Today I take you on a city break trip to Cardiff City Centre, where I discovered some of the city centre, a local park and managed to find one of the best coffee shops I’ve been to!
Cardiff is the capital of Wales, and although I’ve lived in Wales for many years, I never actually had a chance to explore this wonderful city. Which is a shame as it has so much to offer. So when I had a kind offer to visit a friend in Cardiff, I packed my bag and was ready to go!
I took a bus early in the morning and enjoyed the rollercoaster-like ride amongst bendy Welsh roads, with the bus shaking, rattling and rocking. This has prevented my previously planned nap, therefore-getting off the bus I already knew my mission, my one desire, what I was seeking most.
And it was a strong cup of coffee. So I went into the city centre, to find a coffee shop which spoke to my heart the most. While at it, I admired the charismatic city centre.
City Centre Coffee Hunt
I passed a variety of beautiful buildings, stunning architecture with various details. At times I noticed the buildings mix in the contrasts of new and old. New skyscrapers, contrasting with old gothic-style buildings- co-existing in beautiful harmony.
I was looking around trying to register everything around me. I noticed Christmas market huts filled with small handmade gifts and Christmas treats. Even Santa made an appearance there! The smell of German sausages and fried onions rose in the air. I resisted the sudden urge of treating myself, and getting some chocolate, crepes and mulled wine.
Walking through the city centre, I also found myself often distracted by people and their interesting outfits. So many different and interesting styles. It was so great to see people expressing themselves with their outfits, especially when it came to stunning gothic or steampunk dresses I witnessed that day.
On my coffee shop search, I walked into a few cute shops, getting distracted by various displays. Including an indoor market where I found more Christmas themed goodies, as well as a swordfish decorated in Christmas garland (interesting addition to his very dead-look). Seems like everyone is feeling the Christmas spirit!
Eventually, I found a nice place to enjoy some well-needed coffee. Of course, after all the Christmas chocolate temptation, I needed to order a mocha! I sat on the charming little table, and watched people walking past, the Christmas lights blinking above shops, the rush and at the same time – the stillness of that moment. I enjoyed the chocolate goodness with my few extra shots of coffee, I sipped it slowly, just taking in the joy of that moment.
After this energising moment, I continued my sightseeing. I walked through more streets, finding some medieval and gothic-style buildings, including a pub converted from a theatre. A really classy place with some affordable alcohol prices!
Before I knew it, it started getting dark. It seemed like people were finishing work because suddenly the streets became full and a lot more hectic. It was time to make my way back, but not before I checked out one more place. So I walked to the car park to get away from the streets a little bit and check out some views from a higher vantage point.
Car Park City Views
The car park isn’t very tall, but easily accessible, and reveals a lot more of the city. I stood there in silence watching the lights from various streets and buildings. I found myself completely isolated from busy streets with only a gentle, faint sound of the street musicians playing in the distance. It felt so surreal, I felt like I was in a different world, yet I was just looking at the same place, just from a different perspective. I thought about how it’s easy to get sucked into the rush of life and feel overwhelmed sometimes, we should remember to try to shift our perspectives from time to time, and readjust accordingly. Shifting our perspective can sometimes completely transform our outlook on life. Everything seemed so peaceful and beautiful from there, I looked into the distance for a little bit longer just appreciating the moment.
City at Night
Walking through the city, heading to my friend’s house, I admired the beautifully lit buildings against a dramatic cloudy, blue night sky. I saw the seasonal ‘winter wonderland’ setup where various families and couples would go ice-skating, enjoy the views from the Ferris wheel, amongst many other- fun, winter-themed activities and games.
The Next Day- Best Coffee Shop find!
The next day, I took a short train ride to Pontypridd to attend a Sunday mass there. The ‘village’ of Pontypridd was way bigger than I imagined but it still had a peaceful atmosphere. After the church mass, I headed to a coffee shop for some much-needed caffeine boost. It was a cold morning and I was craving the warmth of this magical beverage. I saw a small mysterious coffee shop with steamed up windows and walked through the doors. And just like that, I ended up in probably one of the top favourite coffee shops I’ve ever been to (if you follow my blog… you probably can imagine that’s quite an extensive list hehe).
The coffee shop is called ‘’Olive’s Attic’’ and is placed just a short walk from the train station. Walking inside I was hit by instant warmth- not only in the physical sense but also visually. The cosy decorations gave this place a homely feel. It kind of felt as if I was walking into someone’s living room or the café set from the ‘’Friends’’ TV program.
The warmth came also from people. The kindness and friendliness of the workers as well as customers. People of all ages were sitting around the tables, chatting to one another. One man was casually playing the guitar (which belongs to the café and is available for customer use), while others just read books or newspapers in quietness. It is such a small café but so full of life. The home-made cakes completed the wonderful taste of coffee (trust me I had two… a magical mocha and a hazelnut cappuccino).
One of the best things is there is plenty of entertainment- a whole bunch of board games and an entire bookshelf filled with various books of different kinds. The idea of being bored or browsing aimlessly through a phone, won’t even cross your mind.
I sat on the couch, reading a book while I sipped on the coffee, I got lost in this very special moment. I can’t put into words how much I loved the atmosphere of this place- so, just know that I didn’t want to leave, it was so wonderful.
But the time has come to move onto the next planned thing. So, I took a train back to Cardiff. Once there, I went to a local park area located just a short walk from the city centre. I like how close everything is placed in Cardiff, as the majority of places are easily accessible by foot.
The park had a completely different atmosphere to everything I have witnessed so far, I struggled to comprehend how close to the city centre I was- with how quiet and serene it was there. I walked through the park and felt the refreshing winter air hit my face. It was cold but despite it being December already, I still found some remnants of autumn around me.
Eventually, I sat on a bunch of rocks by the river and watched ducks swim past me, and squirrels jump from branches on the trees for a while. It was so magical and calm. It was nearing 4pm and the winter sun started going down gently, showing the beautiful colours of the sky. I watched the reflections of the trees in the water, before deciding to head back before it got completely dark.
Walking out of the park, I looked behind me one last time and saw a stunning sunset view. With the sky so vibrant, shades of red, pink and purple dominating the scenery. Creating a strong contrast against the tree branches. I was standing there admiring the sky until the colours grew dimmer and dimmer. What a beautiful way to end this trip- I thought. And just like that, I was on the bus back home, already planning for my next trip to Cardiff.
Thank you so much for reading,
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See you again,