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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bristol

I departed for Bristol at around 8:30.  It was a 2 hour train ride with some sleepy and excited Erasmus Students (European exchange students).  Going into the trip I only really knew my two Italian friends and a French friend.  The way they talked i was only expecting this trip to be the 4 of us but when they rounded the corner at the train station there was 15 of them from a smattering of countries, as i would find out as the day progressed.  We arrived in Bristol around 10:30 and immediately started trying to get our bearings.  Luckily there were a series of signs that directed us to important things, such as city center and tourist information.  On the way to get information we found this (apparently) really famous cathedral the St. Mary Radcliff.

Now any one that knows me knows that Cathedrals dont interest me too much but this was kind of interesting.  Apart from my growing appreciation for architecture this Cathedral really struck home... Literally... Admiral Sir William Penn is buried beneath its floors.  Yes the same William Penn that "Penn's Woods" or... Pennsylvania!  There was also this pendulum type thing with a truly chaotic rhythm.  It has not been able to be predicted by mathematics at all.  

After the Cathedral we ventured toward the city center with free maps that we picked up at the church.  We stumbled upon this huge silver ball which in fact was a planetarium.  Towards the south side of Bristol there are a few man made channels for small boats to access... much like amsterdam or venice i'm told...



We then found the tourist information so we made our way to this famous suspension bridge.  It was absolutely amazing!  We hiked our way to the top of this hill which was basically set up as an overlook.  (I suppose i dont need to describe it much and can just post another picture haha)
Well this bridge was hundreds of feet above this muddy river.  There was actually a guy rock climbing up the face of the cliff.  On the way back down from the top of the hill there was this section of rock where kids were sliding down.  The rock was rubbed smooth as if it had had a river run over it for thousands of years.  It was smooth enough that you could get a decent amount of speed while sliding down it.  There were some parents/grandparents with their kids watching them as they slid down.  Our 16 person group stopped to watch for a while and the mother convinced me to give it a try.   Me and my one Italian friend were the only one to try it and of course she made me go first.  It was very bumpy and by the bottom I was going fairly fast.... Stopping was interesting... Im not sure exactly how i stopped but i think i popped up just like i would sliding into a base in baseball (all those years of baseball have sure paid off :)  .  I exchanged a few words with the father as i climbed back up the "slide" and he said that it gets faster in the summer because the rock is dryer...  He also gave me pointers for stopping better, but i quite like my way...


After my rock sliding adventure, we all decided to get lunch but as we quickly found out, none of little pubs or restaurants around the Clifton section of Bristol could accommodate a group of 16.  We split up into 3 groups and I ended up eating at a little pub called the somerset house, where I enjoyed some home made chili and some chips (fries).  After lunch, we met up with the rest of the group and continued exploring the city.  We saw some interesting things on our way to the next stop on our self guided tour.  Let's see... a tea shop called the Boston Tea Party... (seems wrong that they'd be proud of that...), a store window with a guy boxing a lion.... (not sure why...) and a giant roll of toilet paper marking a bathroom....  Anyways so our next stop was the University of Bristol because their main building is basically a huge cathedral.  We couldn't really explore too much with out a student ID so we just saw the main building and took pictures basically haha

After the University, we split again because different people wanted to shop or explore etc.  Personally I wanted to explore some more.  We found this really awesome little market called the corn exchange.  It was both indoors and outdoors and had just about everything.  Anything from jewelry to fossils to hats and t-shirts to music.  It was nice to see something not real touristy in the city.



Leaving the Corn Exchange we decided to mozie on down to the mall and see what there was to see there...  There was a nice little park across from the mall but other than that it was your typical mall.  Supposedly this was one of the largest malls in the UK but its still a mall...  

By this time everyone was getting tired and we still had about 3 hours until we had to catch our train home.  So we picked out a nice coffee shop and chilled there for about an hour before half of our subsection of the group decided to try and catch an earlier train because they were tired and had flex tickets.  The rest of us had a bought set train tickets so we were down to a group of 5 of us... an American, a Brazilian, a Greek, and 2 Portuguese...

We decided to meet up with the other half of the group at a pub that was closer to the train station.  Most of us enjoyed a pint while listening to a pretty good acoustic band.  


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After the pub we made our way back to the train station where 13 tired international students boarded a train to our temporary home.  On the ride we exchanged stories of our true home and the exciting day we had.  All in all it was a great day and i'm glad i went :)


Until the next adventure... Cheers!


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