Our excursion to Cardiff began before the crack of dawn at 5:45 on a Saturday morning. Actually, for one of my friends and I, it began with a brisk morning sprint as we dashed from Pegasus Courtyard to the Carriage House for some things we had forgotten. We made it back just in time to be picked up by a nice, snarky cab driver who thought we were crazy for wanting to visit Wales, the “sheep-shagging country.”
Little did we know when we got in that cab that it was only the start to a traveling experience that would render us experts in almost every mode of ground transportation possible.
My friends and I embarked on our first Harlaxton rail experience—the 6:18 train to London. After a short caffeine break in King’s Cross station and a photo stop at the legendary Harry Potter Platform 9 ¾, we made our way to the London Tube, which we took down to Victoria. From there it was a short walk to the Victoria Coach Station, where we boarded a coach and settled down for a three hour ride to Cardiff, Wales.
Except three hours turned more into four when our coach was forced to bypass a traffic accident and then come into Cardiff from a long, roundabout outside road. The reason for the blocked main roads soon became apparent as my friends and I hopped off our coach—straight into a veritable ocean of people.
Of course . . . we had picked the day that Cardiff was hosting not one, but two sports matches—rugby and football. We still had a twenty minute walk to get to our final destination, and a good bit of this walk was spent fighting our way through masses of eager, painted fans like fish swimming upstream. Fortunately, by the time we got to Cardiff Bay, the crowds had thinned out, and instead of death by trampling, we now simply faced the threat of being knocked off our feet by the gargantuan gusts of wind blowing in from the bay.
And so we reached our coveted destination tired, cold, and windswept—peering up through our tangled hair at the beautiful blue sign that read: The Doctor Who Experience. Yup, we were three faithful fangirls, willing to brave everything and anything to spend less than two hours in a museum dedicated to what we believed to be BBC’s greatest television series.
Which is exactly what we did. Two hours of flying the T.A.R.D.I.S., escaping Daleks, avoiding Weeping Angels, squealing over David Tennant’s Converses, and posing for pictures next to every possible rendition of that iconic blue telephone box. We stopped in the gift shop on the way out, and then it was time to retrace our long, arduous way from coach to train to Tube to taxi until we returned to Harlaxton at 11:30 that night.
All in all, I think we spent over twelve hours traveling and only a fraction of that time at the actual Doctor Who Experience. But it was all part of the adventure. For me, it was my first and probably last trip to Wales. And for three hardcore Whovians, every microsecond of the trip was worth it.
Until next time . . . Allons-y!