Posted by: lindsaygoes | April 21, 2011

Seeing a bit of the UK – Bristol and Bath

After travelling around Switzerland I had a few weeks before my next overseas jaunt (yep, I’m very lucky!) and rather than finding a short term job, I thought I’d see a bit of the UK and visit some relatives.

So my first stop was Bristol, which I also used as a base to see Bath as well. I arrived in the afternoon and headed to Bristol Museum which had a fantastic Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, with lots of amazing and inspiring photographs, and I must be getting a bit obsessed with photography as I was paying attention to the technical information. I also spent a bit more time back in the museum that evening with a co-operative talk with Bristol Zoo, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary. The talk was on apes and the history of keeping them, and was really interesting, particularly how the keeping of primates has changed over time with the recognition of providing natural habitats and environmental enrichment. It was also nice to hear about the breeding programs. It was obvious that the keepers had a great deal of love for the animals they were looking after, as well as general species conservation.

The next day I had a long walk around Bristol. I visited the Cathedral and St Mary Redcliffe Church, where they were incredibly friendly. I also went to ss Great Britain, the first real ocean liner and the links to Australia were nice for me. It was wonderfully restored and the dry dock that they had the ship in to prevent ongoing rust was fascinating, and nice to walk right underneath the boat.

I also did a bit of shopping as well, and by the end of the day my feet let me know I had done a lot of walking.

On the following day I caught the train to Bath. I started off visiting the Roman Baths which were really interesting. It was great to see the combinations of ruins and the Baths, and the audio guide was interesting, particularly the sections narrated by Bill Bryson, which gave an extra depth. The only problem was that I accidentally put my camera on the wrong setting (I will admit I normally have it on auto, but I’d been playing around with short shutter speeds to capture some fountains) so got a number of completely black images in the half light. Never mind, I’ve taken plenty of other photos.

After that it was off to the Fashion Museum which had a huge range of fashions over time. Their current special exhibit was on wedding dresses to coincide with the Royal Wedding, and even if I’m a bit of a wedding scrooge, I did find the evolution of the wedding dress from something which was for multiple occasions, so something you’ll only wear once, quite interesting, and also looking at how different eras were reflected in the dress styles. In the permanent exhibition areas I did enjoy the historical garments, I do tend to have a strange fascination with those crazy Victorians. After that I had to buy a belt for my trousers which I’d brought in Bristol, which turned out to be a bit big, only I’d forgotten that belts came in different sizes and that was too big as well. Oops. That anecdote wasn’t terribly relevant was it? Anyway, back onto my travel tales. Once I’d visited the fashion museum I joined a walking tour which was a really good way to see some of the Palladian architecture, which does reflect why Bath was chosen at a World Heritage Site.

That evening after dinner I got taken for a sightseeing expedition to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which was lovely all lit up, and the next day I headed off to visit my cousin and her family in Essex. It was amazing they offered to have me, as she’s due to have her second child in a few weeks, but it was lovely to see them all!

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