1) Karen has helped drag my rusty techno-savvy into the post-2006 world. Sort of. The Twitter hashtag for the ASW will be: (drumroll, please)
Be twitterific and multiply!
2) Those of you coming by plane can find info on transport to Cardiff City Centre here: http://www.tbicardiffairport.com/en/airport/
For bus transport in Cardiff, go here: http://www.tbicardiffairport.com/en/airport/
For train transport in Cardiff, go here: http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/Home.aspx
For a somewhat interactive Cardiff map, go here: http://www.cardiffwalesmap.com/CardiffMap.htm
Cardiff Uni and the BBC NOW use Dragon Taxis: 02920 333 333. There's also Premier Taxis at 02920 555 555, and another taxi company that uses all 7s. The main taxi pick-up is out the front of the train station, although there are usually a couple lurking through the side and back exits. You may also see lurkers hovering around the Queen Street Station.
3) A few people have asked for a sneak peak at Saturday's concert programme. Here you go:
Beethoven, Clarinet trio in Bb Op. 11 - Movement I Allegro con brio
Brahms, Clarinet trio in A minor Op. 114 - Movement IV Allegro
Brahms - Albumblatt (A minor, Op. Posthumous)
Berg - Piano Sonata Op. 1
Schoenberg - Op. 11 No. 3 -Bewegte
Ravel- Oiseaux Tristes, from Miroirs
Ravel- Jeux d'eau
Faure- Op. 119, Nocturne no. 13 in B minor
4) As you know, you'll be on your own for dinner Friday and Saturday, and lunch on Monday. To aid with that, my colleague, CU Art & Architecture Librarian, Sarah Nicholas, made an awesome map of her favourite eateries that are in easy walking distance to the hotel and School: http://g.co/maps/3p3g5
To go with her awesome map, she included these reviews:
The Potted Pig, 27 High Street, CF10 1PU
Much lauded (and deservedly so) modern British food, with a twist. Excellent value for excellent food. Advance booking recommended on 029 2022 4817. Closed on Mondays. The same company run the less-well known The Meating Place at 41 St Marys Street, which is a continuation of High Street, away from the Castle (http://chameleongroupcardiff.com/the-meating-place/ ).
Laguna Kitchen and Bar, inside Park Plaza Hotel, to side of New Theatre, Greyfriars Road, CF10 3AL
Offers good food in a mildly fancy atmosphere. If you like your restaurants quiet with white linen napkins and two types of wine glasses, you’ll love this place.
Bellini’s, 1 Park Place, CF10 3DP
Italian restaurant with unsurprising menu. Giant pizzas. Friendly service. Entrance is right next to Thistle Parc Hotel.
The Red Hot World Buffet and Bar, 3-6 Hills Street, near Debenhams, St David’s Centre, CF10 2LE
Chain restaurant with a set price for an all-you-can-eat buffet for the terminally indecisive. Surprisingly popular considering the oppressive black decor, so consider booking on 029 2034 2499.
The area near the Cardiff Central Public Library, on Mill Lane, has a good number of restaurants, including chains such as Wagamama (www.wagamama.com/locations/showlocation/652 ). If you fancy a trip to Cardiff Bay, for its innumerable restaurants and bars and the notable Bosphorous Turkish restaurant on the water (www.bosphorus.co.uk ), catch a number 6 BayCar bus, every 15-20 minutes, on the opposite side of Greyfriars Road to the New Theatre (weekends and evenings only, route diverts in weekday), for £1.70, correct fare only, one way.
Cardiff Arts Institute, 29 Park Place, CF10 3BA
Sometimes music venue, catering to student food choice and budget. Conveniently located between the School of Music and the Thistle Parc Hotel.
The Pen and Wig, 1 Park Grove, CF10 3BJ
A proper pub with acceptable pub food. Usually convivial, sometimes very lively, atmosphere.
Dorothy’s Fish Bar, 39-40 Caroline Street, CF10 1FF
For the authentic Cardiff dining experience, head to Caroline Street aka Chip Alley, in the early hours of the morning, queue for chips and cheese or chips and gravy, then eat them standing on the street, and watch the drunk, though friendly, people stagger by, trying to steal your chips. Good fun.
The Crockerton, Greyfriars Road, CF10 3AD
It’s too large and there’s no atmosphere, but it offers a standard Wetherspoons’ menu, fast service and is within 2 minutes of the Thistle Parc hotel.
Gwdihw Cafe Bar, 6 Guildford Crescent, CF10 2HJ
Achingly trendy music place. Expect to see many unironically-bearded young men. Good value, if very limited, food menu. Closed Mondays.
One of our Sunday presenters, Dr. Sarah Hill from the CU School of Music had this to add...
On the university side of town:
* there's a very good, but pricy, restaurant at the Park Thistle. I would recommend it as a place for a drink.
* the Park Plaza has a good restaurant, and the lounge works well for smaller groups of people. We've taken Bird lecturers there, and have been able to get light bites in the bar for not very much money
* Brown's (across from the Hilton) is sort of my default spot for post-Bird lecture dinners. There's a cheaper menu pre-7:00, and a rather byzantine series of menus to choose from thereafter. Good bar, and a small selection of appetizers for sharing (or not) if you're just sitting in the bar
* there's a new Cuban restaurant next door to Brown's which I'm going to try soon. Looks like a good place for mojitos and burritos, though coming as we do from California, all this is relative.
On the other side of town:
* Casanova's is a lovely, very (very) good Italian restaurant. It's very small, but there's a function room upstairs where you could probably reserve a table for 15 or so. Not expensive, and certainly as authentic as you're likely to get in Cardiff
* The Corner House has recently opened, and although it's part of a larger chain (though there's nothing obviously 'chain' about it) it's pretty reliable for drinks and gastropub food. It's over by Mill Lane, so a bit of a hike.
You'll receive an eating out guide from the county marketing board, and will probably also receive some sort of food guide from the Thistle, but if you ply relatively-recent CU grad Sarah D'Ardenne (from RNCM) for recommendations, then you'll have the official Tri-Sarah-Tops list!
Apologies for that. ;-) For what it's worth, I've enjoyed light lunches at The Plan cafe in Morgan Arcade, and the Embassy Cafe in the Community Centre (from the School: east on Corbett Road and up Cathays Terrace). For reasonably priced buffet-style bog-standard pub grub with plenty of tables and decent loos (you can see my priorities after a day of heavy shopping), I go to Pillars, which is in a huge basement accessible from the north side of Queen Street, west of the Thistle, and fairly well marked with standing placards and menus on the pavement.
At the end of the day, the Thistle Parc Hotel is on Cardiff's main high street, and there are lots of new eateries as part of the nearby Saint David's 2 development (we even have a *gasp!* Jamie Oliver restaurant). If nothing else, you're bound to have fun exploring.
and... I think that's it! Whew! See you soon!
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