I wasn’t going to write a post about my second day in Cardiff but then my sister said she was looking forward to reading about it. So here’s to you, Maggie *cue Mrs. Robinson*
Doctor Who Experience
The building is a little odd looking. It looks a little like an airplane hanger. Inside the lobby is a coffee shop and the Doctor Who theme on an endless loop. The poor, poor people who work the ticket stand. I mean, I like the Doctor Who theme but on an endless loop? Seriously?
The first part of the museum is the experience bit. Narrated by Matt Smith (11th Doctor), you’re suppose to help the Doctor out of Pandora’s Box. In doing so you have to fly the TARDIS, walk through Satellite 9, the forest with the Weeping Angels and this really weird room that I’m not sure where it’s suppose to be. It was cheesy to say the least. But yeah, I have to admit, standing inside the TARDIS was cool.
You then go into the museum bit which is just props – some original, some replications – and costumes from mostly the new series. However, they have all the costumes of the original doctors which is pretty cool. I’ve never seen original Who so it was a learning experience. Also, a bit of a SQUEE experience because I got to see Captain Jack’s coat. Yeah, that coat.
Worth the 13 pound admissions fee? Debatable. For me, yes the artifacts made it all worth it. For others who aren’t in love with certain Whovian characters? Probably not.
The National Assembly of Wales (Senedd)
The National Assembly of Wales is the home of the Welsh Parliament. And it is gorgeous. It was built in 2006 with natural materials – cedar, slate and glass – with the idea of making government transparent. The fact that almost three sides of the building are all glass achieves that visually. It’s a stunning building and I can’t imagine how cool it is to work there everyday.
But the building goes past being visually transparent. You can’t walk into the main debating chamber, but you can go into the viewing area above it. There are also two committee rooms you can sit in on. I got a ticket from the lovely ladies at the reception and got to sit and watch the Health Committee debate a bill that would give absestos victims restitution. I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about at first until I poked through the agenda on the little computer screen on the chair in front of me. I sat there for a good half hour, maybe 45 minutes, and just watched governing happen.
It astounded me. I couldn’t believe that myself, not a UK citizen (let alone a Welsh person), was allowed to, without previous knowledge, background check, etc., just sit in on a committee session. Why can’t the U.S. Congress do that? True, Wales’ population is microscopic compared to the U.S. but there should be something like that in the U.S. Really – there should!
Roald Dahl Plass, Mermaid Quay and the Millennium Centre
Mermaid Quay (pronounce it “key”) is a mall filled with nothing but restaurants. I stopped at a coffee shop for some soup and an awful cuppa but most of the restaurants are more upscale than the coffee shop. Actually, the coffee shop was pretty upscale. I’ve never seen a coffee shop sell wine before.
Roald Dahl Plass is the plaza in front of the Millennium Centre, leading out to the Bay. It’s pretty but also under construction. Go figure. However, the Plass is home to Torchwood. And this is where my fan girl goes insane. I love Torchwood. I walked all around the giant pillar outside of the Centre, as much as I could, trying to figure out where the elevator was. I took pictures of things most people wouldn’t find exciting.
For me, I think the thing that was most exciting was not seeing these places in that John Barrowman or Eve Myles or whomever had been there. It was that suddenly all the stories had context. So that’s the pizza shop they ordered from. So that’s where Gwen walked to after a long day of work, etc. It made everything more real and more tangible. Definitely cool.
The Millennium Centre has two awesome quotes on its front, one in English, one in Welsh. The Welsh one says “Creating truth like glass from the fire of inspiration” which is a quote by Gwyneth Lewis. The English reads “In These Stories Horizons Sing” which is a song.
It is a gorgeous building, much in the same style as the National Assembly. The inscription is suppose to be breath-taking at night but I didn’t stick around to see. It’s awe-inspiring during the day though!
Cardiff Central Library
Couldn’t forget the place where I sat for a few hours to read! It’s a modern building with entirely too many floors, lots of book nooks, chairs and views of the City Centre. The only downside was that their Czechoslovakia history section consisted of two books. So I read Russian history instead. Go figure.
There you have it – my last day in Cardiff.