Our trip to Cardiff was a bit disappointing with some highlights. We headed down for the weekend, specifically for Pride. I’ve not been to Pride Cymru before, and it’s been years since my wife and I visited Cardiff last. Some time at the beginning of our marriage in fact. We really like the city, I just always feel a bit aggrieved at having to leave the country to visit the capital of the country.
So we were keen to visit again and have some fun on the long weekend.
We were disappointed to find the Castle now charges to visit the grounds as well as the interior. And it’s crazy expensive too. £13 for an adult, and £9 for a kid. So we couldn’t do that. The museum was half closed and the Snake exhibition expensive, so we couldn’t do that either. Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend really wasn’t great for families despite their attempts to promote it to and for families (post coming soon).
Bethend didn’t sleep (it was too noisy and too hot), Snappy drank too much water and didn’t eat enough and threw up around 4 am Sunday morning. And as bad as the journey into Cardiff had been, the journey back was worse. Much, much worse (post also coming soon)
Still, there was fun to be had.
The Lego Store.
Bethend made the grave error of telling Snappy there was a Lego shop in Cardiff. We spent most of Friday tell him we would go to the Lego shop tomorrow but even as we pulled into Cardiff station he saying we could go to the Lego shop now.
As soon as he woke up he was talking about the Lego shop, are we going to the Lego shop, can we got to the Lego shop, where is the Lego shop.
So, we got up on Saturday and went straight there. No passing Go, no stopping for breakfast, straight to the Lego store. It opened at 9.30. We were there at 9.30.
The thing is, he loved it and everyone was really nice. They told us about the new material Lego are starting to use for their bricks and chatted about stuff and I’m always really happy when people interact with Snappy but don’t push him when he doesn’t react. He’s so shy it takes him a while to warm up to people. Even ones he knows sometimes.
We made some mini-figures and I let him chose between a fire engine, a digger and a police car. He went with the fire engine and pretty much played with it the entire weekend. He had me build it at breakfast and carried it around for hours.
We had a really nice breakfast and walked back down to St. Mary’s just in time for the parade. We parked ourselves on a corner and watch it go by. Snappy was sad at first (his words) because it was so loud (my deduction and then he confirmed it) but he soon got into it.
Especially as I bought a chocolate cream from Starbucks juts beforehand.
The parade was brilliant. So much fun. I ended up with a lot of flags – that Snappy stole. And a lot of wristbands – that he also stole. He really enjoyed it at the end, though to be honest, the large number of vehicles really helped. Buses, vans, trucks, fire engines, ambulances and police cars. He was in toddler heaven. I’d told him we were going to see a pared amyrhyllew/pared enfys (multicoloured parade/rainbow parade) but really what I should’ve said was we were going to see a parade of vehicles.
There were some cracking drag queens, some gorgeous dresses, a lot of beautiful people. Some brilliant signs. Check out some pictures of the parade below.
I was really pleased to see the Deaf LGBTQIA, and disabled LGBTQIA people in the parade. Plus a lot of community organisations and charities. I have thoughts and opinions about corporations and companies at Pride that I haven’t quite sorted out yet. A post for another Pride season.
There were no transphobes. Not that I could see. The news is all over the transphobes that invaded Manchester Pride, but the same didn’t happen at Cardiff. That had been one of my fears, having to deal with transphobia while my kid is with me. It was fun, though, he had fun and he had no real big questions about anything he saw, he took everything in his stride because this is actually pretty normal for him. All this colour and inclusivity. Though, on a quieter scale. He’d worn his pink tutu and new Cactus leggings – he chooses his own clothes – and was generally himself surrounded by people who were also being themselves.
My wife danced, I took photos and spotted Kelly and Zoey from Our Transitional Life and also a friend I’ve known for twenty years but not actually spoken to for almost a decade. She gave me a hug and we’ve been chatting online over the weekend.
All in all, it was great.
Food, Balloons, Bookshops
We had some really nice food in Cardiff. We found a nice fast food place that actually gave decent portions and was good food too. And we found a really nice cafe called Servini’s that we went to breakfast in on Saturday, enjoyed it so much we went back Sunday and also had some brownies and then left them a cracking review on Trip Advisor and Google.
One of my favourite things to do after a trip is to review all the amazing experiences I’ve had and the great service I’ve been given in places. I do review the bad places if it was really bad, but I go out of my way to let people know if a place has been really good.
Servini’s and the Lego Store got great reviews this weekend. I even did one of those store reviews they tell you about when you buy something on the lego website I was so impressed with the Lego store.
We also had a half-decent pizza and a lot of snacks and ice cream. We’re basically on fruit and fibre this week and little else!
We can’t resist a bookshop either. So we hit up the Oxfam bookshop and I really wanted to basically buy all five seasons of Babylon 5 and Stargate Atlantis on DVD, Snappy ate too many Pride skittles (they had some on the counter) and I can’t even remember what book I bought because I’ve bought a book since then and I can’t remember what that book is either. Bethend bought DVDs. An opera version of Cyrano De Bergerac that we have yet to watch.
We also nicked some balloons that were tied to a fence outside the Pride Cymru venue. Some Mylar balloons and a big P. I think we were a bit dehydrated. We left them at the hotel because at some point in the night I realised that we’d never get them on the train. Which was a great decision because, well, the entire journey was a nightmare.
I don’t regret going. I regret not taking shorts for myself or Snappy. Or any vests for myself. I regret how tired and ill we all were. I regret not meeting up with Kelly from Our Transitional Life but I’m not very good in real life, between the anxiety and introverted nature I just couldn’t do it.
We’ve learnt something for next year though. Skip the event, just enjoy the parade. Different hotel. Same cafe. Make friends.
We’ve also decided no more trips until we’re driving and have a car. There will still be times we’ll need to take the train, but as little as often. I can’t do these journeys any more. Not with my family to be responsible for.
Hopefully next year we’ll be driving to Cardiff.