Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brizzle in the Drizzle

Welcome to Bristol, or as the Bristolians pronounce their hometown in that distinctive twang, "Brizzle."

There's a lot of drizzle in Brizzle. But there's also a lot more to this historical port city than its mercurial weather. Although we were on a bit of a time crunch with a toddler and a baby on board, and a 5 year old with a school pick-up time at 4, we managed to fit quite a bit in to the day. It was a great introduction to Bristol:

The Clifton Suspension Bridge. Fittingly, the name Bristol
comes from the Old English
"Brycgstow", meaning
"the place at the bridge." The CSB was designed in 1864 by
Isambard Kingdom Brunel and is a distinctive symbol of the city.

A little piece of home: on board the replica of the
Matthew - the ship John Cabot sailed to the Banks
of Newfoundland in 1497! The people working on the ship
(now a historical monument free and open to the public!) were
quite excited to meet a Canadian, although my knowledge
of John Cabot's discovery was embarrassingly minimal. I'll
blame the Canadian education system for that one.

At the entrance to The New Room, John Wesley's
Chapel. The oldest Methodist chapel in the world.

Inside the chapel. The pulpit was placed high up with bars around
and no ground-floor windows to protect the abolition-preaching
Wesley from hordes of angry Bristolians who made their
livelihoods from the slave trade and thus had a vested
interest in shutting Wesley up. Yep, Bristol played a major role
in the slave trade, especially between 1700-1807, when more than an
estimated half a million Africans passed through Bristol on their way to
America - and slavery.

The doorways were accordingly adjusted to fit
his height! Duck if you're over 5"3!

Bristol is home to Banksy, the legendary graffiti
artist notorious for his satirical street art (and the Simpsons' opening
that he designed last year!). This particular display isn't Banksy, but
graffiti is definitely very popular in the city - I saw tons of fascinating
murals and eye-catching designs and graphics.
I'll be on the lookout for original Banksy art the next time I explore
the downtown!

This is just a quick introduction to Bristol, a thriving, cosmopolitan city that I'm excited to explore some more. It has a lively student population, thanks to the University of Bristol, and a thriving club, art and music scene that I can't wait to experience. Last night was my first trip to a REAL English pub, the Woolpack, and I loved it!! My first week in England has been a blur, and I can't believe how many things I've already gotten to see.

Liz, Wills, and Baby B on board our ferry - kids are free
and adults pay only 70p! Wills was so excited, although the
picture belies his emotions somewhat :)

Now I've just spent the past little bit trying to convince Liz and Ian to do North American accents, and I showed them the old "I am Canadian" beer commercial so that they can learn some more about good ol' Canuck culture (namely, how we differ from the Americans).

Where's I'm to now, you might ask? (Some more Bristolian slang right there!) Off to order some rainboots/wellies online from Next with Liz! Cheers!


  1. Ralph Blaisdell headed toward America from Bristol in 1635. And thus began the great legacy of the Blasdels in America...

  2. I'll drink to that! Cheers to the BLAZE-dels! :)

  3. And Cheers to the puffy shirts!