With son and daughter-in-law away on holiday, we planned to use their Bristol home as a base for a few days of cultural saturation. It didn't turn out quite as we expected but we had a good time and here are a few pictures from the visit.
We arrived on Monday afternoon in heavy rain. After a whole summer of practice, we knew there was little point in waiting for the rain to stop so we donned raincoats and went for a walk, intending to finish up at a restaurant for dinner. We plodded and splashed our way to the top of Two Mile Hill but no open restaurant did we find, so we turned around and splashed our way down again. Then we spotted a Chinese Take Away with these friendly figures inviting us inside.
Lin, the charming owner, introduced us to the Lucky Cat and served us the very best take-away meal.It wasn't quite the evening we had anticipated but we were saturated and we experienced something of a different culture.
On Tuesday the rain was torrential rather than heavy. We headed for the harbour, planning to view the modern art in the Arnolfini, to visit SS Great Britain and Explore @Bristol. My googling had suggested that all of these venues were closed to the public for the week but my husband was convinced that I must be mistaken. I wasn't. We had arrived between seasons, the very week when new exhibitions and activities were being put in place ready for the autumn.
Walking along the rain-washed quay, we spotted this gloomy figure. It was John Cabot, probably contemplating his own frustrated journey in 1496, when he was forced to abandon his expedition and return to Bristol. A year later, he set off in his small ship, the Matthew and 'discovered' North America. This replica of the Matthew was built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his voyage in 1997.
Alongside the Matthew in the floating harbour was the eco-friendly trimaran, Earthrace.
Both vessels are 78 feet long, one uses renewable fuel in the form of biodiesel and the other depends on the wind.
500 years ago it might have taken two years to circumnavigate the world in a ship like the Matthew, Earthrace has just set a new record of 60 days.
Wet but undefeated, we walked to the nearby Shakespeare Tavern. Built around 1725 as a merchant's house, it has been a tavern since 1775. It boasts some beautiful stairs and panelling and
this doorway into the road behind the inn. Who knows what was out there in the eighteenth century?
Wednesday was dry and even sunny so we went to Bath. More on that tomorrow.