Bristol is a big and vivid city on England's west coast, very close to the Welsh border. The people of Bristol — like the people of so many regional areas in England — have their own unique dialect and vocabulary, which makes it challenging but very fun to communicate with them. I didn't spend any nights here in Bristol, but I did make several day trips here from nearby Bath.
This afternoon, Christina and I were just about to make our way back from Bristol to Bath, when we bumped into a super-friendly, super-random local. Next thing we know, we're at the bar of the "White Lion" pub in downtown Bristol, guzzling some fine dark local ale, and getting to know the crazy but colourful characters of this city. It wasn't planned; but once done, it sure as hell wasn't regretted.
I haven't bought any novels for a long time: so far on my trip, I've been subsisting on whatever paperbacks I can scrounge up at hostel book exchanges. This is all well and good, but the quality at those exchanges is generally somewhat lacking. I walked past a second-hand fair in Bristol this afternoon, and I couldn't resist buying a few quality novels. Grabbed myself "The Big Mango", by Norman Kelley; and "Blast from the Past", by Ben Elton. Seeing as I won't be in England again for a while, I managed to justify this little luxury to myself.
I hopped over to Bristol this afternoon with Christina; and while we were walking near the river, we saw a bunch of birds. Christina insisted they were swans. I said they were too ugly and weird to be swans, they must be geese. A local, when asked, assured us that they were indeed swans — "Bristol swans". I lost £5. What do you think? Geese or swans? If they really are swans, then they're the least graceful type of bloody swan I've ever seen — they must be outcast by the rest of their swan brethren the world over.
One of the things I've been looking forward to doing, here in England, is the famous Bath-to-Bristol bike ride. Well... maybe it's not that famous — several of my English mates from South America, including Oly (who lived and studied in Bristol for several years), recommended it to me (so that makes it famous enough for me). Anyway, today I gave the ride a try, and I'd be lying if I didn't say it was a blast. Lovely route, following an abandoned railway track and a peaceful countryside valley; well-done track, wide and sealed almost the whole way; and reasonable weather for it as well. I don't think too many tourists are aware of the ride, but whoever stops by here and doesn't do it is missing out.