We started off today by walking down to Cardiff Bay, which is a lovely area to stroll around in and is chock full of locations that have appeared in Doctor Who. Some of them are looking a bit different right now - there's a carnival fun fair going on in Roald Dahl Plass, and the water tower sculpture that marks the entrance to the Torchwood hub is currently covered in giant stickers of strawberries. Still, I got some good photos of the tower and Millenium Center.
It was raining on and off through the morning, so we ducked into the Pierhead and later the Welsh National Assembly building to get out of the rain. The Pierhead has some cool Victorian terra cotta tile work, and few nifty odds and ends on display, like the binnacle from the ship that carried Scott on his ill-fated Antarctic voyage. It's not a place I'd recommend making a special visit to, but it's a nice spot to shelter from the rain. The Welsh Assembly building is actually pretty interesting, although it would have been still more interesting if the Assembly had actually been in session. There's a visitors' gallery above the assembly chamber that allows you to watch the proceedings, and a glass-walled corridor that you can walk along and look into the committee rooms from.
And then we were off to the Doctor Who Experience. Possibly more accurately described as the "Daniel patiently takes photos of Wendy standing next to Doctor Who props and grinning like a loon" Experience. When you walk in, the first thing you see is the 3rd Doctor's car, Bessie, and a Dalek made of Lego. If you can tear yourself away from those delights, and the temptations of the souvenir shop, then you can enter the Experience proper.
For the first half-hour, you're led as part of a group of thirty-odd people through an audio-visual experience that feels a bit like being dropped in the middle of a slightly silly webisode. The conceit is that the Doctor is trapped in the Pandorica Mark 2, and has been trying to get a signal to Amy and Rory, but instead he's reached you, a bunch of people out shopping. So, your job is to find the TARDIS and help the Doctor escape - which involves getting in the middle of a Dalek war, passing through a room full of Weeping Angels, and even getting to help fly the TARDIS. (Children get priority at the controls. There was one "child" who is two days short of her fortieth birthday working the navigation controls, but I promise you, I made sure that all the actual kids had a spot before I jumped in.)
The second part of the Experience is an exhibit of props and costumes from the series, old and new. They have costumes from each Doctor, sonic screwdrivers, Daleks, Cybermen, replicas of various TARDIS consoles. I took tons of pictures.
I had a blast, and even Daniel, whose interest in Doctor Who is much more casual, enjoyed it. I recommend it. (They'll be closing in September so that they can update it for the new Doctor. Which I guess means I have a perfect excuse to plan a return trip.)
We had a late lunch at the Bosphorus restaurant on Mermaid Quay, which in addition to serving tasty Turkish food, happens to have been the spot where the 9th Doctor, Rose, Mickey, and Jack Harkness had breakfast in the episode "Boom Town". Captain Jack, alas, was not in evidence today.
We spent the remainder of the day lazing around, drinking tea and reading and soaking up the Cardiff atmosphere. It's been a nice break from the hecticness of London. Tomorrow, we head back to the hecticness of London.