Back in October, I had a week off. It was lovely. I got the chance to catch up on a load of things, but importantly, it was also the week that the rugby unions released their Six Nations tickets. I tried to join two online queues – the English queue, and the Welsh queue, trying to get tickets for either Wales v Scotland at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, or England v Wales in at Twickenham. I wanted a Welsh match, as Matt is a staunch Welsh supporter, having decided that he was an adopted Welshman when he studied at Cardiff University. I, on the otherhand, am happy to support any and everyone.
An hour and a half later, I had successfully bought two Wales v Scotland tickets. I tried to book up a hotel at the same time, but that was where my luck ran out. Not a massive problem, we decided, as we would just catch the train in.
Yesterday, we set off at just gone 8am, drove to Worle, and caught the bus replacement to Bristol Temple Meads to head to Cardiff. I honestly don’t think I have seen so many kilts in one place before. The platform started to get quite crowded with a mix of scarlet and tartan, all very good natured and friendly. The trains were absolutely rammed, but we’d managed to find a relatively quiet carriage and settled in for the ride.
Arriving at Cardiff, the atmosphere ramped up tenfold. We’d been in the city on a match day before, but this was something else entirely. When I lived in Sheffield and Chesterfield, I ended up out and about when the local derbies were on, and it felt intimidating. I freely admit, I don’t get the lure of football at all, never have. I don’t really like catching the train back from Exeter when there is something on at St James’ Park, as again, it just doesn’t feel as good natured. Cardiff was completely different. Scottish and Welsh (or supporters thereof) walked hand in hand or side by side down the main streets, and there was a real buzz.
As Matt and I had arrived so early (kick off wasn’t until 4:50pm), we headed to the WRU shop so Matt could pick up a new shirt. Shirt bought, it was time for lunch. Last time we were in Cardiff, we saw loads of places that we wanted to stop at, one of which was Red Hot World Buffet (Matt’s choice, mine would have been one of the steak houses). It was a good idea – our non-paleo meal of the week could be literally any cuisine we fancied. It was an interesting lunch. I decided to start with some salad stuff and sushi, which was pretty good. For mains, I visited Tex Mex, Indian and Chinese. It was okay. Nothing to blow you away. I had a pudding course too, which was fruit and some small (bite sized) pieces of tiramisu, chocolate peanut cheesecake thing and a mango-y cake-y thing. The whole thing was just “okay”. There was nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t really enjoy it. I ate a bit too much (which is silly, as it was probably less than half of what I would previously have eaten, and I wouldn’t have touched the salad). I was definitely glad to get out and walk shortly after lunch. Matt felt similarly, though didn’t have the salad and went for two rounds of different cuisines.
After lunch, I bought a back up SD card, having left mine at home in my laptop (plonker!), and then we headed back towards the stadium to check where our gate was. We still had a couple of hours to kill, so took a walk in Bute Park.
There were quite a lot of dogs being walked, and I decided that humans could definitely learn a thing or two from spaniels. Now, from experience, I know spaniels are the craziest. Blue smartie crazy. So it came as no surprise that this cocker spaniel raced around at a million miles an hour, checking everything out. He looked so happy to just “be”. Puddles? Great! Mud? Brilliant! Humans? Epic! Squirrels? Totally! Life? Amazing! Despite appearing completely scatterbrained, he was also trained (I’m a strong believer that you should invest the time to train a dog well if you’re going to make the commitment to have one). The quietest of calls from his owner, and he was at heel. When asked to sit, it was immediate.
Eventually they headed off in a different direction to us and we carried on up past the fitness trail. It was a really nice walk, despite the chill. I can’t remember when, by my UP3 buzzed to say I had hit my steps target, and by the end of the walk I had clocked up around 13,500 steps. I was pleased about that, as I had decided not to do my Fitness Blender workout on Friday. I was also pleased I’d managed so far, as I had bought some new boots on Friday. My trusty Merrells had started to get a hole in the back of them and I would have cut my heel up something awful if I had worn them. I was in two minds as to whether to try and break in new boots for so long – I like to live dangerously…
We started to head back and got to our gate at about 3:05pm, then waited for the gate to open at 3:20pm. After a bag search and a small queue, we were in just after 3:20pm. Our seats were up in the gods. I don’t think my legs were quite ready for the number of steps we had to climb. It was definitely worth it though – the view was great!
The pre-match entertainment got underway, the roof closed (thankfully – it was freezing!) then the anthems were sung, and the match started. I really enjoyed it and sang and chanted my way through with both the Welsh and Scottish supporters. I’ve had Bread of Heaven and Flower of Scotland stuck in my head ever since.
After the match, we headed back to the station via a long (voluntary) detour and hopped on the train back to Bristol. The replacement bus service was still in effect. This was definitely the longest bit of the day. Anyway, we arrived back home at 11pm and hotfooted it to bed. My last look at my UP3 step count was 20,882, which I think is my record since wearing the UP.
Today has been mostly about recovering from yesterday with some pottering around the house. I ended up with a blister on my toe, so I haven’t wanted to put shoes on today. It has been a really great weekend though – I haven’t had such fun in a long time. October will see me sat at the computer waiting in a virtual queue for Wales v England or Wales v Ireland tickets next year. In the meantime, we’ll be back at Millennium Stadium for Judgement Day in April.
Have you had a good weekend? Do you watch the rugby?