It’s been a long day, and much of it wasn’t enjoyable! I don’t do crowds at the best of times, but three lockdowns, working from home and barely seeing family and friends in groups bigger than four, means I’ve become a partial hermit. Therefore, getting on a train and coming to a city has been stressful! More on that later.
Travelling by bike means we had to pack light. We each have two panniers, a handlebar bag and a seat pack. My cycling essentials are in the handlebar bag… my phone, snacks, gloves, tissues, purse… you get the gist. The panniers contain toiletries, my evening wear and two sets of cycling gear. I’m wearing a third set… one on, one off and one to be washed. My seat pack has the emergency kit that I hope I don’t need… things like waterproofs and warm clothing. John also has the extras like the tool kit, first aid kit, chargers and so on… well he is stronger and faster than me!
Once we were ready, we set off, cycling up the river to Rhyl to catch the train. Thankfully, the train arrived on time and we managed to find the carriage with the bike racks. Unfortunately, the train was busy and we had to keep asking people to move so we could remove the bike luggage and lock the bikes in place. We found a seat and settled down.
The train got busier and busier and we hoped it’d be quieter once a lot of people had got off in Chester. We couldn’t have been more wrong. For some reason two carriages were removed and everyone had to squash into the two remaining carriages. So much for social distancing! I was really anxious surrounded by so many people, and worrying whether the bikes were ok.
When we got to Shrewsbury we had to change train. Messing with the carriages meant we were delayed and we and other passengers were worried whether we’d catch our connection to Cardiff. Once again we had to move people out of the way to put the luggage back on the bikes and get them ready to move. Thankfully everyone was helpful, and we only had to cross the platform to catch the next train, making it in time.
The next half of the journey seemed to take forever as the train chugged along, stopping at every station. At least it was quieter. We ate our butties, looked out at the beautiful scenery, and watched the air conditioning dripping in the aisle much to the amusement of the children sitting next to it.
Finally we arrived in Cardiff, exiting the train onto the packed platform. Outside was no better as we followed the cycle way up to Cardiff Bay, picking our way through crowds of people enjoying fresh air and freedom. Lôn Las Cymru follows the Taff Trail along the river, past the Principality Stadium.
It’s a pretty route and it was lovely to see everyone out and about, even though they hindered our progress. After a stop at a stall for a coffee, the crowds thinned out and we soon reached The Village Hotel in Coryton, where we’re staying. We’re now relaxing in our room enjoying the peace and quiet before joining the crowds downstairs for dinner. Hopefully tomorrow will be more peaceful! At least we have a massage to look forward to, as well as meeting up with Martin and Tracey.