Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cardiff, day 3

On our last day in Cardiff, we woke with the sun and went for a browse along the riverside farmer's market, just a hop, skip, and a block away from the hostel where we were staying. We got there just as the market opened, a rainbow of tents lining the riverbanks.

Tiny jars of homemade chutneys and jams glimmered in the sun, spilling jewel-toned light into the yeast-scented air. There were at least five different bakery stalls: there were sourdough boules with crackling crusts, heavily seeded buckwheat loaves, darkly fragrant rye buns, honey-burnished rolls sprinkled with raisins, perfectly crimped pies, and these griddled scone-thins called Welsh cakes (they cropped up at every cafe we went to in Cardiff).

In the center of the market there were chairs and plank tables set up for people who wanted to grab a bite of lunch or a quick coffee; there wasn't anyone there when we arrived at the market, but by the time we were leaving, the tables had filled with wriggling toddlers and briefcase-carriers alike.

 I picked up a kilo of pears, a bushel of the teensiest brussel sprouts I've ever seen, a bag of dried Turkish figs, and a particularly seedy loaf, all for under five pounds. But the best part was watching all of the Cardiff natives come out of the woodwork; we'd done a lot of tourist-ing this weekend, and it was nice to listen to farmers talking to their regulars, watch harried parents towing wayward children, and hear the lilt of Welsh accents.

After dropping our purchases off at the hostel, we took off for a brief adventure along Taff Trail, a beautiful winding walkway along the River Taff (aptly named). The trail stretches for quite awhile inside Bute Park, then tapers off into football fields, dog parks, stables and cow pastures.

About 3 km down the trail, we stumbled our way to Llandaff Cathedral, a beautiful old stone church in Llandaff, Cardiff (the Welsh do seem to like the letter f). We rambled through the grounds for a bit, popping our heads into the cathedral for a moment to catch the tail end of a choir service.

You can't tell in this picture, but that door is the tiniest rabbit-hole of a door, all iron locks and neat wooden pegs and a minute window, set in this oldoldold stone wall, surrounding what looked to be an abandoned garden. The door was locked, which makes me all the more convinced that some sort of woodland sprite has taken up residence behind it.

I've just arrived back in London for midterms; and then off to Edinburgh for the long weekend! But for now, alas, Bleak House awaits.

all my love,

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