cardiff was beautifully quiet, almost alarmingly so coming from London, which so loud even the quiet parts of it are interrupted by the noise of traffic or barking dogs. I strolled leisurely back to my hostel taking in the sunshine and the absence of crowds.
Some hostels are great. Some hostels are full of friendly people and ambiance and free wifi. Other hostels have you in a room with a bunch of people who don’t want to talk to you, or want to talk to you way too much. I was very grateful to be in one of the good ones. Two girls were in my dorm when I arrived, a Canadian and an Australian. This should not be a surprise, because Canadians and Australians are everywhere all the time. The three of us decided to go out for dinner and we spent the evening creating new friendships.
I slept in late the next morning, deciding that the sun was much too sunny and anything outside of my bed was much too cold. Finally though, hunger drove me out into the streets of Cardiff once again. After a leisurely lunch, I spent most of the day around Cardiff Bay, taking endless pictures of anything anyone has ever seen in an episode of Doctor Who, and intending to make my way to the Doctor Who Experience before it closed at five. Unfortunately I did not realize until I got there at 3:45 that though it closed at 5, last entry at the Doctor Who Experience was at 3:30. Having done most of the things I had wanted to do, and not being able to get into the Experience, I decided to treat myself to some quiet time in a dark room with a bunch of strangers and go see a film. I hadn’t taken myself to see a movie since The Muppets Most Wanted, I figured I owed it to myself to watch the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was the perfect thing to end my day with, and when it was over I returned to my hostel for a cup of tea followed by an early bedtime.
My train to Liverpool was scheduled for 6:50am, and I was quite proud of myself for getting up, dressed, checked out of the hostel, and to the station with a generous twenty minutes until my train arrived. I was feeling quite confident in myself until the train guard told me I was on the wrong train and had to turn back to Cardiff. At least one thing goes wrong on every trip, and I’ve taken this as getting it out of the way early, and that everything will be fine from now on. I also took this as a sign that I shouldn’t leave Cardiff without going to Doctor Who, so I booked a new ticket for later in the day, and made my way back to Cardiff Bay.
The Doctor Who Experience was exciting and nerdy and way better than I had expected it to be, really. It may also have convinced me to pick up Twelve’s season from where I gave up on it two episodes in. I hated to leave Doctor Who off of my must-watch list, and I’m glad the Experience convinced me to give it another go, Stephen Moffatt’s terrible show direction be damned.
From there I caught my train to Liverpool, which is where I sit now. One final thing before I go; for every day of this trip, I’ll be posting a playlist or short collection of songs which either stuck with me or jumped out at me throughout the day, and I’ll post these at the end of each blog, along with some pictures from that leg of the trip.
Day 1 Playlist
- Until I Am Whole – The Mountain Goats
- Out the Door – Kate Micucci
- Corbeau – Coeur de Pirate
- The Stage – Nathan Reich
- Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Bob Dylan
- Old Friends – Joel Plaskett Emergency
- Savannah – Relient K
- Dood – Kapabel
- Neapolitan Dreams – Lisa Mitchell
- Lighthouse – Jamie Willetts
- Mardy Bum – Arctic Monkeys
Day 2 Playlist
- On day two, I elected to listen to the sounds of the city over music, and so I have only one song to share, which went through my head pretty much all day.
- My Interpretation – Mika