Tag Archives: England

Europe 2015 Diary Entry VII – Bristol, England

One year later, I’m finally finding the time to document my memories of our trip. I’m calling them diary entries, because they’re mostly thought dumps to recall as many details as possible – mostly for memory sake. I’m already forgetting little details about our trip, which is sad as it was really a once in a lifetime experience that I want to remember for the rest of my life. So these posts will be long and full of pictures. Consider yourself warned. 🙂

If I had to sum up my main memories of Bristol, it would be as follows: Clifton Suspension Bridge, jacket potatoes, polenta cake slices, and Wetherspoons.

First sighting of the iconic red telephone booth. Had to snap a photo, obviously.

Bristol is another city that I would have never thought to visit if it hadn’t been for Mike. Back in 2005/2006, he lived and worked in Bristol for about a year (basically living my dream, NBD) and wanted to show me around. Throughout the years, he had told me a few stories of his “Bristol days” and I was looking forward to putting pictures to memories.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a bit of a landmark in Bristol.

Unfortunately, the AirBnb that we stayed at was one of our least favourites of our trip. The room itself was actually quite cosy, and the bathroom was really modern and clean, but the host controlled the temperature and during the day, opted to turn it completely off. Keep in mind that we were here in the middle of the winter. While not as cold as Canada, the buildings are not insulated at all. At night, they turned on the heat so we were warm and content, but during the day, when it was turned off, it was colder to be indoors than outdoors. This was problematic because Mike was sick with a cold at the time. Obviously not planned, but we would have preferred to have the option to stay inside and take it easy until he was feeling better. In hindsight, it was probably a blessing because it forced us to wander around.

Cute and cosy Airbnb room – at night.

We spent 3 nights and four days in Bristol.

There’s that Clifton Suspension Bridge again. Photo quality not great, but it was so pretty at night when lit up.

Not surprisingly, the first thing we did after we checked into our AirBnb was go for a run. Mike booked our accommodation in Clifton because that was the area he used to live in. The first place he took me to was the Clifton Suspension Bridge because he knew I’d like it. I do love bridges!

After our run, we went in search of food and wound up at a pub. Since it was a Sunday, I saw that the bar was advertising a roast as one of their meal options. Now keep in mind, that I had no idea what a “roast” was. I know what a roast chicken is, but using a “roast” as a noun to include multiple items was confusing to me. Naturally, I began to quiz the bartender there about what a roast dinner was. I didn’t really get a satisfactory answer, so it took me a while to really grasp the concept of a “Sunday Roast”. I THINK a Sunday Roast is equivalent to a Sunday Dinner. Items on the menu can change but it’s a meal eaten at dinner time on a Sunday. Does that make sense?

In any case, after all that quizzing, I glanced at the menu and something else caught my eye – jacket potatoes. I mean, really? A baked potato served as a main, rather than as a side dish?!? Was I in heaven?

I realize this picture is not the greatest quality, but I had to include it because this meal was pivotal in creating a long lasting obsession with jacket potatoes. This baked potato was topped with a delicious, mild vegetable curry.

I just LOVE baked potatoes, but in Canada, they’re typically topped with sour cream, loads of cheese, and other things I’m not into like bacon bits. And if you order them as a meal, they will not be satisfying enough on its own. I had mine with a lovely vegetable curry and a side salad. I tend to be obsessive about things I like, and I began searching for jacket potatoes at every restaurant in every British city we visited after that. #adulting

At times, I felt like I was walking around my old uni campus.

Bristol reminded me a lot of Guelph, the city I lived in during my university days. It was small, cosy, and full of students. We spent most of our days trying out new cafes so that we could get work done during the day.

Earl grey tea with hazelnut milk? The best.

One of my favourite cafes, Mockingbird, was a block away from our AirBnb. They had ginger shots (which we would order to try to fight the cold germs), great coffee and great tea. One day I ordered Earl Grey tea and had it served with hazelnut milk. It was amazing! I’m always looking for trends in cafes when I go to new cities, and a big one here were polenta cake slices. I’m obsessed with cornbread, so I was quite inspired to try as many different versions as possible. You know, for research purposes…

Polenta cake slices! A reminder to myself that I must recreate these at home.

Two last major items on our agenda were to walk by Mike’s old apartment and to have a cheap Tuesday evening meal at Wetherspoon’s for nostalgic reasons.

It’s crazy to imagine what his life was like back then. Fun fact: we were both in the UK around the same time, but obviously didn’t know each other then. And I was travelling and playing tourist, while he was a resident. And I was in London and he was in Bristol, but you get the point!!!

Current (well, early 2015) photo of his old residence.

Apparently his building used to be pink on the outside. I’ll try to get him to send me a photo some day to compare.

Old photo of his residence (dark pink building), taken around 2005-2006.

Mike dug up this photo of the same place from back when he lived there. Loved the dark pink. 😉 And all the cars parking in whichever direction they feel like.

Regarding Wetherspoon’s, Mike warned me that the food was far from gourmet, but he had so many memories of eating there on a semi-regular basis because they had a “Tuesday Steak Club” meal that included steak, chips, peas and a beer for relatively little money. He was pretty excited to share this experience with me so of course we went. 🙂

Wetherspoons Tuesday Steak Club: Steak, chips, peas and one mushroom with a pint of beer for less than £8.
I quite liked the meal!

We also visited his old work area and had drinks at a nearby pub that he used to frequent often.

Near the Bristol harbour, where Mike used to work. Pretty snazzy looking if you ask me!

Overall, I really enjoyed Bristol. Probably because I had my own personal tour guide and it was really fun to imagine what life was like for Mike.

img_0104It felt very liveable with a nice, low key atmosphere. My kind of place! I love any city that is built around or near a body of water as well. I imagine it would have been even more lively in the summer, so I’d love to go back and experience it then some day.


TGC: Filter + Fox (Liverpool)

The Global Cup: Filter + Fox

Location: Liverpool, ENGLAND

Filter + Fox sits on the corner of a relatively quiet street, but it’s a real gem and is worth the visit. (source)

Filter + Fox had only been open for a few months when we came across it for the first time. Our accommodation happened to be on the same street, and when we found out that we had to wait a few hours for our room to be ready, we dragged our luggage over to Filter + Fox to wait. We were blown away from the first coffee we had and ended up re-visiting the cafe at least once a day for the rest of our time in Liverpool.  A quick look at their social media pages tells me that they’re thriving and I’m so glad. We met with a couple of the owners who had opened the place together and they were some of the nicest people we’ve met.

1. Coffee

The coffee was amazing. My all-time favourite aspect of ordering a coffee to stay, was the fact that they would bring it to you on a tray with a glass of water AND a chocolate wafer. It was a small detail that hooked Mike and me in. Sometimes, we’d finish our run and get a coffee to stay just so that we could get that chocolate wafer to dip in our coffee. But even when we got coffee to go and didn’t get a wafer, the coffee was still amazing.

Admittedly not one of the greatest photos, but the coffee was fabulous and the little wafer is hiding out to the right of the coffee cup.

2. Food

The food here was fantastic as well. They had a few open faced sandwiches on the menu and every one that we tried was delicious. At night, they turn into a bar / lounge like place and have a few small plates to enjoy along with your drinks. Mike and I didn’t have a chance to check it out at night, but totally would if we were to go back!

This is an example of their small plate: Tenderstem broccoli with Harissa spiced hummus, chargrilled vegetable cous cous, and pomegranate seeds. (source)

3. Atmosphere

Although the space is small, they make the best of their seating and also offer free wifi which had a decent connection. There’s a lot of natural light that comes in as well, making the whole space bright and airy. During the day, the cafe had a mix of mothers meeting over coffee, students, and travellers like us. The staff were really friendly and talkative if you felt like chatting. We easily spent a few hours here drinking coffee, eating wafers, and catching up on work.

Very cool atmosphere at the bar, and at the tables that are lined up against the windows.

Quick stats:

Address: 27 Duke Street, Liverpool, England
Coffice rating: 5/5
Instagram: /filter_and_fox
Neighbourhood: City Centre
Official site: www.filterandfox.co.uk
Twitter: /FilterandFox
Wifi: Yes

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