A weekend in the English SW ...
For the August Bank Holiday Weekend I had the pleasure of staying with my friend Charlotte in Bristol. It was great to be able to catch up with this wonderful lady, after having met 3 years prior in the Philippines on a medical volunteer project. For the majority of the weekend we were outside of Bristol, exploring nearby towns and regions including Bath and the Cotswolds. But as Sunday came around we had a chance to wander around Bristol. It was great to explore the city with a local; we went out for a delicious brunch at Primrose Cafe in Clifton, an 'institution' as the locals called it. So clearly I was ticking off one of the essential Bristolian activities. Unfortunately, my eyes, as they always seem to be, were much bigger than my stomach leaving half my brunch left behind on the plate. Safe to say I was very disappointed in myself.
But on to other things... After brunch gave us our much needed wake up, we walked through Clifton Village towards the world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. We wandered past lots of beautiful and quirky shops and cafes, and even poked our heads into the Clifton Arcade filled with vintage and antique stores as well as art galleries. We walked up towards the Clifton Down and Clifton Observatory to get a good view of the bridge, one of the most notable landmarks of the city. It was also here that Charlotte educated me about every Bristolian's right of passage. Kids, this may or may not be 100% truth but I'm trusting in the locals. So, everyone in Bristol as they grow up, as kids, teenagers and young adults all gravitate towards the Clifton Down for one main reason. That reason being ... THE SLIDEY ROCK. Apparently this is the only name they could come up with and I guess it stuck, being so literal. Anyway so, long story short, you're not really from Bristol if you've never gone down the slidey rock. There may have even been some classic stories of conquering this life-event with wine glass in hand also. Now even though I am definitely not from Bristol, I was firmly told that I was not allowed to tell anyone that I had been to Bristol unless I had survived the slidey rock. So, Challenge Accepted! I waited until all the little kids had finished their fun and prepared myself for this life-changing experience. And off I went, minus the glass of wine, which would have actually gone quite nicely.
After all the slidey rock fun, we headed down towards the Harbour side. The weather took a turn for the worse and started raining on us but we still managed to briefly walk around the harbour taking in another key part of Bristol. Although the weather wasn't fantastic, we had been invited to a BBQ and living in England now, pretty much any weather constitutes as BBQ weather, since you can't rely on any forecast. We drove over the suspension bridge to another part of town, with the weather surprisingly clearing and walked into an incredible property with just the most amazing back garden I have ever seen. And when I say amazing, I am definitely not exaggerating. Firstly it was vast, lush and everything a garden should be, but the main selling point was the view. It overlooked the ocean and then beyond that ... oh just another country. Yep their garden view looked across the sea, at Wales. I would not be complaining if that was my view, definitely house goals. The BBQ was great, delicious salads, meats and G&Ts all shared with great company.
The following morning was the last of my four days in Bristol so I headed out for one more exploration. I decided to walk into town from Westbury on Trym (the area where I was staying) and enjoy the sun whilst it was shining. The walk took me about forty-five minutes and took me along the Durnham Downs, through Clifton, over Blackboy Hill and down Whiteladies Road. And no I'm not making these names up, these are real road names of Bristol, an ex-leading slave port which may be the reason for such strange road names. I found may way to the Triangle and Park Street. Park street is filled with lots of quirky, unique stores all the way down to the College Green and I even spotted two Bansky artworks on my way down.
I walked through the College Green, taking in the sights of the City Hall and Bristol Cathedral before walking down to the Harbour side. There was a food market on, and I just can't say no to a good food market. There were so many good food choices but I ended up choosing the Pulled Pork Burger with homemade BBQ sauce and slaw, and it sure was delicious. Even the biggest seagull of the lot was chasing after me for a bite, I'm deadly serious! I had to down it pretty quickly so that I wouldn't be attacked by it. For the remainder of the afternoon I wandered along the harbour, treating myself to an ice-cream, a '99 I might add and even ordered it like a local. I made my way all the way to the suspension bridge and then decided to briefly explore the shopping district before heading back home to collect my things and say goodbye to Bristol after a wonderful weekend.