We arrived in Cardiff on Friday night from Scarborough via Manchester. Upon arrival we jumped off the train and moved as quickly as possible. We spotted a cabby out front of the station and asked him to take us to our AirBnB. I had put the address into google maps on the train an hour before and noted it was about a 5-7 minute trip at best.

Our cabby stared back at us with an extremely vacant look. In his almost non existent English he queried our request. We told him the address again and at that point he strolled off to find a colleague to ask him the directions. I felt I could have helped quite easily if I just sat up front with him and used my iPhone.

After further input from his colleagues he was delighted to offer us safe passage for the next 4.5 minutes #5 Westmoreland Street. Anyway, we left the cab and were met by our lovely host Ann. Ann is a graphic designer with two adult children. She gave us a quick familiarization tour of the house in the Canton area of Cardiff.

Ann left soon after for a family dinner and we left soon after that to the corner shop for supplies for the England vs Fiji rugby game about to start on TV. We soon returned with several “tins” and a take away menu for Nadia Tandoori. Order placed we were 45 minutes away from curry heaven.

When the fella delivered the bag of goods as promised we plated up and sat down for kick off. Fast forward 85 minutes and result. England wins and I am happy. So early to bed for Saturday was to be huge in every way possible. At 0700 the alarm went off and preparations began for the walk into town to rendezvous with other Canadian fans at the Prince of Wales pub on Mary Street. We soon got out the door and were in Cardiff city centre by 08:30.

We hopped off the bus at Cardiff Castle and took a few photo ops. Then across the street to a South African (Bry) BBQ and two psycho sausages. Well I think we overpaid for our psychos however I think we got redemption later that day when Japan beat the BOKS in the dying moments of their game for the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history.

From the moment we arrived at the P.O.W. Pub shock and awe took over. A sea of red jerseys, hats, touques, scarves, etc etc. You would have thought you were in Vancouver before an Olympic hockey game. We met fans from Victoria, Edmonton, Montreal, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Newfoundland and many others. Some had made the trip from Canada, many of them live and work in London.

We had a few beers and some good craic (Irish for laughs) and then focussed on the procession to the game. On the way in we were greeted by several Emirates Airlines flight attendants who wished to pose with us for several photos. It’s tough being popular. We then had our back packs searched, tickets scanned and in we were. Millennium Stadium is enormous. 65000 seats and everyone full. They sea of humanity in green and red was really cool to experience.

We were in the nose bleeds but by mistake found our way into the beer lineup on the main floor. That naturally took us turf side to watch Ireland warm up from just several meters away. We sensed things were about to get going as the teams left the field so we began to walk back up the stairs. To our surprise there were two isle seats 8 rows up from the field on the try line. These are $1000.00 seats so why wouldn’t we just sit down and pray that the drunk Irish fans that either got arrested or passed out in the pub were not going to show. And they didn’t. Kick off to full time in luxury once again.

Game over 50-7 for Ireland but it was a fabulous experience no matter the outcome and Canada had some really good play in both halves. We left the ground and walked out of the city centre to a local pub that just so happened to be packed with very happy Irish fans. Thankfully they were very gracious in victory and took pity on us. We quickly got to chatting with a couple from Northern Ireland who were fountains of knowledge for our trip there later next week.

From there we made our way back to Canton by way of public transit and as such were rewarded by meeting two little future adult offenders that caused me to wish injury to them. Never done that before (weird). We hopped off the bus in front of one of many Kebab shops in Canton, so when in a Pakistani enclave of Cardiff do as the Pakistanis do (they say). Some chicken and some lamb my friend? Yes please my friend.

We tried to finish it but it was not god’s will. Half of mine went in the bin. Mental portions. So then home to Ann’s BNB and off to sleep ASAP. Up this morning at 0630 for the cab at 7. At Cardiff station for 7:15 and then southbound to Paddington station, Waterloo, then St Pancras for the train and bus to Luton airport. I write this blog from seat 1A on Easy jet flight 4918 to Rome. As we sit on the Tarmac waiting to taxi out to our runway some complete idiot of epic stupidity has decided to lock herself in the bathroom for a smoke. We are now sitting with the defining sounds of the fire alarm. The captain is making the decision as to whether she be arrested and removed. Maybe we will get to be sky marshals?

Until tomorrow.

Bono notche.


  1. You can have all the walking, Mark… now I’m jealous 🙂 Can you believe it was 7 years ago we had our boys in Cardiff? Good to be back, I bet. Congrats on the completion of the walkabout.

    I’m just in the Harbour Air Terminal in Van watching AUS defeat Fiji. Japan vs. SA… what happened there?

    See you soon and enjoy the rest of your trip, bud.



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