Wet, Windy ... Enchanting Weekend

Enjoyed another weekend away … in Bristol, this time.  The city isn’t far from Bournemouth, but I’ve never been.  Didn’t have any plans to visit any particular historic site, so decided to have a spontaneous ‘explore’, which is somewhat out of my comfort zone.

The railway station is a beautiful piece of architecture … didn’t realise at the time that the ‘old part’, which I didn’t take a picture of, was the part that had been designed by the great architect, Isambard Kingdom Brunel – shall have to correct that oversight next time I visit.

Not far from the station, about a 10 minute walk, is the beautiful church of St. Mary’s.  It was founded in 1292 by Simon de Burton, who was Mayor of Bristol three times.  Here’s something I didn’t appreciate – most times, building work on a church would start with the choir part, usually the east end of the church, so that this could be consecrated and used for masses, while the rest of the church was still being built.

The skinniest door I have ever seen!

Walked on down to the harbour … for many years, the amount of trade that passed through Bristol made it only the second busiest port after London.  It was also the first port to build up trade with America.

Bristol Cathedral, viewed from the harbour

The Fairbairn Steam Crane, built in 1878 to handle heavy loads on ships in the Docks; worked until 1973, and can still lift 35 tons

SS Great Britain, designed by Brunel

A hearse advertising 'Pirate Walks'

Inside this mirrored sphere is the Planetarium

Stopped for a bit of lunch, at a pretty little café along the riverfront then continued exploring.  Made my way to the College Green, where Bristol Cathedral is.  Work on it started about 1220, and it’s a mix of Norman and Gothic architecture.  As I’d already spent a good long while in St Mary’s Church, I didn’t go into the cathedral … probably do that on another visit.

Thanks to the effects of what was Hurricane Bertha, the gradually windy weather turned extremely wet.  After getting soaked at the non-event that was the hot air balloon mass ascent – okay, okay ‘called off due to bad weather’, though it would have been nice if the ‘audience’ had been told – decided to retreat to the hotel … where the supposed lake view turned out to be a pretty green area with rabbits.

Next morning, it was back to the city.  It stayed, more or less dry, but the wind had picked up ... my hair was doing the most interesting manoeuvres!  Had brunch at the ‘Boston Tea Party’ café, with the yummiest orange juice I have ever tasted, served in a cute glass mug … 

Then it was on to the Art Gallery and Museum.  The place is like a blend of the British Museum and Natural History Museum, but in miniature.  I didn’t do an in-depth visit – the plan was to do a quick inspect, to see if it was somewhere that might interest the boys.

Part of the University of Bristol

Art Gallery and Museum

Woman's court robe, China

Didn’t realise one of my favourite paintings, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ by Frank Dicksee, is here … enchanting …

Turns out Bristol is somewhere the boys would like to visit, so shall probably do that soon.  I wouldn’t mind going back … a chance to revisit more enchanting memories …