Yesterday (Saturday) Steve and I took a day trip to Bristol, in the West of England. An old school mate of ours has been in theatre school in Bristol for the last year, and she is performing in a play, the perfect excuse to make Bristol the destination for the day.
Bristol is only a 1:45 drive from Reading, a very comfortable drive. Our first stop in Bristol was the Bristol City Museum , recommended to us by Wendy, who grew up near Bristol. The museum had a great old atmosphere.
My favorite exhibit was the Gorilla. Alfred had been a favorite attraction for many years at the Bristol zoo, and when he died they stuffed him and put him in the city museum. They had some clever signage to help you find him.
After exploring the museum we had several hours to explore the city. We stopped in a couple neat shops and a small cafe for a snack. There was a Veteran’s day celebration in a park, with a regimental band whose bus we had passed on the M4 earlier that morning. The city was bustling with activity, and felt very alive. There is a lot of recent refurbishment of the areas around the city centre, and a lot of construction going on. I had bad memories of a crazy one-way system trying to get to the city centre on our trip to England in 2004, but the petrol station attendant where we bought our map kindly warned us that the map would do us no good in that part of the centre as the roads have been completely rerouted and a huge new car park is being built.
We stumbled upon the St Nicholas market, which Hilary had also recommended. It had a really nice assortment on stalls, not too junky and not too yuppie. Just right. Steve stopped for a haircut and I bought a small zippered bag for my Zune. The market had a number of wonderful food stalls, if we had the time we would have tried the Moroccan chicken, but we had a chicken pie and mash instead. We had to scurry over to the theatre to catch the matinee…