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Croeso I Caerdydd (Welcome to Cardiff)
Cardiff in General
Member Name: kittykat18
Cardiff in General
Date: 24/10/01, updated on 13/03/02 (164 review reads)
Advantages: cheap, friendly, lots of things to do
Disadvantages: as polluted as any other major city
I am currently studying at Cardiff university and living in halls of residence in term time.
Cardiff is a compact city (maybe that's just my opinion as I've come from a city 20 times bigger)and easy to get around.
The land is fairly flat so it is good for cycling and walking around town. It has all the big shops you would expect from a capital city and also lots of lovely arcades with one-off shops, second hand or gift shops selling original products. The main shopping centre is all based down the main street (Queen Street) which is cool as you don't have to do too much walking!
The annoying thing about Queen Street is the millions of salespeople/marketing people that pace up and down, looking for victims. I don't know why, but they always seem to pick on me (I must look kind hearted and rich. Or more likely, a sucker!) Unless you actually like talking to these people, learn to say a swift "No thanks!"
My favourite shop in Cardiff is Blue Banana, which is located on Chippy Lane. So called because it has loads of chippies, believe it or not! Blue Banana sell jewellery, incense, bedroom accessories and T Shirts. It's the only place I have found that sells decent nose studs so I can be found traipsing there every few weeks (because I always, without fail, lose my nose studs. My record must have been about 2 weeks without losing one!)They also do piercing in there, of all varieties (not for the timid then!)
There are loads of pubs, clubs and restaurants, something for everyone, from cheap student nights at the tacky Zeus or Dylans, to garage nights at Vision 2K, to indie at the Barfly (read my opinion on that if you want!) to Drum n Bass at Evolution every Saturday.
The film Human Traffic was filmed entirely in Cardiff so if you have seen that and want to visit some of the venues, you need to get down to:
The Firedrake and Firkin!
There is also Card
iff Bay, a fairly new development, with Techniquest (a science museum for kids), hotels, a Sports cafe and a few clubs.
There are 2 big cinemas, UGC on Mary Ann Street and a UCI at Cardiff Bay. The UGC does £2.99 tickets for students and £2.99 tickets for all showings before 12 so get up early to save some money! There are concert venues including the CIA and smaller venues such as The Bar Fly and of course, Cardiff Students Union, where bands such as Embrace, Wheatus and So Solid Crew play have put on gigs.
As for theatrical entertainment, the main theatre in town is the New Theatre, where many nationwide tours stop off. Coming this Spring (2002) are Five Guys Named Moe and To Kill a Mockingbird (to name a few). Smaller venues include the Sherman theatre and Crwys Theatre. Look out for plays and productions put on by the students of the Welsh College of Music and Drama, as they are usually cheap and full of future stars! Anthony Hopkins studied at the Welsh college of music and drama.
What with Cardiff University, UWIC and the Welsh college of Drama and Music, it can sometimes feel as though the city is overrun with students. If you are not a student, avoid Cathays- the "student ghetto", an area full of leftover takeaways, baggy clothes and crowds! You might want to also give Grangetown a miss, as it's not a very nice area.
Cardiff is ideally located-you can go to Bristol, the Gower peninsula and the Brecon Beacons, all within an hours drive. The nearest seaside resort is Barry Island which is nice enough if a bit like a mini Blackpool! Good if you like that kind of thing. It gets very crowded on the few (very few) hot summer days.
It's an attractive town, most of the centre is pedestrianised and the castle makes an impressive sight! The annual fireworks at the castle are amazing and well worth going to. There is a huge park (Bute Park) just behind the castle which is ideal to go and munch your sandw
iches in after a serious shopping trip. For a city it is also relatively safe.
The civic centre, made up of the old university buildings, the city hall and Welsh museum and art gallery, is a very attractive feature of the city. Incidentally, it is the civic centre that appears on all the university brochures. So why don't I have any of my lessons in those nice white Georgian buildings, huh?
The main forms of public transport in Cardiff are the bus or Valley Line train. The buses are quite old fashioned (compared to the nice modern ones in Birmingham) and an average journey is 90p. The valley line runs from Cardiff to Myrthr Tydvil with many stops along the way. The main station in Cardiff is Cardiff Central. Beware when getting the train locally-it is very crowded at peak times! The advantage of this is that the inspector can not get down the aisles to ask for fares!
I don't think I will miss Cardiff when I leave university , as although it is nice enough, it is nothing amazingly special. All cities in the UK seem to be becoming more alike, which is a shame.
The trouble with Cardiff, I think, is that there is not enough to do there for visitors. When my Dad came to visit me, he asked me what there was to do and there weren't really any attractions to go and see (other than my messy bedroom!)
If you ask someone on the street for directions or help, the vast majority of people will be only too pleased to help. Cardiff residents on the whole are very friendly and approachable. They are proud of their city and only too pleased to direct you. In the day time I feel perfectly safe in the city centre, whether I am on my own or with others.
Night time is a different story. I have seen a number of incidents at night when the bars are closing and there is not a very good atmosphere at this time. Avoid being alone after dark and do not hang around the streets when you come out of a pub or club, get home or g
et a taxi quickly. There's quite a lot of fights and drunk people being rowdy on the streets on a Friday and Saturday night, so be aware of this.
Cardiff is developing rapidly and really feels like a buzzing capital. There are lots of available jobs and the increasing power that the Welsh Assembly has creates more pride in its residents. Apparently a very high percentage of Cardiff University students want to remain in Cardiff to work once they graduate as they like it so much. Well, you won't catch me doing that, but it's not a bad place at all.
I have returned to this opinion to pose a question in the hope that someone will be able to answer it:
What is that smell in Cardiff Central Train Station? I use this station at least twice a week, and it reeks of a smell I can only describe as mouldy fresh bread! Please, someone reply and put me out of my misery!