When I thought about what in Bristol I wanted to show the kids (Doug had visited the city when I was there, so this wouldn’t be his first time), my dormitory was the first thing that came to mind. But what next? There are so many things to see in Bristol–Ashton Court, the zoo, Blaise Hamlet, the docks, the Clifton Suspension Bridge–and I really couldn’t decide what things I could show them that would make them understand why I loved the city. In the end, we opted to do very little. Our friends, Simon and Rachael, were going to meet us there and Doug and I were looking more forward to spending time with them then in packing our last day abroad with a flurry of activity.
We met up at Wills Hall in the morning–perfectly fitting, since that’s where Simon and I had originally struck up our friendship. It looked exactly the same as it had, save for little things that I’d let fall from my memory.
Surprisingly, we weren’t really stopped from wandering around, and I was lucky enough to find a housekeeper who showed us into my old room. Of course, it didn’t feel like mine anymore. Though I was nostalgic, the kids weren’t much impressed.
We decided to head down to the M-Shed (by way of the Clifton Suspension Bridge), a museum down at the docks that was currently running a Wallace & Gromit exhibition. Since Wallace & Gromit, and all of the Aardman creations, had Bristol as their birthplace, it seemed a fitting exhibit for our visit. Plus, our whole family loves the characters. The exhibit was brilliant, and hands-on, which is 100% wonderful when you’ve got kids who like to touch everything. (Which is all kids, right?)
After a morning of Aardman, we walked along the docks to find a place for lunch. Cabot Tower is in the top left of the photo; Bristol Cathedral is in the middle right.
A replica of the Matthew, the boat John Cabot sailed to North America from Bristol in 1497.
Frick and Frack. I mean, Simon and Doug, enjoying their ice cream cones.
Rachael and Simon – we miss you both!
We didn’t do much after lunch–simply took a gander at the S.S. Great Britain, which is permanently moored in the harbor, and its gift shop. Simon and Rachael had to get home, and we decided to just head back to The Mill House and pack for our return home in the morning.
Driving away from my ❤ city was hard (see My Year in Bristol), but life had already taught me that you can’t recreate the past, and you really shouldn’t try. Life exists only in the present, a present where I’m blessed with a loving husband and two wonderful kids. Our 18-day trip to Scotland and England had been an amazing one, with unbelievably fantastic weather, wonderful strangers and friends, delicious food, gorgeous scenery, and so much more. We’d stayed in a castle, walked the land of Doug’s ancestors, had a Scottish band play our wedding song (well, one of them, anyway), encountered NO midges, and just lucked out in so many ways. I truly couldn’t have asked for a better 2 1/2 weeks.
What had started, really, as a “What if?” on my part had blossomed and burgeoned into a trip of a lifetime, with a collection of amazing memories for each one of us. I don’t know for sure what the kids will permanently take away from it, but I hope it impacts them long into adulthood.