Last year, we celebrated my birthday in Vienna on a 5 day city break, with its 20 or so christmas markets . This year, we are celebrating in Cardiff the capital of Wales, just over 10 miles down the road from Newport. We booked a hotel in the centre near the railway station, and took the train on Friday morning for the 10 minute journey.
Lovely hotel and checked in in line with all the restrictions. The hotel had a restaurant, and we booked both our evening meals for Friday and Saturday, as restaurants have to close at 6pm, and are not permitted to serve alcohol. Hotel restaurants are allowed by law to open between 6pm – 10pm for residents only, although not allowed to serve alcohol. We could have ordered wine for our room, which is permitted, but it was obviously cheaper for us to bring our own, which we did.
Spent an enjoyable afternoon having a street food lunch in the Christmas market, and walking around Bute park, the green heart of cardiff. Had a really nice meal in the hotel, and to start with, we had the whole restaurant to ourselves.
Saturday was a beautiful day, and we walked to Cardiff bay via the Senedd Cymru (Welsh parliament building), the World Harmony Peace statue and the Norwegian church en route to the barrage which maintains Cardiff bay – without it, the area would be vast mudflats and low tide. Back to the Christmas markets for lunch again – this time, a delicious french raclette (cheesy potato dish).
After a mid afternoon break in the hotel, out again to see the Christmas markets at dusk to see all the christmas lights – very festive with large crowds. We managed to have a gluwein (strong mulled wine with a shot of brandy) from one of the market stalls.
All the pubs and bars are NOT permitted by law to serve alcohol in Wales, but takeway alcohol IS permitted, so we took advantage of this for a festive tipple in the street.
This rule is of course ridiculous, and makes a mockery of the alcohol ban in restaurants, pubs and bars, particularly at Christmas. Back to the hotel for an alcohol free birthday dinner, and a few glasses of wine in our room afterwards.
Sunday was a very wet and windy day, and we were so lucky to have had a lovely day on my birthday. Took the train back to Newport and a taxi, arriving home just before noon.
In the meantime, rates of coronavirus in wales are still soaring, and the Welsh government measures of banning alcohol in pubs, bars and restaurant is not having any effect in suppressing transmission rates. Wales’ firebreak ended on Monday, 9 November, with new nationwide restrictions coming into force. During the week between 2 November and 8 November, the final week of the tighter restrictions, the case rate in the country was 206.2 per 100,000 people. In the weeks after, this number fell to 170.6, before climbing to 192.3, then to 231.6 by the end of November. The figure now stands at a record 403.8. The week before the firebreak lockdown it was 234.5.
The worst-hit counties are Merthyr Tydfil (764.2), Neath Port Talbot (718), Newport (634.9), Caerphilly (602), Blaenau Gwent (601.2), Bridgend (586.9), Swansea (580.6), Rhondda Cynon Taf (564.9) and Torfaen (503.4). All of these counties are in the south and south-east of Wales. click source