Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
To be exact, that's the BBC's mega-hit science fiction television shows Doctor Who and Torchwood, which both film in the city. One of the first stops for visitors is the stunning redevelopment of Cardiff Bay, which is the headquarters for alien-fighting organization Torchwood lead by Captain Jack. Oh, and there's also a rift in the fabric of time and space over the bay that allows pesky aliens to occasionally fall into Cardiff and cause mayhem.
While dodging Daleks and other little green men, there is plenty to see in modern Cardiff with museums, shopping, beautiful parks and even a castle.
Creating Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay is a marvel, mainly because it's only existed for about a decade. The bay was created by building a barrage at the mouth of the Taff and Ely rivers to form a freshwater lake. The derelict docklands area was regenerated with high-end apartments, shops, the construction of Roald Dahl Plass (named for the beloved children's writer) and its centerpiece, the Wales Millennium Centre.
Riding on the Métro
At first glance, Paris' subway system – Métropolitain or the Métro, as it's commonly known – looks confusing with its 16 lines and 300 stations. However, the Métro is the most efficient, convenient and economical way to see Paris and its environs. If you know the number or color of the line you want to take and the terminus station at each end, it's actually quite easy. Follow the signs inside each station, making sure to look at the terminus listed, as this will let you know you're going in the right direction. You'll also see the list of stops.
Running in tandem with the Metro is the RER (translation: Regional Express Network), which are commuter trains that run further into the suburbs and makes less frequent stops. However, many RER trains stop at well-known spots (like Notre-Dame), so consult your map and remember the RER lines are lettered A to E. You can purchase a Paris Visite travel card for one to five days (a three day card for central Paris is €20, approximately $26 at current conversion rates) or simply buy a carnet, a stack of 10 individual tickets (€12) that is good for one trip with transfers on the Metro, zone 1 of the RER (central Paris) and even the buses. For more information visit www.ratp.info.
The Photographers' Gallery is tucked away in a tall, narrow building on Ramilies Street, just a block from the Oxford Circus Underground station (or the Tube as it's commonly known). Now through Sept. 19, The Family and The Land: Sally Mann, a retrospective of the celebrated American photographer is on exhibition. It's not for the faint of heart. The show includes the controversial images of her three children in suggestive situations and oversized images of decomposing bodies from the Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Center. Between these two jaw-droppers are the haunting images of Civil War battlefields in the American South that retain scars from the fighting. For many of the photos, Mann used the wet-plate collodion photographic process, which involves coating a large glass negative with chemicals and exposing it while still wet, often in the back of her truck after a shoot.
Pro tip: Make sure to check out the gallery shop, which has one of the most impressive selections of photography books in the world, and stop for a sandwich or cup of tea in the airy cafe, which also hosts free talks and events at lunchtime weekly. Admission is free, but consider putting a donation in the box located in the gallery lobby.
For something completely different, take the Tube to Temple station and walk just a block to The Courtauld Gallery on the Strand. Located inside the circa-1875 Somerset House, the gallery has one of the most stunning collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in the world. In its elegant, high-ceilinged rooms, there is an iconic piece of art just waiting to be discovered: Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear; Manet's melancholy A Bar at the Folies-Bergere; Gauguin's Nevermore; and work by masters Rousseau, Degas, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and more. The upscale cafe offers an excellent lunch menu and a large outdoor dining area in the Somerset House courtyard. Admission to the gallery is £5 (about $8 at current exchange rates).
London is full of parks, squares and streets with interesting shops that many tourists miss. Here are a few worth wandering off the beaten path to see.