Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Cardiff Giant

Off-The-Ship Adventures in the Capital of Wales

Executive summary by darmansjah

SITUATED ON THE SOUTH coast of Wales, Cardiff was once one of Europe’s busiest ports and the largest exporter of coal in the world. After a severe slump that lasted into the late 1980s, the Welsh capital has bounced back as a cultural hub-with an edge. The city’s smartLy redeveloped waterfront has revived this town and helped propel it into the 21st century.

ART OF THE WORLD Every two years for the past decade, the National Museum Cardiff has sponsored the prestigious Artes Mundi Exhibition. Awarding the U.K.’s largest modern arts prize (US$60,000), Artes Mundi takes entries from all over the world and selects a single contemporary artist whose work explores social themes. During Artes Mundi, Cardiff Bay vibrates with activity while competing entries are shown at the National Museum of Art’s sic new contemporary galleries. There’s also an artist-curated film series at the Chapter Arts Centre and live music and theatre performances at venues throughout the city. For art to take home, hop on over to Craft in the Bay, a Cardiff Bay gallery that sells modern Welsh jewelry and textiles made by local artisans.

FORM TO TABLE At the Wales Millenium Centre, a bustling performing arts complex, Ffresh Bar & Restaurant turns out inventive seasonal cuisine using only local suppliers, with entrees like Black Mountain smoked duck. Gaze out giant windows with views toward the bay while sipping a fizzy Welsh lemonade. Meanwhile, the Potted Pig, located in a former bank vault, serves regional dishes, including Welsh rarebit and egg and soldiers (toast strips).

LOCAL LEGEND Follow in the footsteps of beloved children’s book author Roald Dahl, creator of
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the writer was born and raised in Llndaff, a suburb of Cardiff, after his parents emigrated from Norway. A blue plaque commemorates Dahl’s life and work at 11 High Street in Llandaff, a former confectionary whop where Dahl once placed a dead mouse in a candy jar. Walk along the public Roald Dahl Plass on the waterfront, and stop at the former wooden church where Dahl was christened. The building recently reopened as the Norwegian Church Arts Centre wit hits adjoining café, Norsk, offering Nordie nibbles such as sweet herring and gravlax. Both can be reached by way of the Cardiff Bay Trail, a 6.2-mile route that takes walkers and cyclists around the bay and continues to the seaside resort town of Penarth.

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