In the morning — well, at noon — our host graciously drove us out to the historic town of Bristol. It had been touted as a wonderful place to go and it lived up to its reputation.
Our first stop was the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Built in 18 something or other, it’s no Golden Gate Bridge, but it’s still quite an engineering feat. England gave us a proper welcome and dumped about ten inches of rain on our head about a minute after our gracious host sent us on our way. Our pants and shoes were soaked, but we took in the view from several angles nonetheless. A lovely start to a day of tromping around Bristol.
We then started wandering downhill and east. We checked out the quaint Clifton Village, not finding the hotel pub we were referred to the previous evening, but finding a few useful things like a double decker candy bar, a cash machine, a twisted candy bar (imagine a creme egg in the shape of a candy bar, because that dream does exist and is delicious), and a map. And some candy.
We headed past the Queen’s Hospital (built in 1536?) towards the free art museum that we’d been told had a Banksy exhibit. The line was about 1000 metres long, so we gave up on that and kept walking.
We happened upon a park or two, dodging the rain when we could, and generally had a pleasant, wandering walk. We hid from the rain on a boardwalk of sorts and watched some river traffic before visiting Queen’s Square on our way to our ultimate quest: seeing the new Harry Potter film IN ENGLAND.
We walked up to Castle Park and saw a castle, found a movie theater merely moments away, bought two tickets and went to the mall to scope out the raincoat scene for me. It was dreadful. Both the mall and the raincoat scene. I’ll keep using this borrowed one instead of the horrid poncho I bought thinking it was a regular raincoat with sleeves and all. Stupid.
At any rate, we still had an hour until the movie and seats in English movie theatres are assigned when you get your ticket so we went in search of lunch. We stopped in one place that was very cool but also very full. We kept walking around the old buildings and found an interesting place called Start the Bus.
It was awesome. The chips weren’t spectacularly prepared or anything, but it felt like… we sort of belonged. It was clearly a college pub and had music events and what not every few days (apparently Monotonix is coming in a month or so, but mostly they do DJ’s and stuff) and it had great artwork and character. After our visit to this hipster pub in Bristol we felt like we had seen it all, the new and the old sides if England, each competing for the limelight. To be honest, I liked both sides of Bristol. I think it’s a great city.
We arrived at the movie precisely when we meant to (oh, wrong wizard) and watched an English export in it’s home country. The movie was alright. It’s probably meant to be the Empire Strikes Back of the Harry Potter series. I don’t know because I haven’t read any of the books and have only seen a couple of the movies. It was good for £4.95, at least. Plus, I got to finally eat that creme egg candy bar I’d been hauling all over Bristol.
Our wonderful host drove all the way back out to Bristol and picked us up and gave us a ride back to the cottage where we built her a feast of pizza and asparagus and salad and vegetable bake thing and raspberries and cream and meringue. We spent the next three hours listening to stories and getting a word in when we could. I learned a little about waxing and they learned just how quiet I can be.
I tried to purchase my Paris train ticket for tomorrow but my idiot credit card company denied the payment, I think. Well, they sent me some sort of email about denying it and the site said it was rejected and I haven’t got a confirmation yet, so I assume I have to go do this in person, which sucks because the trains are sold out about 19 hours in advance. So maybe I’ll be spending another day in sodding, bloody England. Either way, it’s time I get out of the presence of girls and romance novels and incessant storytelling and go do my need for independence thing. Hopefully I can do it in France. Ha, “do it.”
I’m trying to keep positive about it. That’s what I’m trying to learn on this trip right? Something about “it’s not the destination it’s the journey or some crap”, right? Maybe I’m not cut out for that mindset. We shall see.