Bristol - it's good to be back
Bristol Travel Blog› entry 8 of 87 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!