Live blog: Visiting Cardiff whatever the weather this winter

[Originally posted on on January 15, 2010] I’ve been in Cardiff for a few days this week, and head back to New York tomorrow. Meetings, meetings, meetings. With just an odd minute here and there to catch a breath and see a bit of Wales’ capital. With snow on the ground at the start of the week, then slushy snow, then rain, and now drier warmer conditions, we’ve certainly had varied weather.

St. David's CentreThe good news is that the sparkly new St. David’s shopping center affirms Cardiff as a year-round city destination. I loved wandering around the split level shopping areas, warm and dry. The new center links into the original St. David’s shopping center, making a huge shopping mall which also connects with the Queens Arcade.

And Cardiff is an easy walking city. Just outside the shopping malls and I was steps away from the edgy new Central Library building with six floors containing 900,000 books. Continue reading

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36 hours in Mid Wales

[Originally posted on on September 17, 2010] Presteigne, Offa’s Dyke, Llandrindod Wells, Elan Valley, Montgomery…

After spending two nights in Mid Wales, straddling the border with England, this has become one of my favorite areas of Britain. It’s certainly easily accessible by car from London, Manchester and Birmingham airports – all with direct routes from the United States.

Milebrook House hotelSnag two nights at Milebrook House hotel. The location is exceptional, surrounded by farmland and its own beautifully manicured gardens. In the restaurant, if the ingredients aren’t from the chef’s kitchen garden, then they’re from local farms.

A world away from my usual New York soundtrack, I awake here to the bleating of sheep and birdsong. The hotel’s location is perfect for exploring the surrounding historic market towns, stately homes and stunning scenery… Continue reading

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36 hours on the Isle of Anglesey, part two

[Originally posted on on May 26, 2009] Day two of our live blog from the island of Anglesey, and a spectacular day of exploring. Huge thanks to our Wales Facebook fans who gave thoughts on their favorite places on Anglesey…

Tre Ysgawen Hall is truly a majestic setting, and what better place to awaken for breakfast than at this great Victorian mansion hotel. I was set to continue the day reminiscing Victorian-era Anglesey as I headed towards the town of Amlwch.

Parys MountainAs I drove through pretty villages, the landscape started to become more colorful as the iron ore hinted hues of red and terracotta on Parys Mountain. Parys Mountain Copper Mines are a “must-see” for visitors to Anglesey… I parked the car amidst the colorful terrain and walked about 10 minutes along the “Industrial Heritage Trail.” The view across a large opencast copper quarry is stunning, firstly for the vivid colors of yellows, reds and purples, but also for the dramatic chasm itself. Continue reading

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36 hours on the Isle of Anglesey, part one

[Originally posted on on May 25, 2009] Welcome to today’s blog post; coming live from Anglesey…

Menai StraitAfter a long drive across the width of England and Wales, I was pleased to finally cross over the Menai Strait, arriving on the island of Anglesey. This is a beautiful part of Wales. The sun was shimmering across the narrow stretch of water dividing Anglesey from mainland Wales, and I immediately headed to a village with one of the longest place names in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – just to take a photograph of the railroad station name… cheesy photo opp’, I know, but a lot of fun. And it impresses my American friends that I can almost pronounce that place name! Continue reading

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36 hours in Swansea

[Originally posted on on May 30-31, 2009] After full-day meetings in Cardiff over the last few days, I’m now in Swansea for just two nights before flying back to New York. Here’s a kinda’ “36 hours in Swansea” –style blog post…

Swansea CastleI’ve always loved Swansea but was never quite sure why. But on this visit – my first “proper” visit to Swansea for well over a decade – I think I’ve sussed out the reasons. The Maritime Quarter, marina and Swansea Waterfront are stunning, especially yesterday which seemed to be the best day of the year with temperatures in the 70s and sunny blue skies. Then there are the museums, all with free entry: National Maritime Museum, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Museum and the Dylan Thomas Centre. Then there are hidden gems like the Arts Wing of the Grand Theatre. The people in Swansea are really friendly (I looked lost with my head buried in a map a couple of times, and everyone offered to help direct me!) and the busy downtown shopping and entertainment center is scattered with historic Victorian buildings and Swansea Castle and Castle Square taking center stage. Continue reading

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