Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cardiff, day 2: St. Fagan's Museum

This is going to be a munchkin of a post, because I couldn't quite wedge Saturday morning's pictures into my last one; so this is pretty much just a photo dump of our Saturday morning wanderings at St. Fagan's Natural History Museum. I'm not even sure I could quite explain it all in words.

St. Fagan's is unlike any museum I've ever been to: a beautiful tumble of old buildings and wildlife near the edge of the city. The museum is open-air, the only guidance provided by gravel paths that wind their way between the thatched farmhouses, rickety wooden fences, and walled gardens.

The greenery in Wales has been endlessly astonishing all weekend, but it was particularly noticeable in St. Fagan's fields. The trees had traded their leaves for mossy winter coats, mockingjay nests had threads of river greens woven in, and most everywhere was thickly carpeted in grass. Livestock were rambling everywhere; we saw sheep, bulls, pigs, and one especially talkative finch.

Almost all the buildings were open for exploring; some just had dirt floors or dusty log piles, but quite a few of them were fully furnished. We accidentally stumbled into a tiny wooden cranny of a gift shop, stocked to the brim with a hodge-podge of vintage goods: mugs, bakingware, postcards, jams and chutneys, biscuits and teas and tea cozies.

A little bit apart from the main property of St. Fagan's were the "castle" and gardens: a spectacular collection of lavender meadows and apple orchards, abandoned cotton fields, empty greenhouses, manicured flowerbeds and stone fountains, all surrounding a tall, whitewashed, nineteenth-century manor house.

We rambled around the grounds for awhile in the sunshine; we were some of the first few people exploring the grounds, so it was quiet and still. As it got closer to early afternoon, the sun faded and it got a bit nippy, so we stepped inside the hushed halls of the manor for a few minutes.

We made our way back to the front gates to catch the bus back to Cardiff; as we were walking out of the museum grounds, quite a few families were making their way in, and the parking lot-- empty when we'd arrived-- was completely full.

If you're ever in the Cardiff area, I highlyhighlyhighly recommend St. Fagan's; I imagine the gardens are even prettier in the spring, when trees are budding and flowers blooming and the weather a bit less capricious.

Back to London soon; and all of the paper-writing ever (!)

all my love,

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