Another day that started blue and warm but passed through some horrid weather. While we loved Clifton Common, it was very cold on the top deck of the open topped bus!
We searched in vain for the mythical Starbucks that Mirinda’s little friend assured us was just up the road. We found a container. Actually Mirinda declared that she was standing in it while in the middle of a small road beside a big hotel. Never trust an iPhone is what I get from that. We decided to walk up to the Starbucks we’d actually seen yesterday.
After a lovely breakfast of muffin, luxury fruit toast and latte, we wandered into the city centre to catch the open topped bus beside the fountain. We had ten minutes to wander around before it left. I was surprised to find there were actually other people out and about, ready to tour the city.
We boarded and were taken on a lovely tour of Bristol, hearing once more the stories we’d already heard or read about. It’s quite funny the way Bristol claims John Cabot as one of their own when he was actually Italian! Still, the city of Bristol did fund the Matthew and it’s trip to America. Apparently the rumour is that the mayor of Bristol at the time was Richard Amerike and Cabot simply named what he found after him.
There are other theories as to the origin of the name but I quite like the idea of Cabot landing and calling it America after the mayor only to have it renamed Newfoundland, which is pretty boring. Fancy having a country named after a dog.
Speaking of names, Bristol means ‘the place at the bridge’ in Old English, because it was the only place where you could cross the river. This bridge was around for a long time but then, as transport grew so did the needs of the bridge and so a bigger, tougher was built which they then built shops on. This was then widened and the buildings removed. The bridge is still there (albeit a different one many times over) and is a main crossing over the river Avon. It’s now called Bristol Bridge which, if you think about it, means the place at the bridge bridge.
Now, of course, the most famous bridge is Brunel’s magnificent suspension bridge at Clifton. What a fantastic piece of engineering! It spans the Avon gorge, supplying magnificent views in both directions. At least it would on a nice day. Today wasn’t a particularly nice day so the photography opportunities were few and far between. Here’s the best shot I could get, looking across it. That’s Mirinda on the left with her earmuffs and big coat on.
We walked out to the little viewing point at the Clifton end but Mirinda started to get wobbly legs so we only stopped for some photos then walked back into Clifton, where we visited the Christchurch church which has an exact replica in Shanghai. It’s to do with a bunch of missionaries who craved their old church so much they decided to build one exactly the same. I’m not sure what the Chinese thought of it. it probably looked quite odd when they’d finished.
After a stroll around the big, open church, we headed off to Cote for lunch. Mirinda wanted to experience the joys of a restaurant chain that she loves in Farnham but, sadly, the restaurant had other ideas. It was full. Actually the Cote in Clifton village has a big thick curtain, like the one that separates business and cattle classes in domestic aircraft. There were plenty of empty tables so maybe we weren’t dressed appropriately.
Crestfallen, Mirinda led us to the Bombay Spice, ostensibly because she wanted to go to the loo. We sat, the only customers, and had a quite enjoyable Indian meal for lunch. The Kingfisher was lovely. And we did manage to avoid the downpour by being inside. This was the second time we’d managed this feat as it had poured down while we sst in a small cafe trying to get a coffee and a hot chocolate even though we appeared to be invisible.
After a stroll around the streets of Clifton village, where we found a lovely Georgian square, we rejoined the tour bus for the trip back into Bristol.
We decided to forego the dubious pleasures of the open deck and sat downstairs. The tour guide had also decided the bottom deck was preferable. We enjoyed his patter all the way back to the bus stop near the hotel were we left the bus.
Back in our hotel room, we had a cup of tea/coffee after I convinced the hotel staff that they did actually have coffee in their stores even though the two foreigners I asked claimed they didn’t. To be fair, the hotel is pretty good and I’d recommend it to anyone wanting something nice and clean and close to the city centre and the man station. Just don’t run out of coffee!
It was soon time for Mirinda to make the lonely (apart from an annoyingly reticent Linda) drive back to her student accommodation in Bath. I lay on the bed and watched a very entertaining hour of football, enjoying Birmingham’s defeat of Arsenal in the Carling Cup final. I then popped out to the King’s Head for a pint of 6X before returning to the room feeling pretty happy.