For the love of new cities and old friends

Over the bank holiday weekend I (Anna) headed on my very own road trip down to see one of my oldest and very best friends, Nastassja, in Bristol. Ever since Nastash moved down there I’ve been promising and meaning to go down for a visit. But money gets spent on other things, time flies and life happens – before we knew it she’s been living there for 18 months. So we made a solid plan for a visit, and happily this time we stuck to it!

I set off at around 7pm on Friday after much procrastination at the thought of a 3+ hour drive. Sometimes a long drive can seem daunting, which leads to reluctance – humph humph 18 months later anyone?! But a good Spotify playlist accompanied by plenty of singing out loud, and those hours and miles drifted by.  I made good time and arrived by 10pm, and Tash and I settled down for a mammoth catch up over some homemade rum cocktails.

I’ve been intrigued by Bristol since watching Skins as a teenager, so I was excited to get a glimpse of the city and of course the life that Nastash has made for herself down there. As a sleepy soul I woke up late on Saturday, which was a bit gutting as it was our only full day together; but after a yummy breakfast in her kitchen overlooking the Bristol rooftops we headed out for some exploring.

The day started out cloudy but quickly turned gloriously sunny as we wandered, which was lovely. I find if I explore a city in the sunshine it always stays in my mind as a sunny place – Bristol will forever be warm in my head now!  We wandered down towards the harbour, and detoured into a local market.  We stopped for a yummy lunch of street food, and I gratefully shlurped some fresh squeezed lemonade from the promenade.  Up to this point I failed to take many photos, and was just taking in the city; although I did of course make a quick pitstop to shoot some street art as we passed!

Knowing my love of and interest in street art, Nastash had designed our route of wandering to pass two Banksy pieces in the city centre, which were awesome to see in real life.

We continued our walk, climbing up above the city into a lovely park (I love good parks in cities).  We sat in the shade chatting to cool off (it was seriously hot by this point), and I was able to get my first glimpse of the fuller cityscape.

Being the classy birds we (of course) are, we nipped to Tesco and picked up some fruity ciders, and headed to sit on the river side to continue our catch up.  I love the colourful houses in Bristol, and the architecture of the old and the new blending together.

Wandering back, I fell in love with what at first glance I thought was a building cleverly merging the contrast of new and old… turns out it was in fact a derelict building – shocker that I loved it then?!  What I had thought to be a moulded silver wall, all disjointed and lovely, catching the evening light, was actually white plastic cladding!! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I wanted nothing more than to break in and snap away; but we walked on!!PSX_20170528_202330

Crossing the bridge I spotted some graffiti that really spoke to how I feel about the world at the moment, and fed into topics Nastash and I had been extensively discussing throughout my stay – We are all human.PSX_20170528_202117

We eventually made it home, tired from our city trekking and pretty ‘sunkissed’ by the unexpectedly good weather!  We scrambled together a surprisingly delicious dinner of butternut squash and halloumi wraps, and whilst we toyed with the idea of heading out for some drinks, instead remained where we were and talked the night away.

I left on Sunday morning with the feeling that Bristol is pretty much as my teenage-self expected; it was a friendly and approachable city, with a buzz about it, plenty to see and do, and far too much to explore in just one swift weekend visit.   It was also amazing to spend some concentrated time with Nastash, who I adore so very much.  It was great to be able to see Bristol through her eyes, and hear her stories as we wandered.  And although the drive there and back was initially daunting, now I’ve got it in my head that it’s not so far away I’ll definitely be back to Bristol and to see my beautiful friend; armed once again with my camera.

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