I am deeeeetermined to make it through this alphabet, y’all.
I visited Bristol for the first time last weekend and fell in love with the easy vibe, the art all over the walls (and art shops everywhere! I spent so much money…), and the unguarded friendliness of the people I encountered. I went on an open-top bus tour and the driver called me “baby” in the sweetest way a male stranger has ever done. I was struggling to get to the stairs as the bus was booking it down the street. He said “Be careful, baby” like I was his favorite niece or something. It was precious.
I only had one whole day to visit (two nights), and the start of my trip was not promising. When I got out of the coach station, I of course whipped out my phone and started up Google Maps. I was directed up a smallish hill towards the main road. It was drizzling out and I was carrying (along with a duffle bag and purse) a paper bag with a salad from Pret inside. After crossing the road, I followed Google Maps like a good little lemming and found myself at the bottom of the steepest hill I have EVER seen in my life. It was called Marlborough Hill.
I cursed Google Maps and got going. As I huffed and puffed uphill, students passed me — all on their way down, of course. I shouted all the expletives I knew in my head and kept going until I reached the top. My heart rate gradually slowed to normal as I got nearer to Clifton House, a privately owned B&B on the edge of the University of Bristol’s campus. The woman who welcomed me was super friendly, which took some of the edge off my irritation. My room was on the top floor (of course) and as soon as I opened my door, the bottom of my now damp paper bag ripped and my salad container burst open all over the floor. Did I mention that it was a quinoa salad? That’s right — little bits of quinoa eeeevvverrrywheerreee. As if to punctuate my grand entrance, the trash I’d kept in the bag fluttered in all different directions, and my empty drink can rolled down the stairs I’d just climbed.
After I cleaned everything up, I took a moment to plop down onto my bed and look at my room. It was a single so it was quite small, but perfect for one person. Everything was so clean! There was a sink and vanity with tiny bottles of shampoo and body wash on one wall. Across from that was the door to the shower and toilet. On the desk facing the large window at the front of the room sat a small flat-panel TV, a kettle, and a tray of teas, coffees, hot chocolate, and biscuits. The moment I put the kettle on, I felt 10x better. I don’t have any photos of the room because as soon as I finished cleaning up that salad, I flung my stuff all over the place and relaxed my face off. Since my salad was no more, I eventually decided to venture out for dinner.
Now that I was in a better mood, I was able to appreciate how lovely and relaxed the atmosphere of the city was. On my way to the restaurant, I saw street art, pretty buildings, and I made a note of several shops I wanted to visit the next day. The food was just OK at the place I visited, but the beer was excellent. Walking back to Clifton House, I got more and more excited about the next day.
The next morning, I’d planned to take advantage of the free brekkie, so I set my alarm for 8:30am. When I woke up and tried to lift my head, my whole body screamed at me. So much aching. I wasn’t going anywhere for a while. Eventually, I got up and out, ready to tour the city. While I waited for the tour bus, I sat in a courtyard surrounded by the Wills Memorial building and had some breakfast.
After that, I checked out the wildlife and Egyptian exhibits at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
On the tour bus, we pretty much made a loop around the city. I learned about what a huge role the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel played in the city’s (and world’s) evolution (he built the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, the SS Great Britain; he developed the Great Western Railway; he also designed one of Bristol’s best known attractions, the Clifton Suspension Bridge.), I saw Cabot Circus and other hot spots around the city, learned lots of interesting trivia, went up to Clifton and Durdham Downs, saw the famous suspension bridge, and a cloud shaped like a heart.
After the tour, I stumbled upon Tea Birds! I’d heard of the place before, so I was happy to have found it in time for lunch. I had salmon & goat cheese sandwiches and a bowl of butternut squash soup. Yum. Then I had a look in a bunch of shops. A couple of different shops sold what looked like new books for only £3 each! I got a couple of books, a Matilda print, a cool pillow, and a few other bits and bobs over the course of the afternoon. I also found the Christmas Steps!
I wandered all the way down, and grabbed some cider on my way back up.
I wish I’d been there around Christmas time. I bet they do everything up nicely there 🙂
As full as my day was, I really wish I’d had more time to spend there. I had so much fun that I started checking out estate agencies there, hahaha. I definitely wouldn’t mind living in Bristol. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d love it. I’m definitely going back ASAP.
Have you been to Bristol? What should I do on my next visit?