I’ve finally made it to Bristol! I’ve been planning this trip/study abroad for months now, and I was so dang happy that I arrived in England after many months of anticipation.
I touched down in London bright and early Tuesday morning, and promptly caught the coach to Bristol (I quickly learned that in the UK the word ‘bus’ is used for busses that run within a metro area, and ‘coaches’ run from city to city covering long distances––this was the first of many miscommunications between the British and myself… don’t even ask me about the bag vs. pound dispute). I was so tired from not sleeping on the flight that I slept the entire two hours on the coach, and unfortunately, did not wake up refreshed upon arrival.
Thankfully, my hostel (The Bristol Wing) let me check in two whole hours early, so I was able to take (another) nap before heading out to discover the city. Back to the hostel though because it’s real neat. The Bristol Wing is inside an old firehouse that has recently been transformed into a hostel. There is a huge open courtyard enclosed by the old red doors where the firetrucks were housed. As a bonus, the courtyard has so so many plants, including succulents (although, I don’t know how they get enough sunlight, but that’s none of my business). The interior of the hostel is carefully painted in graffiti-esque style, which was quite hip and cool.
Now, onto the things I actually did in Bristol.
Castle Park: Situated fairly close to my hostel is an actual castle! Well, the remains of one at least. It’s basically just the walls and the vaults, but it’s still pretty cool! This one was the first castle that I’ve seen in real life so that was real neat. The garden was my favorite part, however (but is that even a surprise). It had lots of plants, AND BEES! The park is situated upon the River Avon, and it was quite nice sitting along the river and trying to get my brand new phone to work (except when it overheated immediately and I had to take it back to the store). The phone is an Android. I don’t think it has a camera and I’m not sure that it can download apps––both of which the person who sold it to me said it could do.
The Bristolian Cafe:Several months ago I read this stellar review of The Bristolian Cafe, and knew that I just had to give it a try. I got the vegan breakfast and an almond chai. The breakfast came with beans, mushrooms, potatoes, scrambled tofu, and eggplant (excuse me, aubergine) fries. The food was great, good, and fine. I’m not a food writer, so I’ll skip describing it to you and instead tell you about a weird thing that happened to me. As I was waiting, this woman sat down at my table with me and began smoking a cigarette and telling me about her life. We covered her kids, the untimely death of her parents, and what she did with the money that was left to her after their death. Ultra strange because there were multiple empty tables surrounding me. As she finished her cigarette, she stood up and sort of vanished into the misty morning. I don’t think that she bought anything.
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery: Did you know that Banksy is from (or at least the style used by Banksy) is from Bristol? As an art history major, I did (I Googled it a few weeks ago). The Bristol Museum’s website says that they have art by their ‘local boy Banksy,’ which intrigued me. However, I couldn’t find any work by their local boy and when I asked the gallery assistants where to find the work by Banksy they sort of looked at me confused. Maybe that’s the point? Regardless, the museum was interesting––and humid. There wasn’t any air conditioning, which made me kinda sad for the paintings inside. I hope they’re okay. The room with the Modern paintings had a dehumidifier and a fan, so that’s something! Plus I was able to see Grayson Perry’s ticketed exhibition The Vanity of Small Differences. Update: I Googled it, and apparently the Banksy is right at the front and I just missed it.
Clifton Suspension Bridge: Once upon a time we had a speaker at Truman that was doing research on comparing the Clifton Suspension Bridge and ancient Egyptian artifacts. I don’t remember the details, but they’re not important for this really. I was planning to walk across the bridge, but then I looked down and then further down to the river flowing below. Nope, nope. The gorge that the bridge crosses is quite deep. I guess you could say that I’m afraid of heights or whatever, so I decided to just look at the cool bridge rather than walk across it. It looked nice, so I came out winning by not falling into the river.
Things I’ve Learned:
St. Mungo’s (the hospital from Harry Potter) is real. Except it’s not a hospital, but instead a charity.
The British hate Trump as much as we do.
Whenever you ask a cafe to give you an iced vanilla coffee they’ll blame your weird order on being an American (probably true).
The birds are bigger here.
I think that I need to learn the difference between backyard and public garden because the differences aren’t that obvious here. Yikes.