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    Posted September 27, 2012 by
    Cardiff, United Kingdom
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    ‘Doctor Who’ turns 50

    A Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, UK.


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     A big and devoted fan of "Doctor Who," VeronicaIelo describes traveling to Cardiff this past August to get the ultimate Doctor Who experience was an adventure of a lifetime. "I recall thinking how everything was extremely well done," she says. "It was pure fun!"
    - Anika3, CNN iReport producer

    “So...all of time and space, everything that ever happened or ever will...

    Where do you want to start?”

    Where do I want to start? “I want everything and everywhere”, I'd reply. Hopping
    frantically up and down like a child on Christmas morning, while the metal floor of the TARDIS clangs under my feet and the Doctor stares at me with a half amused, half annoyed look and a smug smile on his lips.


    Now close your eyes and try to think what – or better, when and where – would you reply to such an incredible question. What if you could see a fantasy come true, what if you were the new companion of this old, crazy alien with a strange face and a blue box as a time machine? What if this mad man was willing to give you the entire Universe? Or, at least, to lend it to you for a ride? Just one ride!


    I'm almost 30, and on Christmas mornings I don't jump enthusiastically in front of my pile of presents anymore. Instead I drag myself from the bed to the kitchen and, even if I'm overstuffed with the Christmas eve supper, I am Italian and therefore get ready for a huge lunch with my family. Still, there's one thing that has never changed for me, although I did grow up. It was already there, when I was just a child about to start school: it concealed itself in the wobbly strokes with which I used to draw planets, stars and unlikely spaceships towed by my brother's scooter. It's still there, much more evident now, in the hours I spend consulting maps and street guides, in every single cent I put aside in order to buy low cost flight tickets and comfortable sneakers.


    This “fixed point”, you may have understood by now, is travelling.


    Moving, crossing spaces, wishing I could discover and make mine every place and every time I meet, never having enough, never feeling tired. This is the spirit (truth to be told, a bit obsessive...but I'm quite sure my madness would easily find a place on a certain TARDIS Type 40...) which, not only brought me close and stuck me with Doctor Who, but also drove me all the way from Italy to Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. Towards a precise point on the map: Cardiff Bay, Discovery Quay.


    Caerdydd (this is its Welsh name) is a bright and wet city, it is cold even in August (did I mention I'm Italian, by any chance?) and possesses its own flavour. I hope I'm not offending its citizens, when I say – to my eyes, Cardiff is above all an open-pit film set, a gigantic and beautiful diorama which makes you jump with delight, hold your breath, point your finger and exclaim every mile you walk: “This is where the Doctor first met Rose!”, or “This is the place where the TARDIS landed in Boom Town!”, and again “This is the American diner where the Eleventh Doctor meets the Ponds and River Song in The Impossible Astronaut!”. And so on, in an escalation of childish euphoria and nerdy sciolism.


    If you visit the city with this approach, some things are bound to happen: for instance, you might spend more time taking pictures of Howell's building exterior (the Henrik's where Rose works in the very first episode dated 2005, the same place the Ninth Doctor will blow up upon meeting her), rather than shopping inside; you most likely will feel the need to look for the right floor tile in Roald Dahl Plass (but only if you are a truly meticulous and diligent fan and follow the spin-off Torchwood as well); you could even witness, without so much as getting flustered, other nerds...ahem! - other...obsessed visitors trying awkwardly to emulate the Eleventh Doctor as we can see him at the beginning of the first episode of the sixth series, with a cowboy hat on his head and a toothpick in his mouth; finally, relentlessly, you would stride towards the peak of your experience.
    Fighting to dissimulate the eagerness, you would head almost running towards the Experience, towards the Doctor Who Experience.


    And if you are, as I am, other than passionate followers, a bit neurotic, you would arrive at least an hour earlier – babbling justifications along the lines of “What if they run out of tickets?!" - while gripping in your hand a piece of paper, the ticket you bought online and printed weeks before, that grants you the indubitable right to enter the Experience. In case you are – how can I put it? - exuberant enough, you could even try to excuse your inexcusable anxiety by whispering “I'm not that early! It's just that people assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.”


    But, it has to be said, once you reached this point, you don't really need to worry about what you might say or do: anyone being already there, standing in the queue with you, will be no doubt as sane and as stable as you are. Besides, once the door will open and a familiar tune will fill your ears, you will know the struggle is over: you'll be certain to find yourselves among your equals, no one will point at you, no one will give you dirty looks, you won't have to be ashamed of your enthusiasm anymore. In short, you will feel at home: you will be able to relax – no sooner to realize that the show tune unrelentingly playing is not your mobile phone ringing!


    Now, I could well dwell on all the wonderful things you would see, once the welcome speech is over and the real experience begins. I could reel off detailed descriptions of every room, every situation, every sight you will go through. I could even guess, with some precision, which emotion you will feel and when exactly. I could suggest you (I'm actually doing it) not to refresh your gadgets thirst just dropping in at the little shop at the end of the Experience, but to drive some miles more and dash all the way to London, to pay a visit to Forbidden Planet and most of all to Who Shop...
    After all, this is what this assignment is about: telling you about my experience.
    I wouldn't do nothing wrong, right? Right?


    Wrong! So wrong! It would be a huge and cruel...spoiler!


    So stop peeking in my diary and put your souls to rest: the only way to know more is to pack your suitcases and to leave bound for Cardiff, because I'm saying no more.


    With the exception of one last, so very important thing: don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink.


    Good luck!

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