|St Fagans Castle Grounds|
|St Fagans Castle|
The taxi driver was a fine raconteur, with several past lives for the telling. The one I remember was his stint as a food photographer. “It’s all a fraud,” he said breezily. He proceeded to describe the thoroughly unappetizing steps involved to prepare a thoroughly photogenic roast turkey. I’ve repressed the details, but they were fascinating, if appalling.
My map showed 58 stopping points in all, so I thought, OK, I’ve got all day, I’ll start at number 1, follow the map, and go ad seriatim right through to number 58. This soon proved to be the dumbest idea on the planet. For one, impossible to accomplish in a single day. For two, as a person with not just a bad sense of direction, but no sense of direction at all, impossible to figure out, even aided by excellent signs and a crystal clear map.
I consulted the map one more time, decided on two sites I would for sure take in—the Celtic Village and the Castle—and then began to wander.
Here is some of what I saw:
|In Gwalia Stores|
|St. Teilo's Church|
|In a Cottage|
|In the Cockpit|
|Ewenny Pottery Kiln|
|In Gwalia Stores|
|Doves at St Fagans Castle|
|Trellised Walkway on the Castle Grounds|
Leaving the castle grounds wasn’t easy, but the museum closed at five PM and the hour was nigh. The obliging information desk staff summoned me a taxi, and I was whisked back to Cardiff Bay.
It was my last night in Wales, and, as I had no concert to attend, I decided it was high time I ate somewhere other than the hotel. The tourist office proclaimed the Bayside Brasserie the absolute best for fresh fish, and it was “conveniently located” in Mermaid Quay. This required some bravery on my part, as Mermaid Quay, to me, looked suspiciously like Touristaville Central or, worse yet, a multi-level mall.
And so it may have been, but the evening was glorious. I had my pick of seats at the Brasserie and a prime view of Cardiff Bay, looking toward Penarth. My cornish sole was delectable; the wine excellent. For dessert? No sticky toffee pudding and custard sauce, alas, but I did console myself with a fine lemon tart.
I paid my final respects to the Wales Millenium Centre, where I'd heard such magnificent music the night before, and headed back to the hotel.
And so concludes Wales Diary. The first four parts can be found at these links: Cardiff Bay Barrage here, Cardiff Castle here, The Covered Streets of Cardiff here, and Art and the Aquabus here.
For a Spotify Playlist of the music of John Metcalf (composer and Artistic Director of the Festival), click on Wales Diary.
The road that led to Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music began with the discovery of a piece called Mapping Wales, and through that piece, to meeting its composer, John Metcalf (also Artistic Director of the Festival). Here is its first section, Tranquillo. The entire piece can be found here (harp and string quartet) and here (harp and string orchestra).
© John Metcalf.
A three-part series of posts on the Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music concerts I attended while in Wales, including listening lists, can be found at these links: Crossing a Bridge of Dreams here, Ancient Instruments, Timeless Sounds here, and Worlds Entwined here.
Credits: The first tourist attraction quotation is from the St Fagan’s Visitor Guide; the second can be found here.