Friday, March 14, 2014

First Impressions: Bristol

I'm not really sure where to start.
Stepping out of the bus station into the unknown I realised I had absolutely NO idea what to expect from this city.
I booked a bus here to spend the weekend with my friend Tom.
 I hadn't thought about what I would do to fill my time while he was working.
I guessed I would just relax.
I was wrong.
There is SO much here to explore.

While waiting for Tom I spent a decent amount of time people watching; there is such an interesting mix of people here, a lot of students wandering around the place, and the odd professional making their way through the crowd. 
Tom met me about half 5 and we went for a beer and a catch up before making our way to the harbour for dinner at this AMAZING pizza and cider place! 
It was a delicious first impression of Bristol!
He continued to show me the sights and the streets after dinner. I'm not entirely sure how much I took in, everything was so incredible and old and beautiful. Amazing cobblestone streets and pavements, beautiful old buildings with the most intricate detailing, just an all round impressive and stunning town!
I couldn't wait to go exploring the next day!!

I slept for hours 
It felt amazing.
So I didn't actually end up leaving the house till around 2pm the next day. And it was such a stunning day!!
Sun shining, blue skys, I even took off my coat and just walked around in a t-shirt. 
I was very impressed.

Walking into town from Knowle took me about an hour.
I stopped at nearly every street and every church for a photograph; every building caught my attention in some way. I couldn't get enough.
My poor camera battery.
I spent a decent amount of time at St Mary Redcliffe Church.
There were daffidols planted out the front and it looks so serene and beautiful, so, of course, I took a few photos here also.
I continued my walk down the river and through the beautiful public space that is Queens Square.
There is so much history in this small town, and in England in general, that there is so much to learn and understand. The construction of this square was finished in 1727, a good 40 years before James Cook had even first stepped foot on and mapped New Zealand land!! A large majority of the square was destroyed during the Bristol Riots of 1831 (this is about ten years before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed back home, just for context).
Things like this boggle my mind, some of the buildings here are older than our country's known existence.
They rebuilt the square and now have a high level of historical protection to keep it well maintained and preserved!
And because of this it is a very inspiring space immersed in history, surrounded with cobblestone streets and beautiful historical buildings!

Once I managed to pry myself away from here I continued on my walk around the river and visited both Arnofini Art Gallery and The Architecture Centre.
Both places are beautiful and filled with incredible examples of art and design. The Architecture centre was my definite favourite of the 2 with exhibition posters of award winning architecture around the world including 2 of Zaha Hadid's buildings and models and some incredible urban design work from Singapore!
The plan was to visit M-Shed (Museum) but as it was such a nice day I decided to follow the crowds to the waterfront, grabbed a hot drink and a crepe, and soaked up the sunshine while waiting for Tom to finish work.
That evening tom introdued me to his friends and we had a night out on the town, visiting different pubs throughout bristol. Everyone here is super lovely, some of the friendliest people I have met so far, and the night was a blast!
Sunday was yet ANOTHER beautiful day! I even spent the morning in my jandles :)
With the sun shining, and after a feed of nachos and coffee at Bristol's oldest coffee house, Tom and I set of on an adventure!!
We walked all around town, up to the university, and over to the suburb of Clifton to see the historical Suspension Bridge and the views it had to offer!
And it definitely did not let me down.
Opened in 1864 for the use of light horse and carriage traffic, the bridge stands out as a definite tourist hotspot of Bristol;
I wasn't the only one talking photos for once!
The cliffs of the Avon Gorge are insanely dramatic, beautiful, and incredibly impressive.
And that view.
That city.
All of it.

I was just blown away by this whole incredible area! The streets of Clifton are adorable.  A beautiful boutique looking suburb with the cutest shops and lovely facades, it is my favourite area of Bristol by far!

We made our way home, completely shattered from a weekend full of adventures and ready for an early night before heading off to Scotland the next day.
I couldn't have asked for a more perfect weekend

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