from Bath, England to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Bristol Travel Blog› entry 9 of 68 › view all entries
I had a BritRail pass, but Philipp did not have money for the train, so we decided to hitch hike around 6:00. Observing that the vast majority of cars were sub-compact, it seemed unlikely anyone would stop to pick up two additional passengers with huge backpacks and I was on the verge of giving up after nearly 120 minutes. Just then, however, a little blue car pulled over and a kind fellow offered us a lift. He dropped us off in the center of Bristol and directed us toward the bridge to the suburb of Clifton.
Philipp and I split a four-pack of terrible English beer as we approached Clifton Suspension Bridge. The night was already dark when we crossed Avon Gorge and reached the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.
When the bombardment was over, we followed the drove of fairgoers to a hill overlooking the main event, Saturday Nightglow. The inflated balloons swayed gently over their grounded baskets in the dim field below. As music played through the sound system, the pilots choreographed their timing and fired each burner to the beat. As the propane ignited in each lifting envelope in succession, vibrant colors emerged from the illuminated fabrics like giant lanterns.
After the fiesta closed, we took a bus to the rail station, but I missed the last train into Cardiff by 25 minutes. The two of us walked past Saint Mary Redcliffe to the local YHA (Youth Hostel Association) and found it as full as every other place in town due to the festival, although we did convince the attendant to care for rucksacks until 6:00am. Free of our luggage, we meandered through town observing the wild nightlife until 3:00 in the morning. The city of Bristol is full of churches, fountains, and modern art (architectural) sculptures.
Thoroughly exhausted and having seen most of the city, we took a much needed break on a stoop atop a hilly street. The early morning hours became much cooler as we ran out of the energy to speak. At 4:00am, we returned to the town centre by the hostel and hung out with a hot chocolate at Barista’s listening to the waiter’s INXS CD. An hour later, we made the 15-minute walk back to Bristol Youth Hostel to stay warm in the TV Room and dozed off on the sofas for a couple of hours.