Beloved Bristol!

Last weekend, Ellie, Lauren and I set our sights on Bristol. After being tipped off by a co-worker at the casino about a month ago that I shouldn’t neglect it on my tour of the UK, we booked our bus tickets and off we went. We left at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday meaning that we had to wake up at 5:30. It was a unique feeling to be the only two people on the tube, it almost made the tube more glamourous like the ultimate limo waiting to pick us up to jet off to holiday. The only thing it was missing was the strawberries and champagne. I am getting carried, but honestly, my face is smashed into some suit-wearing Brit’s armpit at 8:45 every morning usually so this extra breathing room was luxury.

Upon arriving at the bus station, we sat about eating croissants and blackcurrant jelly, waiting for the bus driver to apparently locate his keys that he had misplaced. Our bus was ultimately heading towards Cardiff, Wales so there were a lot of Welsh folk aboard. Bristol is very near Wales as you can in the map below. It is on England ’s west coast.

The bus ride was really lovely as London seems to be the most beautiful at sunrise as it comes up over the buildings and apartments and roads and shops. We slept a little and watched the countryside go by until we arrived in Bristol .

Our first mission was to find our hostel and then get something to eat. It tooks us about 2.5 hours to arrive there so we were starving for breakfast still. Once we found our hostel on St. Stephens Street , we dropped off our luggage and asked the French woman at the counter where we could get good vegetarian breakfast. Well, she pointed us in the direction of Wetherspoon’s which is a chain but we were so hungry that we just went for it anyway. I got a nice beer ( we live in England after all) to go along with my sub-par veggie breakfast. It certainly wasn’t Alice’s or Blue Heavn. After that we set off to explore and walk around. We walked through the Saturday market which was charming with little stalls that sell mostly tacky things but some really good smelling food stalls as well. We decided that since there was actual sun shining on our faces, we would walk to Clifton suspension bridge. It was about 45 minute walk and took us straight through the center of charming Bristol. Lots of shops and beautiful university buildings and lots of people drinking their Saturday coffee in little cafes.


These are called the Christmas steps. Normally there are shops here but they were closed for the weekend.


The Bristol National museum

When we arrived at the bridge, we walked up the hill to overlook and breathe in the clean non-city air. The bridge was gorgeous with the avon gorge below it over 200 feet in the air and the lovely colors of the mountain rock it was built on.







It’s so nice to be in nature without an agenda or having to walk five hundred miles an hour to catch the tube before it leaves the platform. After spending about an hour looking at the bridge and taking some photos, Lauren and I decided to do something truly Bristolian. I had read that there was this bit of mountain that all Bristolians have slidden down as it is smooth and slippery and takes you down a bit of the mountain. Ellie couldn’t believe that I actually wanted to do it since I was wearing a dress and tights, but somehow I convinced Lauren to do it as well. As we decided we noticed there was a boy of about 3 years old sliding down this mountain with reckless abandon. His name was Cazimo and seeing how tentatively we were climbing over the railing, he offered to help us by sliding down again and giving us pointers.





Cazimo does it again and again!

The slide wasn’t that slippery or fast but we drew quite the crowd as I’m sure many tourists thought we were crazy for sliding down a mountain or maybe I was just showing my bits and pieces to the world or probably both, but it was pretty fun and worth the rip I received in my tights.


Victory!


After we slid down we walked along the bridge and noticed how many runners and cyclists there were. The entire time we were in Bristol we noticed how much people exercise and how fit everyone seemed to be. It never looked obligatory but rather like people who truly love exercising on a Saturday afternoon in the freezing winter.

We decided to get a cider at this really cute pub and afterwards we returned to the hostel to change our ripped tights. On the way there though, I had one of the most amazing moments of my life. I saw a real Banksy. A big huge Banksy.



We ended up staying in the hostel and making some cocktails in our room and with the best intentions of heading out for Thekla, an indie dance club on a canal boat on the river. We didn’t end up going though as we were just exhausted from the bus ride and the work week.

Funny thing though is that I could hear really loud music from the hostel window and their was an announcer and I thought that maybe their was a concert of some kind going on and then I heard the killers and I was so excited because I thought the killers were playing a concert right next door to the hostel and I was going to get to hear them from my bed, I even told Ellie “wow they sound so good live” and after they finished their first song, a rap song came on, Jay-Z or something and I realized I was just listening to a really loud club after all.

The next morning we awoke well-rested and after taking showers, we headed out to get some breakfast at this little café called revival and then we wanted to walk around the river.







Bristol has really artsy parts about it. I like it because it industrial, artsy and nature-oriented all at the same time. There is very little about Bristol that seems like it is fake or trying too hard.

Near the river there are really cool fountains and sculptures like this big silver ball in the middle of the restaurants and shops.




Along the river there are really cute seafood restaurants on boats and little cinemas. We stumbled upon this art gallery called Arnolfini.

It is a modern art gallery that was simply amazing. It was exhibiting one guy’s work and the installation that caught my eye the most was this one where he had the lights dimmed to make shadows on the wall and these objects were spinning on carousels making amazing shadows but the objects were normal things that didn’t relate like toys, plants, water bottles etc.

After the gallery we went and had some lunch at fresh and wild which is like whole foods and also had the most amazing clean tasting beers from this brewery called zero degrees. It was the best beer I have ever had, like blue moon but more citrus.

We had a really nice weekend and if I ever get the opportunity to move to the UK again, I think that Bristol might be somewhere to consider home.

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