The clouds had cleared out and the sun was again shining. My daughter and I headed out to the Cardiff Library for a quick visit and to check out some of the shops in The Hayes, the pedestrian mall, which the Library anchors.
We had heard several stories about "Chippy Lane" and the late night adventures of my family in Cardiff in the wild days of their youths We managed to find it - but, alas, we were there too early in the morning to sample any food.
Still having the car, we decided to take a run out to Caerphilly to see the castle and for some lunch. Luckily for us, it is pretty much a straight drive north from downtown Cardiff, so we were able to find it. We bought sandwiches, crisps and tea and sat underneath a canopy of trees near the castle and ate our lunch.
After a walk through town, we stopped by the tourism office and had a lovely chat with one of the staff members - who could tell by our accents that we were Canadian as she had family on the Prairies. She recommended stopping at Castle Coch on our return to Cardiff.
I am glad that we did take her advice as we had a wonderful afternoon exploring Lord Bute's medieval fantasy - in another beautiful setting. The drive back to Cardiff was slow with traffic, but we didn't get lost!
My cousin met us at our hotel. She was a descendant of Elizabeth (Ball) Edwards, an elder sister to my great grandfather, Thomas. We headed down to a nearby pub for a drink and spent some time sharing stories of our childhoods and families. Again, it felt as if we knew each other for years - despite the fact that we had only recently found each other doing family history research online. I loved her laugh and she made me think of my Dad - who had the same infectious laugh and attitude.
As we boarded the train at the Central Station for Bath, I was so happy that we had come to Wales. I been able to meet the descendants of John, Henry and Elizabeth Ball - making the connection with my Thomas who left Penarth in the late 1890s, never to return again. As our train disappeared into the Severn tunnel, I couldn't help but think that I would return as there was so much research to be done, so many things to see and do.
Our trip continued onto Bath, London and Paris and many new adventures and memories. However, for me, Wales was the highlight of the trip.