From a cold awakening at 8 in the morning,Cardiff was,to me at least,a city of people not so preoccupied with themselves as as to ignore the stranger,the visitor,the bystander as I was.
Walking about the town centre,I found a city proud of its culture and it’s place,but outward facing too in many ways.Why,of course,city high streets nowadays are apt to look the same,fostering a corporate identity in the same brands,same promises,and same deals to be honest.Cardiff does,indeed,boast an array of shopping centres that any capital city would be proud of,but it’s population isn’t so gigantic so as to forget that it’s this home of humans and not things.
It was pleasing to say hello to a few people and here their responses.It is the sort of city during the day that didn’t seem to have an edge to it.
Although,like so many areas today,there is a fair amount of regeneration going on,it’s not so intense that is suffocates you.There isn’t a message here of “English go home”.Yes,I heard the Welsh language being spoken on mobile phones as a natural thing and not to marginalise .
Yes,this morning has been a snapshot,a moment in time ,but I did enjoy these hours very much.
Now,I return to this account of that Friday morning,only I want to contrast it with a visit to London that I made just this Friday.
Yes,by way of contrast,living relatively close to the capital ,train travel is very much an option,and a very agreeable on at that.Yes,I have so much more intimacy with London than Cardiff,with a good proportion of my life being spent, in it.
Arriving at Waterloo station ,I am always struck by the sheer relentless pace of London,and was so back in the 1970s too.You literally step off the train,and you are aware that you have to keep up,that people will push you,out of the way ,and that there isn’t time for the pleasantries of life so to speak.Wether it’s the population density,or the mix of humanity,or some other nebulous construct,you just get pulled along with it.By way of contrast,I found Cardiff far less edgy,and far more forgiving in their demeanour.Yes,to say that I ever need to ask for directions inLondon just isn’t true,but if I did,I would chose carefully before I did.In Cardiff,on the other hand,although I’d never been around the city before,I asked a number of people for locations,and they were all extremely helpful.
Now,I know that these points are anecdotal,but my observations count to me and are not concluded lightly.Why yes,Cardiff doesn’t have world famous buildings ,concert halls,iconic educational centres,but it does have a vibrancy without an edge that is not just attractive,it’s endearing and welcome.
As my day u folded in London,I looked for instances of the old London as I liked to call it,and I tried to observe wether the South Bank where I spent most of my time observing was really any better.Its one thing being told it’s better,it’s another feeling that it is.
Entering a restaurant that boasts world cuisine on the South bank only to leave again after 10 minutes because you weren’t seen for an initial order of drinks,doesn’t strike me as good service.Contrasting this with Cardiff,where the people were genuinely friendly ,less stressed,and had a real pride in their city.
London,our nation’s capital ,is ,of course,iconic,world famous,and towers above Cardiff in its sheer gravitas and size.However,as the capital of Wales,Cardiff has a blend of accessibility ,charm,and a personal magnetic is much that surprised me a great deal.
These were,of course,my snapshot impressions of a few hours of two locations,two visits,but they were my impressions,and I enjoyed writing about it.
Thank you for giving my blog posts your valuable time.