Now one of my most favorite cities! We landed two nights ago, stayed at Brooks Guesthouse which is an inexpensive, upscale, classy hostel. I highly recommend it. One of the best stays I’ve had anywhere in the world. The service from the night bellman to the chef, breakfast servers, and staff on checkout were absolutely polite, accommodating, friendly and without a doubt, professional.
I wish we could have stayed longer however the Balloonfest was upon us and the place was full-up.
After a full English breakfast with extra breakfast, we stepped out into a welcoming cool breeze that felt like fall time in the Midwest US. We followed the trail to find Gromit. Gromit is a lovable cartoon character from the series Wallace and Gromit by Nick Park. The kids were excited as we dashed from Gromit to Gromit, exploring the town, the cafes, the harbour, the university, the rail lines, business districts and neighborhoods. Many of them were in the city center and I think my wife and I were equally, if not more, excited as the kids.
Down by the harbour are new, trendy apartments and an installment of eateries that double as night clubs and pubs as the sun sets and atmosphere changes.
Older parts of town that survived the shelling and bombing by the Axis during World War II, revealed some of the history. The town was effected by German shelling and bombing due to aircraft and ship manufactoring here so there is a mix of old and new architecture. The old buildings demonstrate intense character, architecture that has eye catching shapes, and the cold gray stone contrasts while complimenting the bright vibrant new structures.
We stopped during lunch right in the heart of the city, plopped down centered before the large screen television in the plaza where episodes of Wallace and Gromit entertained hundreds in the plaza, and enjoyed oversized ice cream cones. The smiles all around the plaza suggested that the crowd enjoyed the innocence and gentle humor that is portrayed in Wallace and Gromit.
We continued on using the Detect-O-Gromit app. Purchasing the app to find Gromit around town goes to a children’s hospital. At the end of the month, they will auction off the 80 different statues to raise money for the hospital. Plus, it is awesome geocashing, a great way to see the city, tremendous exercise and good for business to get publicity. Everyone was super friendly and I even felt safe walking around at night with the kids.
Bristol enjoys a healthy nightlife
Yesterday was also the Balloonfest in which the sky was covered with hot air balloons.
Today, we slept in, had a huge breakfast at Beefeaters and I set out to do laundry. I stumbled upon a cute, quaint, nostalgic cafe/launderette/internet business named @TheWell in the Stokes Croft area. I met one of the owners and read how the three sisters set up the business. It was a great experience. A broad selection of breakfast and lunch as well as coffees and teas bring together those needing or wanting to use laundromats with those who enjoy cafes. One would typically spend time doing something while waiting for the clothes to finish so this brings people together in a social environment and provides internet and an array of foods prepared in house.
One of my kids sat on a couch @TheWell, played Minecraft and with some blocks in the store as the clothes tumbled. Books can be found neatly arranged everywhere. Once used sewing machines and typewriters had me perusing around the shop. The owner mentioned that another American had carefully planned this location as a stop in his journey prior to leaving home earlier this week. I can see why. What a great concept.
Bristol is absolutely a wonderful city. One of my favorites. If ever in UK, you must add it to you list.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Make It Fun!