Friday, January 18, 2013

Dr. Who and New Years in Cardiff

My husband is a big Dr. Who fan. Not so much the old doctor, but the most recent batche. When we were planning our trip to the UK last spring, he got really excited about the idea of going to Cardiff where Dr. Who is filmed. As I have gotten into enjoying the show with him the last few years, I was kind of excited about the idea too. So for Christmas, I bought Hubs tickets to the Dr. Who Experience in Cardiff.

When we woke up on our first day in Cardiff, December 31st, our first task was to find something good to eat for breakfast. The concierge recommended this great pub called The Yard, so we bundled up and headed out. The atmosphere in the pub was modern and cozy, yet spacious with an old time picture of some Duke. We ordered two traditional Welsh breakfasts and sipped hot chocolate while we waited for our food. When our plates came and we dug in, we couldn't get enough. The food was sooooo good. Eggs, sausages, baked beans, mushrooms, toast, and tomatoes. It was so good, it deserved this whole paragraph to memorialize it for time and all eternity.
Little Bean playing with British currency while we waited for breakfast

After breakfast we had some time to kill, so we walked around the town and explored the area before heading back to the hotel for a bit of a nap. When it was time to go to the fabulous Dr. Who Experience, we dropped off a bag of laundry with the concierge, and then rented a cab.

In some ways, the Experience was better than we had imagine, and in others, it was a letdown. The first part of the tour was interactive and took place in several rooms that were designed like various sets from the show, including inside the current Tardis, and included enemies like the daleks and weeping angels. It was really cool, and even Little Bean enjoyed it, especially when she got to fly the Tardis. Then we were let loose on the exhibit that featured actual props and sets from the show all the way from its inception in the 60s to now.
Hubs and Little Bean in front of the old Tardis
Little Bean and me in front of the current Tardis
Hubs and Little Bean with a horrible, not at all life-like sculpture of the current Dr Who
The costume of the 10th Doctor, when I started watching Dr Who with Hubs
The set of the old Tardis, before it exploded
The Silence (bad guys)
The Silence close up
The door inside the Tardis
Hubs, Little Bean, and a Cyberman (they will assimilate you)
Weeping Angels

Tree People
Daleks (Exterminate!)
The Evil Snowman from this year's Dr Who Christmas special
Costumes from this year's Christmas special
When we got back to the hotel, the laundry we had dropped off earlier that day, which included knickers, was returned, all cleaned and folded. I don't know why, but it makes me laugh to think that someone else folded my knickers.

As if going to the Dr Who Experience wasn't fantastic enough, I had something even better on our agenda for that night. When I started blogging clear back in the fall of 2007, I "met" lots of fabulous women from the UK. Over the years, I have lost contact with all but one of them, my friend Liz. When our trip had been officially booked, I immediately contacted Liz, who lives about an hour away from Cardiff, and told her we would be coming to visit. Like us, she probably didn't think we'd make it to the UK either, but was excited at the idea of meeting. Well, the day to meet had finally arrived!

My friend had taken the train and called to let us know when she had arrived at our hotel. After 5 years of being blog friends and chatting online (we had even talked on the phone once), we got to meet. The four of us headed to one of her favorite places to eat and had a wonderful evening. She was as genuine and lovely as she had been online. I found conversing with her very easy, and because we had talked so much over the years, it was like catching up with an old friend.

Without going into all of the details, my friend offered to take us sightseeing one of the remaining days of our trip. I was excited to not only be able to see sites we wouldn't have otherwise seen, but I was even more excited to spend an entire day with Liz.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel for bed. That was the only night of our whole trip that Little Bean was asleep before midnight, which was kind of a bummer, considering it was New Years. She was out like a log when the fireworks over Cardiff started going off. Hubs and I watched them, and then watched the celebration going on in London right next to the hotel we had just left.

The next morning was the only sunny day of our whole trip. We were excited about that because we had plans to go see a living historic farm and museum. After getting to the bus stop and finding the buses weren't running (despite what the concierge had told us), we rented a cab to take us to the farm. When we got there, we were turned away, because the farm, like everything else in Cardiff, was closed for the day. I won't tell you how mad this mad Hubs and the things that came out of his mouth all day, but suffice it to say, he was NOT happy. We spent the beautiful sunny day in our hotel room. However, Hubs got tired of sitting in the room and took Little Bean for a walk while I took a nap, and they found a winter festival to occupy a couple hours of their time.

Now, if you thought all of the pictures up to this point were fantastic, just wait until you see where Liz took us the next day!


Leah said...

I have REALLY enjoyed reading about your travels. And Baby Bean seems to be a great age to travel. She seemed like such a trooper throughout. I think my kids would be big disasters, but I'm hopeful that in another couple of years, perhaps we could travel with the kiddos. Can't wait to hear more. :)

Fran said...

I love these posts!! And you just have to come to Dublin next so that I can get to meet you too!!!