Cardiff is just 2 hours away by train from London but I only had the opportunity to visit once. However, 2 weeks ago a better opportunity came up! It was Traverse 2016 conference, a really fun conference run by travel bloggers for travel bloggers to learn some new tips and tricks to improve our blogs. Even though the conference takes up most of the time, the spare time left was very well spent as I visited parts of the city and the South Wales region dominated by the huge Brecon Beacons National Park.
Great Western Trains run frequent services from London Paddington to Cardiff so I was at ease choosing the time I wanted. I arrived to Cardiff at 17.30 and I was kindly greeted by my Moroccan friend Hamza who is living in Wales and has hosted me during this trip. After quickly catching up, I head to The Depot for our Traverse welcome party. It was really fun catching up with familiar faces and getting to know new travel bloggers. I highly value such events because of the opportunity they give to network offline, in other words, face to face!
The next day was a full day of seminars and talks at Cardiff City Stadium. But I started my day in a very confusing way, also funny! I went to the wrong stadium… I went to the Millennium Stadium which is in the heart of Cardiff and I also went there because I thought it was the only stadium. So I was kind of lost looking for the Traverse conference and guess what… I walked the whole stadium’s circle path. So I was exhausted and I decided to take a cab and let him bring me to the right venue. But being lost at Millennium Stadium brought some great memories from my first trip to Cardiff. I was there for a rugby game opposing Wales and Australia, three years ago already.
For the night, I went partying with the whole group attending the conference at Revolution bar and club. It was really fun dancing until I couldn’t move any longer… I enjoyed the party but I had to cut it short to go to bed and wake up early for a day of visits. I was booked into an activity that I chose myself but I wasn’t sure what to expect nor what was the program. So I let myself being surprised.
So we were around 12 people booked into this little tour of South Wales. We started from the National Museum heading towards the Brecon Beacons National Park. Our guide was really great. He played some Welsh music for us and entertained us well. After driving off the city area, we quickly approached the many hills and peaks of the region and suddenly we were requested to go out to explore. I was really excited but slowly I realised how windy it was… I could easily fly if I didn’t hold myself together.
But the views from the peaks were impressive. I felt a great connection with nature and it felt so right to get off the city! However, slowly after I was already back to a small urban area but it was a super tiny-cute-little town called Brecon. Things started going quick after lunch time at Brecon Cathedral coffee shop so we headed over the Big Pit National Coal Museum. Although, on the way we stopped to take few pictures at an over 300 years old bridge in Llangynidr village. It was amazing! Cherry on top, we were greeted by sheep from the region.
Once I arrived to the Big Pit, I was frozen from the Autumn look-a-like temperatures at the middle of April… All I wanted is to rest but it was quite entertaining to go around the mines and check out the area. We had a guide with us to show us around the mines but I honestly did not pay attention to what he said, I was just looking with my eyes and enjoying what I see… On the way back, the driver played the Welsh National Anthem which was a great musical experience to end up the day. South Wales is really a great place to visit and I think it’s worth the trip. On a week-end it’s very easy to combine both, city and countryside.