A quick visit to Bristol

img_6367img_6365img_6366img_6369The travelling aspect of my life has been very quiet lately, with the extent of my exploring mainly being that of Google Scholar, or the inside of a McVitie’s biscuit tin. However, I did take a little trip to Bristol the other week, and with an afternoon visit to see my friend slightly changed by lecture times, I had a couple of hours to look around.

The first place I stopped at was College Green. An area that I assume is usually popular, had a significant amount of visitors that day because of its temporary memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Overlooked by Bristol Cathedral, hand-stitched shrouded figures were laid out to represent the 19,240 killed on the first day of the Somme. The sheer number of shrouds present was very moving, and gave me a similar feeling to that of the minute’s silence that took place at a rugby match the following day. The exhibition was brought to Bristol after its great response in Exeter, so there’s a possibility that it may be recreated in another location in the future.

Next I took a walk along the harbour side, passing a mini imitation of Paris’ lock of love bridge along the way. I even popped into the souvenir shop, but avoided all of the ‘I heart Bristol’ gifts to briefly look at the slightly less stereo-typically tourist aimed selection of Banksy cards and prints. I also took a look through St Nicholas market, which is full of food outlets, second-hand book shops, and record stalls. The Christmas stalls were set up just outside, should you be looking for any independent gifts or stocking fillers.

After wandering around for a while, cake was predictably on the agenda. The first place I found was the Playground Coffee House (45 St Nicholas Street). Although I didn’t stay in there, because it was full (always a good sign), they have actual swings for you to sit on, and board games to play while getting your caffeine fix.

The Stock Exchange Bakery (34 St Nicholas Street) was where I actually stopped. Named after the building that it inhabits (the city’s old stock exchange), this cafe has such a warm and welcoming atmosphere – from the original features decorated in fairy lights and cute cushions, to the lovely staff. The business started out selling just bagels, but now offers a wide range of delicious pastries, cakes and sandwiches. If you’re in Bristol, don’t miss it!

The last stop of the day was Pinkmans Bakery (85 Park Street). This bakery also makes all of its cakes, breads and pizzas in store, and being on the edge of the University area of Bristol, appears to be popular with students. Although I’m much more of a tea drinker myself, I’m told that the coffee is very good here. I didn’t take any photos of the bakery because I was too busy chatting, so you’ll have to trust me when I say that the setting was very nice.

I started writing this post sat in The Stock Exchange (to finish it over a week later). But sat there on a Friday afternoon, with a salted caramel chocolate fudge brownie and unopened textbook in front of me, with Dolly Parton’s 9-5 playing on the radio (how ironic), I had one of those ‘life’s really good’ moments (don’t worry – I know how cheesy that sounds). Maybe it was my sweet tooth’s satisfaction, the oncoming catch up with a good friend, or just wandering around somewhere different by myself. One thing I do know though, if it had anything to do with Bristol, I’ll be visiting there more often.

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