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Llandaff Cathedral

Chosing what to do in Cardiff was always a struggle for me. I was going to be there for such limited time, and I hadn't put as much thought into it as I did for my trip to Paris. I knew that I wanted to go there, and that I wanted to see the castle, and that was about it.

So, I did a bus tour, did the castle, and that afternoon, armed with my guidebook, I went searching for Llandaff Cathedral. It's listed as the oldest see in Wales, and I was excited at the idea of seeing a real cathedral in this country. So far, I haven't really been in one, and I had visions of something matching Notre Dame in scope and beauty.

This is probably because I keep forgetting that the UK is definately more protestant in scope.

It's not that it wasn't interesting -- getting to the site alone is interesting, involving a winding steep road with high stone walls, passing a well and a ruin. The graveyard is older than Canada (I need to find a new way of judging "old"), and the cathedral is beautiful on the outside. Tall walls with heads of the Kings and Queen of England carved as gargoyles on the sides. Inside were tombs and caskets of some of the dead, carved with their likeness on the outside. Very ornate, and being inside once again dwarfed my sense of self.

But, on the other hand, it wasn't like, say, Notre Dame or Chatres. There were no beautiful and awe inspiring stained glass windows, none of the sumptious and beautiful furnishings I had seen before. Which isn't neccesarily a critism of the site, or of the faith that built it. It just... wasn't what I expected.

The church is aware it's a tourist site - there was a small place to buy postcards and the like (sadly, closed), and the pastors that I ran into while there were very polite. I discovered that I'm very tongue-tied around Anglican preists, so didn't ask them the millions of questions I wanted to about the site. But then, the church service was set to begin in about 30 minutes, and I wasn't sure if I should pester them.

I didn't get any pictures inside - as I've said before, I don't like to take pictures in a working church - but I did get some lovely ones of the grounds and the graveyard. The graveyard was... very very old.

(Going through my photos quickly, I realize I never did get any good ones of the heads outside of the church. My apologies ... I'd give some sort of excuse, but it would ring rather false, with all the graveyard pics.)

It was on the rather steep walk back up that I fell in sudden deep love. On the way to the Cathedral I had passed some ruins. I can't recall what they were called now, and I'm so embrassed. I remember something about them being a former medicinal garden. It was very peaceful inside, and you could smell the medicinal plants still. There was the bite in the air, you know? The walls were covered in ivy, and a lot of the towers had fallen in on themselves. It was beautiful, in that haunted way I so like. {photos just of the ruins}

I spent the evening afterwards walking through Cardiff, taking a few random photos and trying to decide how I would spend the next day. There were so many possibilities, like taking a tour of Cardiff Bay, going on one of the day-trips outside of the city, or just heading out for an afternoon at Caerleon, the Roman ruins not so far from Cardiff.

I think that's what I like best about poking through towns in the UK - there's always going to be about 10 things I can want to do, and the biggest hurdle is just settling on one or two.


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Like the photos of Cardiff. btw where are yr Edinburgh ones?

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