Bristol - it's good to be back

Bristol Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 87 › view all entries
The Floating Harbour

I love Bristol.  I really, really love Bristol.  Bristol is one of my favorite cities in the whole world.  It just has this great feel to it.  It's not really pretty, although it has pretty bits, but it's interesting, it has a lot of Indie nights and good places to go, and it feels like a real city to me.  It has a port, for a start, and some hills.  I always feel cheerful once I get there. 

This day I had been planning to go to the pictures with my Most Recent Ex Boyfriend, and he was meant to be there at lunch time but he missed his bus so he was three hours late.  As the most recent ex, I am not quite secure enough in the friendship to push him into the canal!  Actually, it worked out really well because I had three hours to wander about in Bristol on my own.

Millenium Square
  And that gave me time to shift the awful bug I had woken up with.  I had a sore throat, my skin hurt, my joints ached, and I had a snuffle starting up.  And no one wants to meet any ex, even a friendly one, looking like they were coming down with plague... 

I had driven in to town - I realise I am going to hell for my carbon usage, but it is a seven pound fuel bill rather than a fifteen pound train ride after a two and a half pound bus ride and the whole journey would take about an hour longer, assuming the trains were even running, which often, on the weekends, they aren't.  So I parked across the river in Bedminster and came into the town centre across the Avon, passed the weird old ruin thing, and in at the Floating Harbour.

Banksy mural on Park Street

The Floating Harbour was called that because it was one of the first city ports to use lock gates to maintain a constant level of water, allowing sailing ships to dock safely without having to worry about grounding at low tide.  The harbour is no longer used for cargo shipping, because modern vessels are far, far larger and come in at Avonmouth and Portishead instead.  But some of the old warehouses are still there, used as bars, cinemas and the contemporary art gallery Arnolfini, and the Floating harbour itself is home to some of the Bristol city ferries and some houseboats and yachts.  I decided that a chocolate crepe would cheer me right up nicely, so I went to the crepe stall at the head of the harbour, and then ate it by the side of the harbour.

Bristol UNiversity
  Then I walked through millenium square and went up Park Street.

Park Street is one of the most interesting shopping streets I know.  Somehow, a bunch of boutiques, vintage clothing stores, and non-chain shoe shops have managed to cling on here, as has the Bristol Guild shop which has loads of really interesting things in it too.  There is also a Banksy masterpiece on the side of a house.  Banksy is a graffiti artist who has become so famous that his works are apparently worth tens of thousands of pounds.  There are auctions.  This really puzzles me - if I bid £20,000 for a Banksy, having married some millionairre, is it mine but still on the wall?  Do you get the wall too?  How does the person who owns the wall come in to the equation, given that they probably think it's just a normal bit of graffiti? All puzzling.

Christmas Lights
  But this particular one belongs to the city of Bristol.  Apparently, the council did a survey and the city aid they wanted to keep it.  I've posted a picture.  It's on the side of quite a steep hill and by the time I got to the top I was starting to feel the bug again.  I was freezing cold and sweating like a runner, which is a bad mix. I took my germs into the cafe nero at the top and bought them a cafe latte to cure the shivering and some ice tea in the hopes that would count as rehydration.  That seemed to do the trick.  Then my germs and I went to the city museum to see the Icthysaurs.

The city museum and art gallery is a really nice, really free, municipal type museum at the top of park street, and it has some great fossils.

Floating Harbour
  There is also some art, some old aeroplanes, some ceramic doo-dahs and things like that.  But who can get past the fossils?  They specialise in the marine reptiles that were around at the time of the dinosaurs, and there is even a fossil of one that died when it was pregnant and one that must have been 10 metres (30 feet) long when it was alive.  Even better, on this day, they had the Shell Wildlife Photography competition winners which were totally stunning.  Of course, the sponsorship is kind of dicey.  There's a couple of amazing shots of elephants, and I got a couple of postcards for my mum who loves them, and some stunning landscape shots.  If you see the show touring somewhere, it is really worthwhile.  By that time it was almost time to go find my ex, so I did.
Near the Harbour
  

We grabed some food in Iguanas, a tapas restaurant that is near the floating harbour.  It was really nice, the food is always good there and the waitress was lovely.  Unfortunately, there were some really noisy eejits in the bar that night and they let off the fire alarm, which was annoying.  Ex put some rather harsh comments on the comment card, but I really don't think that restaurants can always prevent that sort of thing.  I'd still recommend it if you were eating before 6.30, as they have some great offers then.  There is a posher, more intimate sort of Tapas restaurant in Bristol that I slightly prefer, but that isn't a good place to take an ex, and it's a chunkier bill at the end.  Dinner was nice.  After that, we went to the Watershed to see the Dylan biopic.

Aeroplane in the City museum
  That's another thing I love about Bristol - there are three cinemas that show independent films and art house pictures right in the city.  And none of them are too expensive, either. 

Ex and I wandered off separately afterwards, and I crossed back to the car.  The M4 had patches of fog.  I wish the trains were cheaper!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The Floating Harbour
The Floating Harbour
Millenium Square
Millenium Square
Banksy mural on Park Street
Banksy mural on Park Street
Bristol UNiversity
Bristol UNiversity
Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights
Floating Harbour
Floating Harbour
Near the Harbour
Near the Harbour
Aeroplane in the City museum
Aeroplane in the City museum
Bridge over the river
Bridge over the river
Bristol Sights & Attractions review
Watershed is a three screen independent cinema and part of the European cinema network for European films. It is reasonably priced, and right on the … read entire review
Bristol Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Iguanas is a Tapas and Mexican restaurant in Bristol. It is average priced most of the time, and has great special offers before 6.30 including two f… read entire review
Bristol Sights & Attractions review
One word - Ichthyosaur! The City Art Gallery and Museum is a city museum at the top of Park Street, with free admission. And marine reptile foss… read entire review
Bristol Sights & Attractions review
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Clifton Suspension Bridge, built by legendary engineer Isembard Kingdom Brunel, spans the Avon gorge between Clifton (the posh bit of Bristol, where t… read entire review
Bristol Sights & Attractions review
The Arnolfini
The Arnolfini is an arts centre in bristol, specialising in contemporary art. It is not for everyone; many of the exhibitions I have seen here ar… read entire review
Bristol
photo by: petit_gooroo